“The Feedback” is an opportunity for choreographers to share a short work of existing choreography for feedback from the Joe Goode Performance Group.
“The Feedback” is our response to the isolation that often accompanies the choreographic process. The program is designed to offer in-process response from multiple perspectives; including that of Joe Goode, company members of the Joe Goode Performance Group, and the participants in the program.
Joe Goode Performance Group supports creative growth and innovation and is committed to promoting conversations about dance and dance-making, both within the community of choreographers and in dance audiences at large.
As a culmination of the program the audience was invited to write responses immediately following their viewing of each participating artist’s short work at The Feedback Showing 2018, April 28, 2018.
Bio: Bahiya Movement, a Fusion Dance Company rooted in West African tradition, was founded in 2011 by mother/daughter duo Afia and Nafi Thompson. Bahiya Movements mission is to create a safe, welcoming, body positive environment where everyone of all shapes, sizes, and genders are transformed into performing artists. By offering dance etiquette paired with traditional dance technique, members learn to make beautiful movement, while having lots of fun. Our vision is to cross and break barriers regarding body image and self-esteem through the art of dance. We believe that your body size, type, or gender does not define you as a dancer. Rather, skill, technical training, creativity and love for the art defines the artist. More info at www.bahiyamovement.com
Sample Description: “Weighted Acceptance” fuses dance, music and poetic storytelling that explore inter-sectional oppression faced by People Of Color. This multidisciplinary performance, seeks to heal urban communities by deepening the understanding of weights People Of Color collectively carry. “Weighted Acceptance”, a safe space for all to heal through movement and spoken word. Co-created and co-presented with Bahiya Movement and SevanKelee Boult
Choreographer’s question: Is the work clear, concise, and creative? Does the work have a clear open with thesis, supporting body, and a clear conclusion that restates the thesis?
What’s interesting about this work is the way it seems to be combining some kind of spiritual or religious ritual with a political essay. I wish there were a little more context for the spiritual figure and what they are invoking, otherwise there’s the risk of that element merely becoming exotic. The mover is beautiful to watch and I felt like I was watching water move over the rapids–movement with such control and fluidity was delightful to see and at times it stood in a very interesting contrast to the painful text that was talking about such terrible oppressive acts. Perhaps this element could even be heightened at times so that the mover is moving with great sensuality or delicacy in contrast to the harshness of the language, which might make the viewer more responsible for their own understanding of the subject. Sometimes I felt the movement illustrated the words and while it seems like that would be a good thing, sometimes it can be a little too obvious and we, the audience, are not being taken into our own understanding of the subject. This is a hard line to walk because you don’t want to undersell the brutality of current events. However, if you can slyly find a way to offer us a more personal perspective that somehow offers us a new way of understanding the subject or a new entry point into the subject, then this can be even more impactful. It seems to me with the visuals and the text that the artist is really seeking impact and I would just encourage them to find that little personal thread, or that little personal window that is going to allow a new perspective. – Joe Goode
Thank you so much for sharing your meaningful, healing work with us. You speak to the power of dance and movement in your piece and we are really moved by it. Great work layering movement, text, sound and projections. Loved the moments when we could see the poetry and movement align it created a beautiful amplification and conveyed a feeling as well as a thought. All of the layers in the excerpt you share are powerful and create a palpable intensity that draws us into the emotional narrative. Have you played with the order of the sections to see if the telling of the story starting from different points effects the emotional impact of the whole? Might there be a place in the piece for movement sequences without text as an exploration to focus on the embodied felt dimensions of the social/emotional weight? – Damara Ganley & Molly Katzman
Bio: Alyssandra Katherine Wu received her bachelors degree in World Arts & Culture/Dance from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and masters degree in Dance from London Contemporary Dance School. Originally, Wu began her early training in Chinese Ethnic dance under the tutelage of award winning choreographer, Yao Yong, before transitioning to contemporary dance in her later years. Since then, Wu has danced for world renowned artists Victoria Marks, Cheng-Chieh Yu, Michel Kouakou, Ros Warby, Jorge Crecis, Bih-Tau Sung, and Darren Ellis. Additionally, she has had the pleasure of working under UK dance companies Candoco, Scottish Dance Theatre, SQX, Tilted, and Richard Alston during her years in the country.
As an emerging choreographer, Wu has been listed on londondance.com as one of the most promising emerging choreographers of 2015. Furthermore, she was chosen as one of the favorite artists of the largest platform for emerging choreographers in the UK, by the UK Chairman of the Critics Circle Dance Section, Graham Watts.
