June 2018 In Dance

» Continued from pg 5 Contact Improvisers Consider #Metoo



And if/when there are sexual or sexualized energies present in a dance, we need to be able to talk about it, and to negotiate and respect boundaries and consent, just as in any other physical interaction. Personally, my practice of CI is completely non-sexual, and that's part of what I love about it. I know that other practitioners may have other thoughts, feelings or opinions. Knowing that there's a range, it's important for us to not bury this stuff under the rug just because it may be uncomfortable to talk about. I myself had a #metoo moment, early on in my practice of CI, at the Tuesday night jam at good ol' 848 Divisadero. I and an- other young female friend were dancing in a trio with an older man who we both felt was behaving in a sexually violating way. We confronted him directly in the moment, he apologized and also denied what we were accusing him of, and then my friend and I processed it together later. I feel lucky that I and my friend experienced the same thing at the same time, and we could empower each other to speak up and state our boundaries. If it had just been me, I'm not sure I would have had the courage to do so, or even to trust in my own experience of what was hap- pening. This person was a regular attendee of the jam, and we had mutual friends/ac- quaintances. It did not end up turning me away from the practice, but I will say that at the time I didn't feel comfortable sharing the experience with more than one or two close friends. I hope that the spirit of clarity, hon- esty, and accountability the #metoo move- ment has brought forth can inspire more dis- cussion and empowerment for everyone and anyone who practices. As wcciJAM organizers, we are looking for- ward to delving into these challenges facing our practice community, raised by our fe- male-identified teachers, before, during, and after the festival. To learn more about the event, visit wccijam.org CATHIE CARAKER (wcciJAM Teacher Housing Co- ordinator, PR muse) is an international dance artist who has been working at the edges of movement research, improvisation and performance for over 25 years. She is the director of MAMMALdance, a forum for embodied, inter-media research and performance. caraker.com ROSEMARY HANNON (wcciJAM 2018 Core Orga- nizer) dances and makes performances exploring perception, perseverance, fear, femininity, and the intersection of identity and aesthetic values. She also performs in the work of other choreographers, teaches and organizes dance events. rosemaryhannon.com MIRIAM WOLODARSKI LUNDBERG (wcciJAM 2018 Core Organizer) is an experimental performance maker, dancer, improvisation teacher, organizer, co- manager of The Finnish Hall, and freelance transla- tor. She holds a MFA in Contemporary Performance, a BA in Political Science, and a banana in her left hand. senseobject.com West Coast Contact Improvisation Jam 2018: Jun 29-Jul 3, Hearst Gymna- sium, Berkeley. wccijam.org

Diana Lara Even though I found the facts and roots of the #metoo movement very valid, I think that the press and social networks have found, again – as in previous social move- ments – another way to sensationalize it and commercialize it. I hope that in general the movement pro- vides more awareness in the population and the CI community about the social norms that perpetuate sexual harassment and vio- lence. Only by being aware of these social norms, can we have more accountability. I am a fan of Paulo Freire’s pedagogy of the oppressed, and I agree that we have the duty of understanding the systems and mech- anisms that perpetuate the status quo in or- der to change it. Ronja Ver The #metoo movement has emboldened me, as a teacher, to bring up the issue of bound- aries in every class, and to have a chat with every new student. I feel strongly about this, because what I constantly hear from young dance students is that they love CI, but would never go to a jam because the one time they went they were touched inap- propriately by an older, more experienced male dancer. I’ve been hearing a lot more requests for education and guidelines around touch and consent in the CI communities. It seems like this time around some of the cis male fa- cilitators are also getting on board, which is a huge step forward. I’ve sat in circles where women who were violated by unwanted in- appropriate touch in a CI setting have spo- ken out, and where the perpetrators have actually been barred from coming back. This is a change from the age-old sys- tem of denial and victim blaming, but it will take time for people to also start trust- ing facilitators to take action against viola- tions and assault. It is still necessary for a network of sisters to warn each other about teachers and dancers with whom they've experienced hurtful or uncomfortable situations. Jen Chien Before answering this question, I first need to state that I don't necessarily feel like I am part of the "CI community." I have practiced CI for a long time, and it's meant a whole lot to me as a human and as an artist, but I don't necessarily feel like part of a commu- nity based around CI. It's not fun to be the only POC in a room, and that's unfortunate- ly been all too prevalent in the communities that arise around CI. I'm not mad at it, it's just felt like it's not for me. What I would hope for, in terms of the #metoo movement's impact for the practice and teaching of CI, is for us all to be more and more aware of how gendered and sexual power imbalances operate at all levels of our lives and experiences, even when we have the best of intentions, even when we are pur- posefully trying to create spaces that stand apart from society's ills. CI is a practice that intentionally crosses normative socialized physical boundaries, in a mostly unstruc- tured way. This can bring a lot of stuff up for people, good and/or bad.

Dancers’ Group is continu- ing a longitudinal research project that focuses on California’s dynamic dance community, gathering statis- tics from DataArts, an online financial management, data collection, and research tool designed to strengthen the arts and cultural sector. For six years – with data that covers nine years – Dancers’ Group has reliably tracked a series of indicators to under- stand the health of dance in the San Francisco Bay Area and statewide. For this research project, six Key Benchmarks were identified to track and posit activities in the dance sector with the objective to create

a short-list of reliable indicators that reflect the economic impact of the dance eco- system, and serve as evidence of community support in the most direct, measur-

able way, which would be meaningful over time. Read the report at dancersgroup.org/research

“With a wit that is sometimes poignant, sometimes lacerating, [Nicole] Klaymoon avoids polemic in pursuit of ambiguous, messy truths.” - KQED

ODC Theater Presents Embodiment Project Music of the Actualized Child June 7-9, 8pm ODC Theater odc.dance/Embodiment


in dance JUN 2018

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