Winter 2021 In Dance

be able to make the work I want again, and on and on and on. While I was practicing living in forgiveness, in October a friend said to me, “I don’t know how long it’ll last, but in the last four months, I’ve felt more heard as a Black woman than I have ever before in my life.” I hope that it lasts. I hope that she continues to be heard. November AS I REMEMBER NOVEMBER, this most recent month, what I feel most deeply is what I’ll call an anxi- ety hangover which clouded the month. In March, I couldn’t dance at all. In November, I took a class almost every day. Despite it all, I’ve adapted. December NOW IT IS DECEMBER AND I AM HERE . As we close out the year and I reflect on what this year brought and took away, I am a mess of conflicting impulses. I am grateful for the classes I can take all over the world (with just a little bit of time zone math). I am deeply frustrated and heartbroken to see so much unnecessary suffering and death caused by the immense failures of our political and public health systems. I am comfortable with the routine that my partner, my dog, and I have each morning: yoga, dog walk, breakfast, work. I am stifled because no amount of rearranging furniture will give me the room to be as expansive as I feel in a dance studio. Like many of you, I am filled with worry and relief almost equally, almost simultaneously. And, as the 2020 calendar year ends, I am here, waiting as patiently as I can to feel the weight of a dance partner, the hug of a long-sepa- rated friend, the touch of a dance teacher to guide me toward the movement. BHUMI B PATEL is a queer, desi artist/activist. Her work involves dancing, choreographing, curating, educating, writing, and scholarship as a pursuit for liberation, with the time and space to decolonize the body. She seeks to create movement outside of white models of dance through use of improvisational practices and tapping into kinesthetic processing. Patel’s work has been presented at SAFEhouse Arts, LEVYsalon, Shawl Salon, max10, Studio 200, Molissa Fenley and Friends, Summer Performance Festival, RAWdance’s Concept Series, The San Francisco International Arts Festival, Berkeley Finnish Hall, PUSHfest, Shawl-Anderson’s Queering Dance Festival, and Studio 210 Residency. Bhumi was a 2017-2018 Emerging Arts Professionals Fellow and a 2019 Women of Color in the Arts Fellow. She is a member of Dancing Around Race and Cat Call Choir. She’s been published in the San Francisco Chronicle, Life as a Modern Dancer, Contact Quarterly, and In Dance.

I WASN’T SURE WHAT TO EXPECT AND THE NERVES LEADING UP TO PERFORMANCE WERE SO DIFFERENT FROM LIVE PERFORMANCE: instead of worrying about the performers and the costumes, I was worried about my internet connection holding up for the performance duration and pressing the right buttons to screen share.

August AT THE VERY BEGINNING OF AUGUST, I had a virtual per- formance over zoom, partially live and partially pre-re- corded. So many feelings came up in the process of it all and I think it’s led me to more questions about perfor- mance than answers. I was so grateful that friends from so many different times in my life were able to be there (though we live far apart). I was so grateful my family was there in the zoom room, too. I wasn’t sure what to expect and the nerves leading up to performance were so different from live performance: instead of worrying about the performers and the costumes, I was worried about my internet connection holding up for the perfor- mance duration and pressing the right buttons to screen share. After the performances ended, I was in my house and it was quiet. I sat on the couch and ate dinner. I tex- ted the performers in their respective homes. I knew that it would be different, but I also knew that somehow I wanted to recreate the feeling of being in a theater with people. On zoom, you can’t watch the audience watch your work. You can’t sit and have a one-on-one con- versation with someone. You can’t hug the performers and have a toast with them “backstage” before greeting friends and family. The feelings were different. Not bad, just different. September & October IN SEPTEMBER, I WAS TAKING A CLASS OVER ZOOM and the instructor of that class said to us “be with the rigor that you have today.” Later in the month, in a different class, a different teacher said “perhaps the act of sing- ing and moving can be an act of living in forgiveness?” I thought that if I tried to practice living in forgiveness I might forgive myself for all the things that I have wor- ried about this year - that I’m not doing enough, that my work is going to become irrelevant, that I will be forgotten, that if I don’t push myself to get that grant application in my career is doomed, that the decimation of our live performing arts landscape means I’ll never

included unaccountable, non-tangible language about how they’re going to do better. When I reflect on this now I can’t help but wonder: are all those entities still doing the constant, necessary work of anti-racism? Or have they moved on and allowed it to fade away like the news cycle? Have they figured out what the ongo- ing work looks like? To whom are they practicing accountability? In between the flooding, I felt angry. I told anyone who would listen that in 2019 there were 19 days when the killing of a Black person by the police wasn’t reported. Why weren’t they sending me emails that Black lives matter then? Why weren’t they launching granting programs for BIPOC artists then? What good is hiring BIPOC people if your toxic organizational environment remains? When will they understand that decoloniza- tion is not a metaphor? I had hoped that these conversations would go deeper. I had hoped that there would be frank conversations about who is left out, who is being heard, and how to sustain this work. Perhaps there is a reason to still hope, but as I write this, months later, I’m still not sure. July COME JULY, I FELT GRATEFUL to participate in the cre- ation of an event through Women of Color in the Arts for non-Black women of color to come together and assess how we can act in solidarity with our Black colleagues at the institutions where we work as artists, arts administrators, curators, presenters, and a variety of other roles. To be in the company of others who are thinking deeply about the necessary work filled my cup. It fed that momentum. I was also in the pro- cess of generating virtual experiments for a summer residency. I was sort of lost and swimming around in the murky waters of trying to understand my role as an artist during a pandemic. I had finally gotten back into the groove of moving, so to speak, but to create still felt out of place and untethered against the state of the world.

Performers in Detour Dance Presents: The Nelken Line

DETOUR DANCE PRESENTS: THE NELKEN LINE Nourishment looks like many different things. For me, it came in the form of a hilltop regaled with a gorgeously glittery gaggle of drag art- ists, queers, and trans & gender-nonconform- ing folks performing Pina Bausch’s work at sunset—a salve on the dry lips and knuckles and hearts of my chosen family. This film, my reimagining of The Nelken Line wasn’t just an opportunity to add my singular straw of hay to the stack of hundreds that exist in digital archives. It was a reckoning of borrowed move- ment on borrowed land, a time capsule for the moment we are living through, an act of joy. —Eric Garcia, Co-Director Detour Dance


in dance WINTER 2021 10

WINTER 2021 in dance 11




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In Dance | May 2014 |

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