Her choreography has toured throughout the UK, being presented at platforms such as Resolution!, FRESH-Northeast, Foot Print, and EMERGE, hosted by UKs Dance Company C-12. After relocating to San Francisco, Wu has presented work in both Los Angeles- and Bay Area-based locations. Her company is the official winner of the audience choice award for PUSHfest 2016 and one of the six companies/choreographers to be selected for ODC’s Pilot 68 program this past year. In 2018, Wu’s company has been invited to participate in the San Francisco Movement Arts Festival, RAW Dance Company’s 22nd Concept Series, and first ever Moving Arts Studio Residency Series. She has received grants from the ODC’s Fleishhacker Opportunity Fund and Dancers Groups CA$H program. Wu is currently the Managing Director Robert Moses’ Kin. www.alyssandrakatherine.com
Sample Description: A solo inspired by a conversation between choreographer Alyssandra Katherine Wu and her grandfather before his passing in 2014. The work recognizes people born between the 1900s and 1940s, the Greatest Generation, is arguably the generation that experienced the most change from their birth to their old age. As Alyssandras grandfather explains his life journey through the Chinese Civil War and then his migration to the metropolitan and technologically advance Silicon Valley, it is evident the world we know today was built on the shoulders of the refugees who survived this trying era. The piece will use voice recordings, video projection, and speeches given at his funeral to give the audience an idea of who this man was and the profound impact that his generation had on the world.
Choreographer’s question: how do I successfully wrap up this dance narrative and execute the transitions to generate the biggest emotional impact I am capable?
Let me start by saying that as much as I’d like it to be otherwise, dance is not a good medium for narrative. What the skillful body can do and show beautifully is the visceral, interior feeling of something. However, that can be read in many different ways and as powerful as that expression of feeling may be, it’s not very good at telling the specifics of a narrative. What this artist has done has brought this very touching audio piece of her grandfather into a kind of collision with her felt movement. At times this works well. At other times it feels a little pale in comparison to the drama and intensity of what is being told. Sometimes I feel that the beautiful young woman dancing in the tall grass is an odd juxtaposition to the vocal narrative. I think that the piece would benefit from some rougher edges where continuity gets broken or interrupted where the clarity of the various forms gets messier–maybe her actual voice substitutes for his recorded voice at some moments. Maybe some element of her contemporary experience gets injected into the flow of what’s happening. I think there is a very successful moment for me after the grandfather has finished telling his moving story about the walk from Nanjing to Shanghai (?) and she is doing a squat walk on her knees…something difficult and uncomfortable. The resonance of his words lived in those movements and yet they weren’t done at the same time, but one after the other. That worked. I’m not sure what to say about the ending except that I was very happy to see this very skillful mover move in a more kinetic and full-throated way. Something got released in that moment. The weight of his story and the possibility of her having her own story. – Joe Goode
Beautiful! Your use of video is strong, you do not allow it to overpower the live dancing. It hints at images of relatives, past, and history/story/narrative, yet you remain my focal point, we do not lose you. You have the opportunity to match the language (a gun fires…the text and movement match it) or to abstract it more and simply embody the feeling or essence of the text. You are already doing this, but could you allow for more specific choices in this idea? Could you do the gun movement a hair earlier than when he says it in the text? When is it important to only see you? When do you want us to hear your grandfather and continue the narrative? It felt successful to present an ancestor story or a communist story. Meaning… everyone can relate to or has a story like this. It’s personal yet also universal, which is hard to do. The movement says a lot, but can it say less? Is it possible to see your ancestors in your physical structure? We want to see your face, see you with or without emotional content (clearly happy, clearly sad). Melecio Estrella & James Graham
Bio: Joe Landini received his BA in Choreography from the University of Calif, Irvine and his MA in Choreography from the Laban Centre in the UK. He has presented his choreography in Sacramento, Santa Cruz, Monterey, Laguna Beach, Marin, London, Mexico City and Santa Fe. Joe founded SAFEhouse Arts in 2007 and directs the SPF Festival, the West Wave Festival, and the RAW residency program. He received the GOLDIE Award from the SF Bay Guardian in 2012. In 2017, he celebrated his 25th anniversary of making dances in San Francisco.
Sample Description: excerpt from 25th anniversary, in collaboration with Alma Cunningham, as a new company called “Dog & Pony”.
Choreographer’s question: how to collaborate and create containers for movement?
