Each and every day, I lose myself in the immediacy of the moment, find myself in the joy of the movement. Each and every day, I learn more and more...and, within that new knowledge, realize that I have so much farther to travel.

Shallom Johnson is a contemporary dance artist, visual artist and freelance writer based in Vancouver BC. She holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in Contemporary Dance from Simon Fraser University, and has been active in the Vancouver dance community as a choreographer, performer, and instructor since her graduation in 2004.

Shallom is interested in art in public spaces, site-specific performance, interdisciplinary collaboration, and community involvement. Her street-based artwork, performance and photography examines and documents who gets to make art, where it gets made, and where/how the creative process and product is viewed. In the future, she hopes to explore this theme further via new media and technologies, new methods of creation, collaboration and community engagement.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Video Post: Chair Dances

I'm creating a solo for a performance on October 20th. It will be shown as a section of Objects of Hope: The America Project, by Contradiction Dance. If you look down one post, you'll see another work-in-progress section, a duet between me and Kelly Mayfield.

The movement phrases seen in these video clips are improvisations, generating movement that will soon be crafted into something that hopefully makes sense within the larger concept of the work.

I was working with the idea of my home as my object of hope, and with the chair as representative of that home. I was also trying to see how many different ways I could fit my body into and around the chair, and how that would inform the movement possibilities.

Kelly's concept is "reclaiming her patriotism" by asking questions about the state of America as a political, cultural and social entity. Where are our priorities, and why? Coming into this process as an outsider - a Canadian, with some pretty negative views on the current state of America - I am trying to see how I fit into this structure, and how my perspective can be integrated into the work.

Part of my thought process is "yes, I'm an American by birth (I have dual citizenship) but don't identify with that part of me. Partially because I grew up in Canada, partially because I don't agree with a lot of what goes on here, don't see "The Great American Dream" as having anything to do with me or my goals or my lifestyle. But I think that a lot of peopl that live here feel the same way, and are looking for a way to find some sense of pride in their country - either returning to a feeling they have since lost, or finding something in the concept of America to believe in for the first time.

I personally think that if you don't believe in what your country stands for - if you can't find pride in that - then you have to question how things can change, how you can personally effect that change to make your country a place in which you feel proud to live. And that goes for any country, anywhere - not just the US of A.

I also feel that we as artists have a responsibility to use our voices to effect change - and that change happens first and foremost in the mindset of individuals. Yes, it can be daunting and overwhelming to try and change the whole system starting from scratch - but not impossible. At least that's what I'd like to think, in my idealistic state of today (while my cynical side is shaking its head in disbelief).

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