Author Archive

Dance Language Survey

How are we talking about dance?  What is our vocabulary, who is generating it, and do we know what we mean when we use it?

This survey is an open invitation to contribute to a collective dance-lexicon.  Define, discuss or consider any number of the following words as they are relevant to you in your Read the rest of this entry »

  • June 16th, 2010
  • Maggie Bennett


Saturday, April 24th, I attended Chris Peck’s Singing Together workshop through CLASSCLASSCLASS.  As advertised, we sang together.  Chris is almost at the end of a Master’s program at Dartmouth; in a month he will defend his thesis on experimental social music.  There’s a lot of sociological and anthropological theory and research that has helped lead Chris to his very particular appropriation of compositions for the voice, ears, and mind, but with the thesis aside, the experience is of a practice that is so simple but requires full presence and tuning of consciousness — to sing, and listen, in a community, as an individual.  The most profound aspect of the workshop, for me, was the way in which Chris has taken complicated music, that from the outside feels totally impenetrable (like, I see this page, and have no idea what it is supposed to manifest, or any idea about how to go about manifesting its intention), and uses it as a tool to reclaim one’s voice.  Essentially, to interact within whatever way serves us, us being, for those four hours of the workshop, a community of singers.  It’s all music that we can sing.  Chris is practicing something totally Radical.  In these very personal experiences and interactions, he is creating a value around social singing — something that has been lost in our culture, and hijacked by the musical industry.  There is performance involved in the work he is doing (the collaboration he and Milka Djordjevich presented at The Chocolate Factory last October was my first interaction with his work), but ultimately, I think it’s about the social singing thing, and the larger ramifications of building value around our voices, and the way a community is formed in that practice.  Later that night at my apartment, Chris got out his guitar, and we sang songs together from his Bluegrass song book.  After going through a few songs, had me sing a longer one alone, to find where I wanted to be in tone, to find my own way around the notes, around the vibration of the guitar’s chords, rather than just following him, and mostly, to just have to sing out.  He joined back in, singing under me, and we sang this song several times through, creating one of the sweetest vocal duets I have ever heard, in my opinion.  I want to do this every day now.

And that is the genius of all this.

To create value.  Forget “audience education” or “outreach.”  How are we, as movement artists, going to facilitate experiences that create value around embodiment, so that an art form such as dance, might become valid in our culture again?  How can we do with embodiment what Chris is doing with voice?

–Maggie Bennett, Movement Research Artist in Residence 2009, performer/collaborator, movement educator (Pilates…),

What are you working with?

Improvisational Dialogue — negotiate expectations, negotiate meaning, expectations are re-negotiable, meaning is re-negotiable

Seek opportunities to interrupt or slow the cycle of forward-moving agendas

  • April 21st, 2010
  • Maggie Bennett

Moments of Exchange

I’m in San Diego, performing with Vanessa Justice Dance at San Diego State University.  Two weeks prior, I returned to New York after a five week visit in Brussels, as a guest at PARTS.  The underlying mission of these trips is artistic exchange.  So immediately I ask what does that mean…  I realize I rarely consider myself a vehicle for that in New York, but imagine myself, my peers, all the work I see and love, as an expanding and shape-shifting diamond.  Although ultimately exchange is occurring, the hat feels different — contribution feels more the tone.  But in this role, what am I bringing, what am I taking?  How is this meeting, proximity of work, expanding each sides’ sense of what is possible in this form and what is possible in the way artists live in relationship to this form.  These are my assumed goals for exchange.  Possibly because I desire expansion around those questions.  And also because I sense that geography and environment are at the root of how we orient to the world as artists (obviously… but to really begin to feel and experience that).  Although there is a multitude of variation in New York, my sense is that we’re all in the same boat, in terms of how we are required to field that city — a force to be reckoned with for sure — which is a huge assumption I am just beginning to de-code, from afar.  But to be in Southern California, to be in Brussels, or Amsterdam, or Paris, where light filters through the sky differently changing the tone of one’s body, where the amount of space between buildings reveals sky in various degrees, changes one’s consciousness, and in turn, changes one’s art.  So to just have enough time and space in a place to be open to listening for the shift in consciousness, and then to allow it to cycle into the work, to then out-put, and be seen by the community that is already holding the life of dance in that location, is really an amazing thing.  The tone of interaction feels more specific than just showing up as an artist and showing what you can do.  To create a loop, feels more the thing to do.

–Maggie Bennett, performer and choreographer, 2009 MR Artist in Residence

  • April 17th, 2010
  • Maggie Bennett

join our mailing list

upcoming classes & workshops

see all classes & workshops ›

upcoming performances & events

  • No Upcoming Performances or Events
see our performances & events ›

movement research feeds