This week in the studio, the Dance Artists reentered a process led by fellow Dance Artist Rose Shields titled “Manifolds.” “Manifolds” is a dance performance work about the interconnectedness of human movement, architecture, and dimensions in relation to our human existence. The word “manifold” can mean “a whole that unites or consists of many,” “a pipe fitting with several outlets for connecting with other pipes,” or in mathematics, “a continuous geometrical structure having finite dimension.” In this work, Rose is questioning the meaning of our human existence as she looks at how the individual and the community are connected with the concepts of architecture and dimension, the physical versus the abstract, and the struggle and growth that is life.
It has been a little over a year since last embodying the movement offerings of “Manifolds”, so we entered back in the studio with a touching back in on intention, motivation, hearing new ideas from Rose and revisiting the footage of our last run at it. It can be a funny thing to reenter a work after not touching it for a period of time. While watching the year-old footage, I had a little revelation.
As we watched, Rose described a motivation of hers in making this work. She said she wants to give the audience an opportunity to, quite literally, change their perspective. That something can be seen differently from another place. I feel a connection to this within the process as a collaborator. Not only was I watching myself on a computer screen, considering the perspective argument of the “outside eye” versus the dancer’s internal experience, but I am watching myself one year younger while sitting in present vessel. It was a tingly, sensational experience. I feel like a different person from that video. I have a different perspective on myself now. Having spent so much time away from the work, I have a new perspective on it. A fresh set of eyes and body. This body and this group of bodies have digested a world experiences in one year. In this sense, it feels like a gift to get to return to a work after this amount of time and feel like there is so much more to give. More clarity to provide, deeper work to be done. It reminded me to trust in the process. It gave me comfort in knowing perspectives change, ideas shift and reorganize and truths will reveal themselves in time. When I look back, I will be seeing it from somewhere new.
I left the day asking myself: Is it possible to simply shift where we are standing, the angle at which we are seeing something, even slightly, to completely change what we are experiencing? Can we know and trust that around the corner there can be a whole new view? Maybe one we hadn’t first considered. Can we offer our audience the freedom and permission to consider a new perspective?