It’s early in the pandemic and empty days stretch out long. Being in the studio feels strange and uneasy, but I’m eager to attempt something, to still be connected to dance and to the outside world. I had chosen an old piece to remount for live stream. Something voyeuristic and cyclical, meant for the audience to come in and out of. It had been a durational performance in a small art gallery a few years before, and the movement was an internally focused score, my eyes averted from the viewer, hair spilling over my face as I traversed the floor slowly, again and again. I had thought that this disconnection from the audience would make it easy to translate to video. My partner had volunteered as camera operator. The only person I can share a room with, luckily he knows the piece and can anticipate the choreography, framing it expertly in real time.
Immediately I’m struggling with the performance quality when the feed goes live. I’m seeing myself from the outside, preoccupied with the image multiplied and distributed; the lack of energetic exchange with my audience. I feel very awkward and alone all the while envisioning abstracted viewers somewhere, maybe engaging with what I am trying to do. I’m doing a terrible job of being in my body. Attempting again and again to refocus on my skin sliding across the floor. After the stream is over, I’ll sit in the corner and cry, surprised by my reaction. Days later, talking to my friend and artistic collaborator Max, she’ll tell me, ‘What you are feeling is grief.’
In the moment, I can’t put words to my experience. Only the sense that I’ve arrived in some alien landscape where many of the skills I have been cultivating no longer apply. I hear Ed tangled up in cords, trying to continue to capture the movement while navigating some technical difficulty. I keep moving, not sure if what I’m doing is being beamed across the internet, or if I am as alone as I feel.