Friday, February 16, 2007

The Making of Dance Anywhere

The Dance Anywhere project began in 1984, when I began pulling out a table in the back yard to create a performance stage in the outdoors. The board was necessary when I was using my tap shoes. I spent my life from the age of 7 studying dance from Fresno and Merced to Sacramento where I studied with the Crockett Dance Company (now know as the Deane Dance Center), and Sacramento Ballet from 1992-1996. In 1995, I began dancing in the trees with fellow dancers at the Boston Ballet Summer School. We would shimmy across the trees in a local park singing songs and dancing while striking ballet poses for the camera.

Due to a severe injury, my dance career was hindered from 1996-1999 but while studying abroad in Oxford, England, a local choreographer Nicoli, got me back involved in performing. We practiced in an outdoor facility on the outskirts of Oxford. Nicoli also made me aware of Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance and how it could be the link to my poor health and chronic dance injuries. I am forever grate ful to her for this.

In 2002, upon my return to California, I began a gluten-free diet and at the same time I began studying improvisation and choreography classes with Dr. Linda Goodrich at Sacramento State University. In 2004, I graduated from Sac State and took a break from the masters program in Psychology to pursue my health.

From 2004 onward, I have been working on a project that involves a merging of arts, visual, musical and the art of motion... which could be considered the precursor of dance. I called the project dance anywhere, as I would often set choreography pieces in the trees of Sac State between my classes, or in McKinley park which was close to my apartment in midtown Sacramento. Taking dance to where ever I was going, I began to realize that my stage had always been in nature, and it felt more homely than the stage to which I spent my youth.

In 2005, the journal collages, mixed with hand written choreography notes and improvisational exercises led me to beginning the practice of video logging. Video logging, also known as vlogging, made it easier to remember choreography from improv sessions. Dyspraxia, a form of dyslexia often made my notes difficult to read and vlogging made note recording a lot easier.

The vlog project began being posted on YouTube, when a fellow YouTuber and I began traveling together on our shared Tuesday weekend. A time when most people were working the standard 8-5 job.

We traveled throughout California choosing random places that we considered beautiful, to create pieces of video art. I would connect my ipod by headphone and see where the music could take me. One take was all I got. So the pieces were really raw. Sketches that could be perfected later.

At the time, sharing the videos was a problem, but the problem was solved with sites like: youtube.com, livevideo.com and myspace.com.

In 2006, I was given a small digital camera, as a gift, to capture my dance pieces and I am currently posting these vlogs on my youtube site: youtube/danceanywhere.

This blog is dedicated to my continued journey through motion, art and dance and to my continued health.

The most joyous times of my life have been the moments spend moving with music, to music and for music. How can anyone sit still? We should all be dancing anywhere and everywhere we go.

Now posting is no longer an issue. Only time can tell what will happen with my online posting. I love feedback... so feel free to contact me if you have any ideas, questions or thoughts about digital dance blogging or about my project.

-Melanie