The African Chronicles: Dancer Gone Techi

Dancer Gone Techi
Dakar, Senegal
Oct. 20-24

Dancer gone techi. I thought dance was really hard on your body until I started editing material for the recent post for Shifting Center. I sat on a concrete floor for about eight hours, hunched over, eyes straining to see the detail of the multiple slices and edits that fractured about five hours of footage…for three days now. Three days of work for five minutes of online glory and a few hits on Facebook. We’ve had numerous technical difficulties because I’m an expert in art, not digital media, much to my chagrin. I have no excuse, I’m the problem. And I’m here confessing online because I’ve become so connected to my laptop that nothing else in the world exists expect this beautiful piece of machinery.

Choreography is exhilarating. And editing video draws the same creative juices, to sit back and feel like that last edit was the most perfect execution of the delete key known to man. It is so fun to determine what clips go with what sound, transitions, timing, pauses, stillness – I know all these things; most choreographers know these things. But, running around in a market trying to find the right adapter is not up my alley, especially when that alley is packed full of dusty jewelry and high fashion knock-offs. I never knew you could record in HDV onto DV tapes; it makes sense why Final Cut Pro doesn’t recognize the tapes. Oh, I’ve been so hard on the program, blaming it for all my hold-ups and so confident that the program must be wrong, it must be! But wait, the footage is importing – finally. And then somehow the files keep going offline, and yes everyone, I set my scratch disks. The material is there, I know it is! Somewhere in that small little box it’s floating around in 01’s.

I have a digital headache: I eat, drink and sleep the save button. And like so many of the challenges that we’ve had the solution to them is very simple, very small, and very discreet. Why couldn’t it have been that the entire program was missing a few program codes? Or that Machintosh must have sent me a bad batch of FCP. So those of you who laugh at this post because of my misfortunes, you know what your doing in this digital world – and good for you! But I know that before you became a techi, you were just like me. The frustrated, dirty, only had three hours of sleep, forgets to eat because I can tell I’m only a few edits and trouble shots away from exporting. Oh that brilliant word! Export! Yes, please, export me anywhere because my brain is now lost in that little small box.

Patronize a good choreographer and poor techi:

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New Video Dance “Pattern”

Check out this video dance. This was an attempt at a new process of choreography. I took footage from various events and locations wondering how I was going to put them all together. Then I thought artists see art everywhere in everything. There is motion, music, color, rhythm all around us – one just has to find it. This process gave me the complete work, but was lacking organization. It was as if I had the complete score without any meter, arrangement, or bars. I carefully filtered through about 15 minutes of footage and found the simple patterns that seemed to connect each segment. I approached the piece as I would any dance choreography, the transitions, timing, accent, space, repetition, and music should be well developed. The project showed me how to explore choreography in a new way starting was all the material and then finding a structure. There could be great value in generating lots of movement and then finding a meaning, purpose, or connection. The meaning may be found in ‘context-free’ movement. Something for me to chew on.