slants series

Through the slants series Maree ReMalia and Hyunjung Lee aim to explore endless iterations of movement using their collaborative duet, slants, as source material for working with varying cast members in Pittsburgh and Daegu throughout 2013. Maree and Hyun created and performed in slants through the PearlArts Movement Residency in 2012-2013. Early rehearsals were held between the U.S. and South Korea via Skype and video exchange. Hyun traveled to Pittsburgh for the month of January where they completed and premiered the duet. The playful movement amalgamation reflected their individual dance histories in traditional Korean dance, classical ballet, contemporary dance, and their common experience of Gaga. Initial themes ranged from Korean han and their comedic banter to their experience of being identified as Asian and their own associations with this definition, to their love of Korean cuisine and bacon.
To view video excerpts of slants click here.


Creative Process for slants
Image from Day 1

Week 1
Still meditating on the ideas we outlined in our proposal in my creative research, I also decided to start from the body each day.  Moving, rather than planning first.  Move first, then see what ideas and thoughts arise.  A warm up based in Gaga, Butoh, Chi Gong, and yoga.   Improvisation through movement and speech.  Referencing my notes from teaching improvisation and courses at OSU.  Re-entering the creating mind/experience.  I was trying to channel Hyun’s movement qualities, which are so different from my own.  Grounded, fleshy, fluid, wave-like, soft–a nice contrast for my light, skeletal, bound, changing of stories.  Stringing together short sequences.  Giving myself verbal directives, “Maree, stand in the corner,” etc.  It is only the beginning of the absurd in this process.  This mental voice is very helpful when alone in the studio.  Improvising with my limited Korean terms out loud, but expressing them as if I am talking about the recent presidential debates.  Following bodily impulses and playing with reversing and transposing movements.  Trying to recall the unison repertory we learned from Kamuyot.  One topic of exploration we mentioned in our proposal is Korean han or what I have come to understand as a deep, soulful sadness that is endemic to this country.  A heaviness that can not be removed, but people persevere with hope anyway.  Hyun told me I have the han.  I think she is right.  So far, I am excited that my attention has grown to include more detail in the quality of movement.  I feel like I have more range or options than I did a year ago.  

I re-read this today:
john cage: some rules for students and teachers
RULE ONE: Find a place you trust, and then try trusting it for awhile.
RULE TWO: General duties of a student – pull everything out of your teacher; pull everything out of your fellow students.
RULE THREE: General duties of a teacher – pull everything out of your students.
RULE FOUR: Consider everything an experiment.
RULE FIVE: be self-disciplined – this means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow them. To be disciplined is to follow in a good way. To be self-disciplined is to follow in a better way.
RULE SIX: Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win and no fail, there’s only make.
RULE SEVEN: The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something. It’s the people who do all of the work all of the time who eventually catch on to things.
RULE EIGHT: Don’t try to create and analyze at the same time. They’re different processes.
RULE NINE: Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It’s lighter than you think.
RULE TEN: “We’re breaking all the rules. Even our own rules. And how do we do that? By leaving plenty of room for X quantities.” (John Cage)
HINTS: Always be around. Come or go to everything. Always go to classes. Read anything you can get your hands on. Look at movies carefully, often. Save everything – it might come in handy later.

Also, Andrea Olsen’s Bodystories
“It becomes important to understand that the body has its own way of functioning, its own way of telling us what’s going on inside, its own logic.  Much of our task is to learn to listen.”

Week 2
Some inspiration….Preuve Par 4

More inspiration….Faye Driscoll
Faye Driscoll’s You’re Me considers how we are constantly made-up and un-done by each other. In this evening-length duet Driscoll probes and obfuscates the inescapable nature of relationship as the contemporary, archetypal, fantastical and personal crash into each other, bending and warping in one shrug, quarrel, or reframing of a scene. Imbued with the adrenaline of potentially dire consequences, You’re Me is a moving portrait of the impossible struggle to unhinge the palindromic loop of self and other. With the constraint of just two performers on stage the whole time, Driscoll and performer Aaron Mattocks fight a sweaty, evocative, disturbing and deeply funny battle with the dualism they face; male/female, director/performer and performer/audience. They ask: What do you see when you see us on stage? How does our very desire to be more than we are transform us? How do our fantasies of ourselves and of each other create new possibilities for being, and yet give birth to friction, failure, and loss? You’re Me is a kind of tango with chaos and recurrence in which the performers attempt to simultaneously control and destroy the frame through which they are seen – all the while asking, “Am I getting it right?”

