Saturday, January 27, 2018

Untied

Bree Booth, Jaqui Brown and Chrissy King of Simcoe Contemporary Dancers in Alyssa Zimmerman's work Untied  / Photo by Zimmerman
“It is with your feet that you move but it is with your heart that you dance” - Aalaynah Thompson

A former dance teacher, Mrs. McKee, used to tell me the above quote, and it would always allow me to realize why I dance. The quote means a lot to me, just as much as my dancing does.

But, this year, I started to lose the joy of dance, I forgot why I even started. It eventually began to feel like a job instead of something I enjoyed. Taking on this choreographic practice with SCD has allowed me to recognize the real reason I dance, again.

While creating my piece, I felt a creative lock. I was so worried about what everyone would think. I was afraid to put my all into the choreography. I kept second-guessing myself, making the whole process even more challenging.

But once rehearsals began, I watched the dancers and explored movement with some improvisation games. I started to feel the passion I once had for dance and for creating. This opened my eyes to the real reason I started dancing, it wasn't for anyone else but for myself.

I changed my outlook, decided to stop second guessing and just go with the flow. I had previously created a solo for myself that explained my feelings and really allowed me to be me. I decided I would rework this solo into a trio for SCD and from this original choreography, I started to build my new dance.

I was outside my school thinking about what story I could bring to life. It was cold and dark, but there was beauty there still. A tree – it was bare but stood strong in the storm. The wind and snowflakes were spinning around it, yet nothing could tear it down. The weather was loud and distracting, but I still felt at peace. All it took was one moment, this moment, to inspire me and the ideas kept flowing. 

Working with SCD has allowed me to challenge myself as a dancer and choreographer. I was strongly encouraged to come out of my comfort zone and find new ways to be creative. I felt supported knowing that if I got stuck or needed help with anything, I was able to ask anyone in the company for help. Everyone here is extremely friendly and we all care about each other. I am truly delighted to have the opportunity to work with these amazing people, as well as sharing my first dance piece with the company.  

Untied, means something to me, but also creates a story for the audience. Not just one they can watch, but one they can feel. To me this piece is an opportunity to explain the process of overcoming an emotional, physical, or creative block. I hope people can connect to the dance and see their own story through the movement of the dancers. I hope it helps them find a sense of peace like SCD helped me find my way back to my peace with dancing.  

- Alyssa Zimmerman

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