Performance Date & Location | Closing Reception
November 6, 5:30 p.m. at the Kansas City Public Library Central Library

Artist Statement

The piece will feature three to five local Kansas City dance artists and will be choreographed by Olivia Emert. The piece will be between thirty and forty five minutes. We will explore the question: how do we affect each other consciously and unconsciously in coexistence? I am imagining the “stage” to be a traditional proscenium like set up with the audience facing the performance space. The dancers will begin with movement exploration and choreographed solos within the audience. They will start spaced out as a part of the audience negotiating space between audience members making their way to the stage. This will include some gentle interactions with audience members: making eye contact, perhaps holding out a hand, subtle “excuse me” and more. The costuming will be pedestrian, in hopes to blend in and to represent humans on stage. The piece will continue with dancers interacting with each other. Audiences are welcomed into this new world we will build within the piece: feeling like they are a part of the ecosystem as a bystander watching. Bystanders themselves in daily life experience convivencia. Solos will turn into duets and unison moments. Building partner work and group phrase work to create relationships, the work will observe negotiations of space, energy and effort. There will be a couple of pas de deux (duets between dancers). The dance artists’ relationships to one another will explore different movement qualities: trusting ease, frustrated tension, and the textures in between. Carving through space, the movement will travel and eventually create a sense of a symbiotic relationship. I want audiences to walk away reflecting on how their relationships affect them. How do their role as observers affect them and their coexistence? How do they exist within Kansas City and their lives? What challenges them and what makes them comfortable? I love the prompt art in the loop has given: How do we share space with our community while balancing both harmony and conflict? How does this tension inform our work and practice? I hope to leave audiences with this question to think about in their own lives.

Dance is an ephemeral experience. The moment that is lived cannot be received and replicated in that setting, with that audience and background or emotions again, but the opportunity and the space can be given with open arms to allow audiences to perceive movement, vulnerability, and connection. As a choreographer and creator, I seek to create palpable empathic environments, relationships, and physical dialogue. I produce shows, create evening length work, and try to be a vulnerable and authentic choreographer presenting humans on stage. I strive to suck the audience into a world reminiscent of a child parachute, like the ones we used in gym class. Everyone would lift the parachute in the air at the same time and quickly rush underneath to sit on the edges of the fabric. This allows the air to not be able to escape but become trapped. It was a magical moment of gym class; we got to be hidden and engulfed in this snow globe like structure. These moments felt otherworldly and became a shared memory amongst the class even if we experienced differences internally. Creating this snow globe parachute feeling, I attempt to create space to allow dancers, audience and collaborators to feel a tangible atmosphere and to find personal investment in the moment. My process draws from human expression and experience in order to build connections, create phrases, and dynamics. In rehearsal, I hold space for conversation and ask for dancers to attach their own personal experience to the work. I share the moments in my life I am relating to and how my body remembers the memories. The movement seeks to carry a kinesthetic value, a shared movement language in which everyone can relate to and feel within their own bodies. The steps derive from a classical vocabulary, but I expand on it hoping to give it life and reflection. I bend forms and lines with curiosity to embody sentiment. I try to welcome the audience to experience movement as human. My wish is not for those who encounter my work to search for answers or narratives but to attach their own, allowing them to find themselves in technical movement where they might not have before. I want everyone to feel wrapped up in a world we have created like we did in second grade.

The Convivencia of This Performance

Through the relationships built in the work, the interaction with audiences, and the movement itself, I offer questions and my own experiences with convivencia. My choreography will be built with how I interact with convivencia and the energy it holds for me, as well as for my dance artists. My process for creation is conversational. I draw from my own personal human experience, and I open the space to allow artists to share how the concepts and relationships we are building in the piece relate to their own lives. In rehearsal, I hope to allow free and respectful conversations with how we encounter convivencia in our daily lives, how it affects us, and how we move forward through our community with more awareness to this coexistence. My identity as a queer, anxiety disordered female artist will lend itself to this concept, and I am hoping to bring in dancers with diverse backgrounds to bring more light to other experiences.

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Instagram | @olivia_emert