One of the pleasures of aging is taking time to look at pictures from the past, those photographed high points of graduations, births and birthdays, parties and wedding, along with a plethora of other social gatherings, inform our lives and sometimes, remind us of forgotten friends. These images invariably include some of our eclectic clothing choices, with hairstyles to match, coinciding with that particular fashion moment in time. These “what was I thinking dressing like that” looks often provide plenty of self-deprecating laughter–at least they do for me.
A recent visual meandering down memory lane was prompted while rummaging through several boxes of photos–the non-digital kind that are crumpled and have curled edges–and looking for pictures to give to my niece for a project for work.
My initial task was simple–find some baby photos of Lindsey–yet it set in motion a dozen or more new projects because along with the delightful memories that were triggered by this experience, I am now scanning images to send to friends and family. Ultimately, this experience reminded me that, the place we start is rarely the same place we end up. So I had to ask myself, as I look at an image does time soften our perceptions of who we were, or the way we were? My response, yes, and that seems to be the beauty of the individual/collective experience, that memory is always being altered and shaped by what precedes.
This month, as every month, artists continue to present work that started out going in one direction, and through the creative process morphed into a different, and most likely deeper, more resonant, place for that artist. Attending a performance knowing that there has been an extensive journey by the creators, one that will most often never be finished, can provide the observer with a richer, more informed lens through which to view the creative topic of the moment. Maybe my role as an artistic consumer is not to decipher the artist’s intent but to bring my own creative, inquisitive and personal interests to the moment and therefore become an active participant–both passive and active collaborator–whenever I consume work.
Ultimately, we are all interested in going to a show to experience some form of change that might be understood as a catharsis, a diversion, a provocation, stimulation, and/or entertainment.
As you prepare to schedule time to see dance, take a moment to reflect on what you will bring to the event.
One group that is certainly looking back at their past, through photos and other media, is Dance Brigade, who is celebrating 35 years from the start of the Wallflower Order, to the rocking and radical collective we still love today. Join them at one of their free performances, and depending on where you enter into their history, I’ll bet your own journey has been impacted by their work.
Exploring the creative process is inherently a way to carve out unchartered areas, paths, and conceptual directions that inform a work of art, so that the unknown is revealed singularly and then, collectively.
Discover something new this month as you boldly explore our rich dance landscape, and you needn’t worry if you get lost; someone will be there to help you find your way.
— Wayne Hazzard, Executive Director
This article appeared in the November 2011 issue of In Dance.