Blog #7

Read on for The Gift Project reveal!

As I started my re-entry to dancing and creating two years ago, I decided I needed a jump-start and a challenge.  Since I last had a regular art practice, I recognized an increase in “horizontal” making structures in the dance world, such as crowd sourcing, shared authorship, collaboration, and audience inscription, and they interest me. So I looked at gift economy principles, and the sense of a rising tide of individuals, groups, and organizations looking to help change the world through a shift towards sharing resources and giving and receiving gifts.  There have always been communities and cultures that have gift economies; it’s particularly well understood or practiced in local spheres, where actual people can fundamentally and personally interact.  However, technology is expanding the principles in neat ways.  Check out this article about the emerging GIFTegrity, for example.

I asked five choreographers if they would give me 1-3 minutes of choreography.  They all said yes!  I, in turn, give these to the audience.  Yes, there’s a monetary transaction that takes place as the audience buys their ticket, but I quip that this dance was not factored into the ticket cost.  What has surprised me, is how much each of these pieces are truly a gift to me – they are teaching me something, showing me something about myself I didn’t know. Anytime someone makes us better people, more empowered, more faceted, they have gifted us.  I hope in return (reciprocity and debt is a complex part of gift) to give the audience a glimpse into their own possibilities.  I owe Dr. Harmony Bench a shout here too as her scholarship about gift, appropriation, and ownership in the transmission of dance sparked me.

And, drum roll, the choreographers are Cailin Manning, Kaustavi Sarkar, Daniel Roberts, Bebe Miller, and John Giffin.  They are all splendid humans and I feel blessed! You have to come to the show to see what happens in The Gift Project.

Read more from back entries:
Blog #6 Recycling clothing
Blog #5  What we wore
Blog #4  I Spy game – what’s in this show
Blog #3  The Linen Closet anatomy of making
Blog #2  Working with Director Robert Post
Blog #1  Five weeks to go

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