choreography.(web prep BnWv1)

 

 

 

 

UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON MFA INFORMAL CONCERT:

“only he might know?” (2017)
Choreographer: Joseph Blake
Dancer: Sean O’Bryan
Videographer: Warren Woo

Video link: only he might know?

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MFA CHOREOGRAPHY:

“lying/laying” (2017)
Choreographer: Joseph Blake
Dancers: University of Washington Dance Department
Videographer: Tim Summers

“lying/laying,” a work created for the University of Washington’s May 2017 Dance MFA Concert, was initially developed as purely movement based. Usually when working with student performers I find that an overall theme or objective is beneficial to the collaborative process, so that all the movers work from a familiar framework. I discovered an interest in the idea of art versus education, student versus educator, light versus dark–– dualities I saw in academic life.

The late artist, Jean Michel Basquiat, created works that addressed duality in his life––specifically being a black man growing up in a white art world. His works “. . . throughout his career focused on other suggestive dichotomies, including wealth versus poor, integration versus segregation. and inner versus outer experience.” Could it be that Basquiat would help to influence my new process?

I became interested in a purpose for my work that was more than a movement-for-movement’s-sake piece. I was interested in the dualities that lie within the dance community and in our daily lives. I was interested in ballet versus contemporary modern, shoes/socks versus no shoes/socks, “pretty dance” versus “ugly dance”; beyond dance, daily life concerns of masculinity versus femininity, strength versus weakness, and, boundaries versus “coloring outside the lines” struck a chord with me. As as educator I was interested in the students’ voice in the work: Do you feel that your voice is heard in society? Does education stifle your personal voice? Does education and/or society motivate you to be an artist? Does education and/or society motivate you to be an individual?

As a choreographer/educator/performer should I not be exploring these issues that are a major part of the contemporary dance world? Concerns of duality signify Basquiat’s personal voice. My past works, and current pursuit, deal with the use of the personal voice. How and why is the personal voice silenced in a day and age when it should be strengthened, encouraged, and nurtured?

This choreographic work is dedicated to my mentor, Professor Hannah Wiley at The University of Washington, because she helped me to re-discover my voice, while also fostering an appreciation for the many theorists and theories that helped to structure what the dance community is today.

Video link: lying/laying

Gallery link: MFA Concert 2017

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MFA CHOREOGRAPHY:

“we are the silent weapons of our own war” (2016)
Choreographer: Joseph Blake
Dancers: University of Washington Dance Department
Videographer: Tim Summers

Do our thoughts and judgements stifle our voices?

This question inspired “we are the silent weapons of our own war,” a work created for the University of Washington’s May 2016 Dance MFA Concert.

This work is a collaborative effort that might present the state of mind of one individual. Is the significance of her position in the “cage” the creation of her own psyche . . . the persistent thoughts in her head? Is she creating her own barriers? Is she afraid to use her voice? Why? What is her perception of those around her? Is it a perception of reality or the thoughts in her head? The bigger question is: Is she the one encased in her own cage, or are we all barricaded in our own individual cognitive cages?

Thank you to the dedicated, and courageous, dancers for sharing their experiences. Thank you for taking care of one another as more than a cast, but a community.

Video link: we are the silent weapons of our own war

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DANCE FOR CAMERA PROJECT:

“Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” – RFK

“interval” (2016)
Dancer/choreographer: Joseph Blake
Cinematographer: Chris Blackburn

This work is based on personal anxiety and sense of individuality. A visceral journey/ collaborative project captured on film by Chris Blackburn and choreographed/performed by jo Blake. This new solo focuses on jo’s life progression as he let’s go of the past while moving forward towards new goals and passions. Does he ever let go as the communal walls that surround him entrap his memories of those that led the way.

Video link: interval dance for camera

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DANCE FOR CAMERA PROJECT:

“dark places amongst us” (2014)
Cinematographer: Blackburn Studios, Chris Blackburn
Dancers: Dace Stringari and Shelby Jane Terrell

a return to the duet was brought upon by the graciousness of artist Chris Blackburn. he was able to take my dream and make it a reality with the magic of film.

Video link: dark places amongst us dance for camera

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RIRIE-WOODBURY DANCE COMPANY ALUMNI CONCERT “MOMENTUM”:

“dark places amongst us” (2011)
Choreographer: Joseph Blake
Dancers: Dace Stringari and Shelby Jane Terrell

jo’s work, “dark places amongst us” (august 2011), was an emotional duet based on his personal acceptance to love and be loved. Through stark lighting shadows were created influencing his inner demons, black and white video projected the relationship he had with another in their past while the movement witnessed on stage presented their current trials and tribulations. The overall performance was (enjoyed) for it’s potential to reach the audience member individually… thru either a personal connection to the individual dealing with personal inner turmoil or thru the connection to having a relationship with someone currently or in the past. “Dark Places” was presented at the Art Meets Fashion 2011 fundraiser for the renovated YWCA Center for Abused Children and Women. The benefit’s theme was female empowerment, and although this not being the theme of jo’s work, it demonstrates the strength and connection of his work with others outside of the dance community.

Video link: dark places performance

Video link: movement phrase for “dark places…”