In the first section of the piece, I love that the gestures had no real correlation to that very familiar music. There was something oddly satisfying about that disjuncture. At some point with “the wide-armed open to the universe gesture,” I felt like there was a potential to make a deeper connection with the word “fame.” That might just be a performance note. The work with the masks that I will call the pugnacious baby masks, was absolutely brilliant and I could watch that forever. The expressive face on the mask felt totally embodied in the bodies of those performers. I also liked the song that told a story of a dancer’s life. Is it Joe Landini’s life? This was a moment where the shifting of the narrative between cast members didn’t fully work for me. I felt we were headed down a path that had potential for both humor and pathos and then suddenly there was a redirect into some safer post-modern device. So, it seems to me, the real work in this piece is at the end when the narrative shifted to the two female dancers. I just felt lost and a bit deflated. The journey that I had been on which was campy and strange suddenly seemed off the tracks. I think the question for me in making a work like this is what is the power of the personal story? Can I tell it and maintain my ironic distance? Can I reveal myself without making it “all about me?” – Joe Goode
“A moment I became really pulled in to the piece was when the lights shifted and the dancers with masks are in the corner. This feels like a really compelling and unique choice for the narrative that I wanted more of. I am also curious about the relationships of Joe to the other performers. Is he solely the narrator or can this be deconstructed in some way? At the beginning the gestures feel important but I am not sure I followed their trajectory through the piece. I like the idea of a story told and retold in various ways but I think I want to understand some key emotional or image-istic elements before they are shifted or changed? I want to feel more connected before disoriented maybe? We appreciated the element of surprise, the collision of choice of music, singing, yelling and personal storytelling. Could you imagine if the Joe/The Narrator joined the other dancers or moved from his spot if the relationship between all three performers would then be more dimensional and the story could be conveyed more through the storytellers body? – Damara Ganley & Molly Katman
Bio: Julie Crothers is a freelance dancer, choreographer, and educator based in Oakland, CA. Born and raised in Nashville, TN, Julie pursued a degree in Dance and Arts Administration at Elon University in North Carolina. In 2014, Julie moved to the Bay Area to join AXIS Dance Company, where she worked for 3 years- performing, teaching, and touring to over 25 cities nationally and internationally. With AXIS, Julie performed in works by Joe Goode, Sonya Delwaide, Marc Brew, Alex Ketley, Bobbi Jene Smith, Maurya Kerr, and Stephan Koplowitz. Professionally, Julie has also danced for Renay Aumiller Dances (RAD) based in Durham, NC and Sarah Bush Dance Project (Oakland, CA). Julie’s choreography has been presented on stages throughout the southeast United States and San Francisco Bay Area, as well as at Bates Dance Festival Young Choreographers New Works Showcase and West Side Dance Project in New York City. Julie is pleased to have been selected as Shawl-Anderson Dance Center’s 2018 Emerging Artist in Residence. In addition to focusing on creating and producing her own work, she greatly enjoys teaching and is currently on staff at Shawl Anderson Dance Center, Performing Arts Academy of Marin, and Berkeley Ballet Theatre. For more information visit www.juliecrothers.com
Sample Description:This phrase is a raw excerpt from a larger work that I am developing inspired by the discovery of 296 letters written to my late grandma, Eva, from 11 different lovers over the years 1945-1949. They reveal an entirely different Eva than the one I once knew, who is surprisingly and in many ways more similar to myself than I ever imagined.As I discover the character of who young Eva is, I invent her responses based on information gathered from diaries, photos, music, and personal artifacts, which informs movement.I created this phrase during a week-long research-driven intensive with Deborah Slater, and am curious to develop it further by integrating the text, and exploring the boundaries and overlap between young Eva, Nana Eva, and myself, the performer.
Choreographer’s question: Where does Eva, both the 18-year-old southern belle with 11 men at her disposal and the dearly loved late Nana Eva, lie within me; and with thousands of written words already at my disposal, what needs to be said to bring her to life?
