memory . july / by james gnam

Written by Rachel Silver

 

Today it is a shame to be inside - the sun is blazing with just the right amount of wind. In the studio we warm up as usual, mobilizing our joints with special attention on the pelvis. 

Memory and imagination have a large role in our dancing today. We return to the duets, attempting to recreate perceived sensations and tracking our partner’s body. Starting this dance slowly is important to establish a base for when we speed it up. The fast version is becoming known as the “basketball” dance. It feels like sprinting.

After dancing with a partner, we create solos “remembering” the sensations and movements of the duet. This is very cerebral work. It feels like you are dancing with a ghost. Just like a dream, certain moments emerge in my memory as I dance, and it is rarely chronological.

We do this exact same process with the video games. After flailing, punching, and hip-swaying in front of the screen to pumping pop music, we improvise solos in silence with remembered movements. Rather than just recreating what happened, we pick certain gestures and explore what they were, what they are now, and what they could be. Finally, there is room for our own desires to creep in, and the moves can be what we want them to be. In a way we have liberated ourselves from the games.

Our rehearsal descends into a fantastic conversation about social dance and digital influences. The dance video games seem to be filling a social need that people have to dance together, but they also alienate us. I leave rehearsal with my mind whirring.