Dance at Illinois: Bodies and Attachment

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Charli Brissey / Dance at Illinois. Diagnosis 2, 2015.
Charli Brissey / Dance at Illinois. Diagnosis 2, 2015.

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Charli Brissey / Dance at Illinois. Diagnosis, 2015.
Charli Brissey / Dance at Illinois. Diagnosis, 2015.

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Charli Brissey / Dance at Illinois. Another Place 2, 2015.

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Charli Brissey / Dance at Illinois. Another Place, 2015.
Academic Engagement

When considering the theme of attachment within the choreographic process my immediate inclination is to devote attention to the primary material utilized in making dances: bodies.

I think about the autonomy and individuality of bodies within choreographic structures and scores. I think about the internal bodily progression of bones to tendons to muscles. I think about the power dynamics between choreographers and dancers. I think about the social constructs that are informing how and when bodies are to exist and interact in public and/or private spaces. I think about the social constructs that are informing how and when bodies are safe to exist and interact in public and/or private spaces. I think about the gooey wet matrix of fascia that literally holds my body together. I think about the trillions of microscopic bodies that further constitute all bodies: protozoa, archaea, parasites, and yeast. I think about how this means that we are never only one body. I think about the daily tasks bodies undertake to navigate complicated (and violent) social systems of race, gender, class, ability, and so much more. I think about the lives of dancing bodies outside of the studio, and what is or is not allowed into the choreographic process. I think about the relationship between dancers and money (or the lack-thereof a relationship). There is so much more.

As a queer artist there are many circumstances in which my body does not align with the world around me. I am off-kilter, undetermined, unrecognizable, irreportable, un-declarable. Making dances is an opportunity to perform a disruption to the status-quo and simultaneously make my own world.

I think about gender:

Refusing to support predetermined and fixed prescriptions for what bodies ‘should’ do/be/have/perform and instead cultivating space for bodies to consistently reveal shifting emergences of behavioral, gestural, physical, sartorial, and chemical embodiments.

I think about desire and love:

Refusing the romanticized sentiment of heteronormative white love and instead nourishing a space for queer desire to actualize as an assemblage of friendships, kinships, entanglements, partnerships, communities, and relationships of many forms.

I think about appendages and parts:

Refusing to embrace dancing moving bodies as a machinistic object and instead acknowledging collaborators as uniquely individual collections of flesh, blood, sweat, organs, bones, rhythms, thoughts, hopes, ideas, needs, and desires (among so many others things) that I deeply want to get to know.

I think about activism:

Refusing to accept dance as only a form of capitalist entertainment and instead utilizing this craft to reveal alternative possibilities for how bodies might engage with and within spaces.

I think about visual politics:

Refusing to accept that when a body comes into view it’s meaning is always already composed by what I have been told it means, and instead challenging the neural pathways of my brain to develop new synapses not reliant on these normative and socialized modes of recognition…and then ultimately challenging myself to approach performance-making from that headspace.....to the best of my ability.

Charli Brissey / Dance at Illinois