"make light: or how I survived it all" is a reflection on seemingly meaningless beauty. Pulling from lesser known Darwinian theories of evolution - that argue aesthetics as inherent to survival - movement vocabulary, ranging from tender and subtle to luscious and sweeping, offers expressions of joy whose meaning exists only in the beauty of its presentation.
The common belief of Darwinian Evolutionary Theory is that the reason for the existence of a particular trait or behavior is strictly for survival. However, Darwin once remarked that “stripes and marks and ornamental appendages have all been indirectly gained through the influence of love” - raising the theory that evolution may be expressed as an appreciation of the beautiful, through the exertion of a choice.
We need only look at the elaborate courtship rituals of many of Earth's species to see this theory in action: fish who attract with colorful scales, whales that woo through song, birds that charm through dance. Each of these "performances" sustains the species due to the simple fact of beauty being both displayed and appreciated. In this way, there is no such thing as meaningless beauty. Something can be meaningful simply for the fact that it is beautiful.
Inspired in part by both physical and metaphorical windows into human existence, the choreography extends beyond Darwin's pondering and considers how witnessing beauty and experiencing joy ensure our resilience as a species during periods of great challenge.
This piece was created for The Click and premiered at The Foundry (Cambridge) in December 2022. You can view an excerpt of the work-in-progress, performed at Dance Now Boston in February 2022, below. Support for this work was provided by Boston Moving Arts Productions, the New England Foundation for the Arts Dance Fund grant, and the Boston Opportunity Fund, administrated by the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture.
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