Whenever I am moved to create, I try to make time – if not immediately, then within a week’s time. I experiment with contrasts and try to fill space with movement phrases that resonate with energy and emotion. I root into the various dance bodies I work with and choose the one most appropriate for the message. When I speak to the culture of empire, I often perform in faux kathak. When I am dismantling systemic supremacy, I lean on contemporary temple. Over a series of these dance-making dates, I begin to put together a choreographic seed. I usually try to perform this seed in public at invitation to test out audience reception. When working with others, when I have my choreographic seed, I try to get everyone in a room. If people wish to move forward, I begin looking into securing funds so dancers can be stipended.
When working in company, our process begins with a concept, inspired through deeply listening to local needs. Informed by liberation texts, we distill big concepts and epiphanies into narrative images, theatrical elements, and movement. In and out of the studio, we record ourselves improvising based on central choreographic seeds, and slowly draw out a cohesive set of movements that illuminate the story, concepts, or feelings behind the piece. We work collaboratively, providing facilitated feedback, and we perform our works-in-progress in order to practice community responsiveness.
In labs too, we deconstruct classical Hindustani, Carnatic and Asian folk styles, collaging Americana with hip-hop, poetry with taal, industrial and found sound. We also juxtapose dance technology and traditional puppetry, applying the element of surprise to draw in and educate a hyper-connected modern audience of all ages and backgrounds.