Belinda He

Thurs, Jan 29 from 2:30-5pm
at the New Museum

Regarding Physical Practices as Creative Acts
A Practical Inquiry for the Solo Dance Artist

How do solo artists performing their own creative works prepare themselves physically to present the works as they'd like them to be performed? How does one harness one's own somatic intelligence to refine the dual acts of dance-making and dance-performing? I am interested in investigating how one can develop a personal physical practice to suit one's own creative interests that can supplement, or even supplant, class-taking. In this class, I ask the questions: When is the act of taking class one of mere compulsion or habit, and when is it truly informative and useful? Why might it be important to understand and make these distinctions in relation to creating a work of art?

I propose that developing a nuanced articulation of one's self in movement is by necessity a self-conscious process, as is the development of a piece of work. When compulsion, or habit, interrupts a process that is necessarily internal and reflective, spontaneity is lost, and arguably, so is the value of the art. How, then, can one apply a similar process of rigor onto both their physical practice and creative practice while staying alert to the state of their engagement in the activities? The class proposes some ways to develop a personal physical practice that allows for the spontaneity of improvisation and creativity while retaining a strong emphasis on the development of strength and coordination necessary for the work that one will create and perform. We will investigate how a clearer understanding of our anatomical body can be useful in the act of creating and performing movement.

Participants will be invited to workshop one of the chosen phrases from the ones proposed (or one that they've brought with them), applying the rigor and sensitivity derived from their earlier work in class. Elements of improvisation and creative play are invited not as aesthetic or sensorial responses, but anatomical ones.

This is a class in which the rigors of dance technique are not abandoned, but systematically interrogated, broken apart, and then refined to serve the work of art being created, while the joyous sweat of full-out dancing can still be thoroughly enjoyed. It is a technique class that in its very structure, teaches you how to create one for yourself that will feed your creative work and performance.

While the content of this class can be broadly applied to any dancer in general, it is created specifically for solo dance artists who create and perform in their own works.


Bio

Belinda He is a Singapore-born dance artist and Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner. She received her MFA in Dance from Sarah Lawrence College, and was Artistic Director of SINecdoche Dance. She was the choreographer-in-residence at Greenwich House Music School from 2009 - 2012, during which time she created and presented 'Work : Dance : Display', an evening-length work. In response to the economic difficulties of creating work and taking class, she had chosen to work primarily alone in small studio spaces over the past 3 years. When finances allow, she studies ballet with Janet Panetta. She incorporates her studies of the Feldenkrais Method® and certain aspects of functional anatomy and biomechanics into an ever-evolving personal physical practice in order to synthesize her physical, intellectual and creative energies into one activity.

Belinda most recently performed in the works of Kathy Westwater and Anneke Hansen, and taught at the Cultivate Dance Festival in New Hampshire.