Pardon our Progress 2, a brief history

I thought I’d write about the waters from which the idea for Requiem for This arose.  But as I swim backwards through the creative dreamings and schemings that led to this project, I’m finding those waters pretty murky.  It seems that the work’s genesis is less a linear river of thoughts and events, and more a circling eddy of permeable and osmosing ideas, longings, interests and experiences.  I have no way to identify the exact moment of conception…I suppose I could cite the moment of my conception, but even that loses sight of the influence of my parents’ histories and their parents’ histories, etc., etc.  Anyway, you get the idea.

Well, a few generative moments are floating to the surface, and I hereby attempt to make sense of them…

–The summer of 2009, I worked briefly on a new idea exploring identity as a kind of “core sample” of personal history, but viewed and experienced not from the side, as individual strata delineating clear seasons in time, but from above, looking down through the core sample and getting all that history mottled and compressed into one moment.  The piece never found its feet but I find myself referring to it now as a potent descriptive device for many elements of Requiem for This.

–About 2 years ago Evan Mazunik (composer, friend) asked me to answer a handful of questions as the featured artist of the month on the blog he and his wife, Colette, created in search of an environment “where exploration, improvisation, and expression are encouraged, where making things is valued more than consuming things.”  (You can read the interview here.)  The last question prompted a series of ideas for a piece that takes place in a home.  With candles.  I’m pretty sure this dreaming starting the ball rolling, consciously, and it turns out that candles will indeed play a prominent role.

–Also a couple years ago another idea really captivated me, and I was sure this was the next big piece I’d make.  It would have been a reworking of my earlier Flypaper Dances (2005), with a darker tone, set to a Requiem to be composed by the aforementioned Mazunik.  I had gotten through the initial brainstorming phase, cast a few dancers, written a couple of grant applications, worked with Evan on a few musical sketches for the piece, and began toying with the idea of titling the piece Requiem.  Then I discovered I was pregnant again and all work ceased.

–I believe it was then that my family life took on a more dramatic and pained quality, and my features began to cultivate the constant look of an unwilling martyr.  The subsequent experiences with my children and husband probably influence the work most directly.  Requiem for This being somewhat autobiographical, I’ve got a lot of serious research under my belt!  Thankfully for us all, the experiences have finally begun to sweeten, so the dance will encompass the rapturous glories as well as the frustrations of family life (especially as this year I’m attempting to give up complaining for Lent).

–With Orion’s growing independence, Leif’s entrance into Kindergarten, and my emergence from a depression that convinced my husband I needed to be making dances, I allowed myself to consider the tentative possibility of maybe attempting to explore the potential of endeavoring to embark upon the unfolding journey of a seed idea that I began to allude to by the working title, Requiem for This

And we’re off!!!!!

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