Oh boy, I can’t wait to get my hands on some little piece of this. I can just imagine so many possibilities with the text of those letters. This dancing is just gorgeous. I love the specificity of each movement, how some of the movements feel gestural, even though they really are not. The vocabulary you have invented here not only speaks to the light lovely emotions of “being courted”, but also somehow evokes the period you are rendering. I think some interesting costume things could enhance the piece. Maybe not an actual forties dress, but just the blouse or the scarf, and a hat? I am sure this material is not necessarily going to stay in this order, but the two songs of that period placed back to back did not work so well for me. I was ready for a new texture at the end of the first song. I know from working with you on “to go again” that you have a very natural talent as an actor. You handle language beautifully and I hope, hope, hope you are planning on utilizing that in this work. It is right there begging to happen. And would be a nice ventilation from the very detailed, luscious dancing. Also, I must admit that knowing that this material was inspired by your grandma’s letters made it richer for me. I think that somehow needs to be established in the piece (beyond just a program note). Here I am trying to push you toward theater, but the material and your skills in that arena just seem a natural fit for spoken word or some sort of vocalization. – Joe Goode
Thank you for sharing your work with us! What a fascinating discovery! As your artist statement indicates there could be a really interesting opportunity to find the movement a text that most reveal yourself to yourself. The surprise of finding new dimensions of who your Eva was could also apply to your creative process? What could you peel back, reveal, uncover, discover…? What depths of certain feelings – maybe desires, maybe fears too have not yet made it to the movement yet? The dancing as it is now is exquisite – clear and compelling, and maybe reflects the way we all compose ourselves, as your grandma must have also learned to do. What about the rawer parts, the secret moments that I could imagine are revealed in these letters and also reside in all of us. Could there be movement vocabulary that sinks into that and speaks to that as well? Could sections of text come into collision with the movement in interesting ways – the movement revealing a subtext not spoken perhaps? Thinking about the incredible matrilineal heritage we all have and how our ancestors live inside of us and feeling a connection to them is such a relate-able and interesting idea. You are such a beautiful mover, but we are also craving more movement that conveyed your subject matter and fell outside of traditional ways of moving as well as some contrast in quality, timing and texture. Would love to hear text from your Grandma’s letters. Want to know why and how you feel more connected to her now. – Damara Ganley & Molly Katzman
Bio: Z Griss (Zahava) is a dancer, sexual empowerment coach, and director of Do Good Things with Power, a leadership immersion for dance, sexuality and kink facilitators. Z’s solo show, Waters of the Soul, is a ritual for liberation. “It is the story of where I come from. It is a replacement for who whiteness tells me to be. It is my initiation into kink and my erotic truth. It is a way to remember my power even when I am not in control. It is a revolution that invites grief and orgasm to bring us home through the waters of the soul. Z identifies as gender transcendent and has been guiding educational and healing spaces on sexuality, trauma release, and embodiment since 1999. Z has had the honor of training as a dancer the past 30 years including working with Kathrine Dunham, Urban Bush Women, the Joffrey Ballet, Baba Chuck Davis, the Juilliard School, Tisch School of the Arts, Sarah Lawrence College, and the Alvin Ailey School. Z has certifications in Yoga for Birth, Pilates, Esalen Massage, Deep Bodywork, Coaching for Social Change, Health Coaching, and Urban Tantra. Z studied the sexual and spiritual arts of Sufi dance meditation, Sexual Shamanism, BDSM, bioenergetics, and transformational group dynamics. Z has performed and taught at national conferences on healing racism, Black Entertainment Television, New York University, Hunter College, the International Inspiring Womens Summit, the Kennedy Center, the NY Midwifery conference, Harlem School of the Arts, Earthdance, prenatal yoga teacher trainings, and the Deepak Chopra Center. Z is a contributing author for Queer Magic: Power Beyond Boundaries. Learn more at www.EmbodyMoreLove.com.
Sample Description: This is an excerpt from Waters of the Soul, a 90 min solo show exploring self love and liberation. It is the story of where I come from. It is a replacement for who whiteness tells me to be. It is my initiation into kink and my erotic truth. It is a way to remember my power even when I am not in control. It is a revolution that invites grief and orgasm to bring us home through the waters of the soul. This specific scene is my early discovery of pleasure.
Choreographer’s question: Can I share something vulnerable, that gets me out of breath? How can I embody the joy, innocence, and discovery of a young person exploring erotic energy for the first time through my whole body and voice? How can I show more and tell less?
The rough audio on the work sample and my old ears were not a good match, but I think I got the gist of it without being able to make out most of the actual words. I loved the crisp specificity of the dancing- provided a nice contrast to the story of masturbation. I can imagine other forms of movement that would be more literal and that would not be as interesting as the choice you have made here (in my opinion). I like that the skill of the dancing in some ways inoculates the viewer against their feelings of embarrassment or discomfort with the subject matter. very smart. Your performance is charming without ever veering into cuteness which is also extremely important here. I like the costuming, because I can imagine there is something sexy going on under those loose clothes, but it is left to my imagination which is always better than the real thing in my opinion. This feels very complete as a segment. There might be a moment or two of rest or ventilation that I would suggest, but I wouldn’t change much of anything. Maybe some kind of prologue which is of a completely different texture- slower, darker, more hidden from view, less explanatory, non- narrative. There are many ways to get to those things, but I would be careful not to sell the farm. we don’t want to know that this is all preparing us for the story of sensual initiation until we get there. – Joe Goode
Z, your piece feels exceptionally honest and vulnerable. You have a good balance between moving and talking, you’re not doing both the entire piece. Sometimes the movement tells the story. Do you directly address the vocabulary of your movement? your training? Does a ballet or modern training have an impact to your sexual coming of age? We are curious about the energetic state of orgasm and the movement vocabulary that might come forth from that state? Maybe this is something you explore later in the piece. We think of the endocrine studies in Bonnie Cohens Body Mind Centering. We think of State work when you make the orgasm noises. Can you go to a new place that surprises yourself and the audience? – Melecio Estrella & James Graham