Harvard Arts Blog asked dancers to reflect on their experiences preparing for the Dance Program Spring Performance 8 p.m. March 28-30 at Farkas Hall. Guest blogger and dancer Dami Seung ’13 is a master’s candidate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has been working with guest choreographer and OFA Dance Program director Jill Johnson for DPSP13.
Working with Jill Johnson during the 2013 spring semester has informed and expanded my understanding of choreography. Johnson’s role as a choreographer has brought purpose to my role as a dancer in the Dance Program Spring Performance.
When we are learning new phrases, Johnson does not just show and tell us what to do. She describes the feeling of performing the movements and creates images for us that foster our embodiment of those ideas.
Johnson recognizes moments when we have undergone an eye-opening learning experience and takes those opportunities to ask us, “What was that thought?” During one of our creative lab sessions, Johnson asked me that question while we performed a section of the dance piece. I explained how I thought about the concept of interconnectedness throughout my body. As I performed the movements, I felt a strong sense of “obliqued-itude” and allowed the different parts of my body to respond to each other and the movements. I appreciate having moments like this to reflect on the experience.
Johnson often calls the cast “co-collaborators” which, for me, brings meaning to the work that we are engaging in. She values our ideas and creates a space in which we can share and explore them with one another. Johnson thoughtfully takes on the role of the artist, choreographer and educator during the dance-making process, which has cultivated meaningful collaborative learning experiences and deepened my notion of choreography.