Words about intention

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The first time I thought deeply about intention, as it related to my own rehearsal process, was during Urban Bush Women’s epic Summer Leadership Institute last July 2012. Our Cohort 3 leaders, Maria Bauman and Maritza Mercado were graceful and transparent in their intentionality and were an excellent model for successful facilitation of art making. They held the directorial reigns and were able to craft a product that reflected the vision of the group. I noticed that some members of the group felt they had to compromise their opinions and some members would have preferred more structured facilitation. There was a (typical) racial component to these dynamics– white people in the group were particularly pushy about being heard over the folks of color– something I gradually became more aware of and horrified by as we had our Undoing Racism workshops throughout the Institute (the fact that such a dynamic was occurring in a setting like SLI makes it incredibly clear the extent to which racism affects our everyday life and artmaking…).  But even as they navigated this slippery terrain, Maria and Maritza were able to finagle a kind of equity within group’s artistic voice so there was a really lovely balance of direction and facilitation that made the piece a true collaboration.

As I observed and participated in this process I realized that my show, which was going up in two weeks, had somehow come about with a comparatively minimal amount of craftsmanship. Tender was my first professional production outside of school and went up August 2012 at Wow Cafe Theater.  I tried from the start to make the proces nonhierarchical, democratic, authentic, but I felt a little lost when it came to editing, especially since I was facilitating and participating simultaneously. I think that my soft focus directorially caused some fracturing when it came time to paste the pieces together.

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The purpose of this blog is to force an articulation of intention throughout process even if it seems impossible.  To get old school for a second, I remember in The Art of Making Dances, being struck by Doris Humphrey’s emphasis on naming despite the fact that dance does not need words to communicate.  We want to be able to point towards our meaning with such articulation that it is impossible to not understand, and I think that discussion and dialogue throughout our community is key to achieving that clarity.

Also it’ll be totally rad to document this new, weird, exciting company-growing process. Someday all of us involved can look back and be like HAH we were crazy but at least we learned something. One can hope!

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Photos by Bex Kwan and Joi Sanchez

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