Week 4
This has been helpful this week….Ira Glass on Taste:

Intuitively, I broke my rule of starting with the body moving today and began writing.  “Inkshedding,” or just writing without stopping.  Reflecting on what seems to keep surfacing as a theme in my creative projects and intention in facilitating movement experiences, as well as my daily pre-occupations–an obsession with the way in which we are externally perceived and how this meets how we internally experience ourselves.  Also, a desire to expand or cultivate curiosity regarding perceived surface impressions and at the same time broadening the embrace of acceptable expressions through movement/text/performance.  I recently went on a public art tour and one of the pieces we viewed was accompanied by a sharing from the artist.  Upon first glance I saw a number of shiny, silver, wavy-shaped 3-D sculptures that create a fortress-like structure to me.  I enjoyed the sleekness of the work, but did not feel particularly emotionally moved to learn more about the work.  While the artist was talking I gained a new appreciation hearing of his intention and history and what the piece meant to him and was reminded as I have been by many of my respected mentors, family members, and friends that usually there is more to be known and understood.  It also reminded me that living with this kind of curiosity is a practice and metaphor for many aspects of my life.  This theme was also overtly part of our tour guide, Erik Martinez’s (Mayan Sites and Destinations Tours), mission when he took us to the Mayan ruins in Chichen Itza last week.  He explained that in Mexico his MA in Sociological Anthropology was equivalent to that of Cultural Anthropology in the U.S.  His wealth of knowledge was impressive and his perspective was unique and addressing themes that tend to recur throughout history in cultures across the globe; tendencies toward worship, ritual, sacrifice, differentiation of class, race, culture, commerce, war, and death.  He shared a number of stories where he was able to point out commonalities between cultures despite their differences and he was open in saying that he did not appreciate or agree with the statement that “all Mexican’s look the same,” as he urged everyone to really see the people we encountered during our trip.  On a previous tour, he was explaining how the Mayan people believe they came from corn.  One Christian touree approached Erik and said “Wow Erik, I can’t believe that the Mayan people were stupid enough to believe they came from corn.”  Erik is a Mayan descendent himself.  So, Erik said to him, “Sir, are you religious?”  He said, yes.  Erik asked him from where he believed he came.  The man said, “from dust.”  Erik took the opportunity to express that while their beliefs on “from where” were different, the concept was similar.  His tour was sharing the history and contemporary circumstance of the Mayans and also a reminder of acceptance, tolerance, and respect.  During this trip I was also reading Toni Morrison’s Playing in the Dark.  Her thoughts on creative process are relatable and inspiring to me.  She said, “Writing and reading are not all that different for a writer.”  I feel similarly about experiencing performance and creating work.  She also talked about “freeing the language” from predictable stereotypes in reference to race and how this took effort.  She asked questions about how we can welcome each other into the estranged or what may seem different or other or unfamiliar.  This is a question in which I am interested in regard to what I create, how I facilitate, and how I ingest the world around me.  How do I continue to open the lens through which I am looking and continue welcoming the unfamiliar or uncomfortable and how do I also invite others to do so?  A practice of how to remain curious.  All the time.  More of the time.

Week 5
Phrase name response for Hyun

Lilting pelvis
Arrow to toss it up
Frantic feet
Eat it back
Suck the straw releve to arabesque fall
Robot space throw
Raining down slow mo
Lasso leg pump
Puttin on the ritz
Hiccup jag stomp
Ping pong heel
Capture foot/pendulum foot
Shooting leg through stirrup/pika yawn
Garglion with shy end
Turned in arm/leg
Spread em/coupe arms straw
Pika yawn w/plie
Crouching shoulder stitching

Week 6
Inspiration:  Olafur Eliasson

Week 7
Korean han

Korean adoptees

Week 8
Traditional Korean Dance and Performance

Week 9 

Week 10
Janet Echelman:  Imagination Becomes Reality

Week 11 Hyun Arrives  
735765_10151391837075351_813530086_oWeek 12

Week 13
The Examiner:  PearlArts Studio A Pittsburgh Arts Center Paying it Forward

Other Works from the slants series
Daegu International Dance Festival, South Korea (2013)
photo by Lee JaeBong
slants revisited/take away the mountain
A duet performed by Maree ReMalia and David Bernabo in the Kelly Strayhorn’s Hear/Now Series where the performers oscillated between movement scores and speaking the text from Take Away the Mountain.  It’s creation stemmed from enthusiastic audience response to slants revisited for 1.  A rendition with live text felt like the next step.  Click to view excerpts full-length slants revisited/take away the mountain in Kelly Strayhorn Theater’s Hear/Now (PA).
Click to view excerpts of the re-worked slants revisited/take away the mountain at the Current Sessions (NY).
Picture 2
video still Maree ReMalia
slants revisited/take away the mountain — reworked for the Current Sessions in NY
photo©Bill Hebert courtesy of the Current Sessions
slants revisited for 1
Iteration 2 is a solo performed by Maree ReMalia using the recorded text Take Away the Mountain created by Pittsburgh sound and movement artist David Bernabo.  The piece was created for Prescott College’s Spring Offering showcase, which was  combination of faculty, alum, and student work.
Picture 7
video still Maree ReMalia
slants remix
Iteration 1 is an adapted version of the original duet created in collaboration with Pittsburgh dance artists Jessica Marino and Sarah Parker for Lehigh Valley’s SpringUp Dance Festival.
487935_10151519096779551_1168650190_nphoto©Bill Hebert

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