Tara McGowan-Ross (she/her) | Summer Love-In Online Festival
Creative Writing for Dancers pt 1-3
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Location: On Zoom
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ABOUT THE SESSIONS
pt 1: DANCE IS POETRY IN ANOTHER LANGUAGE
My composer friend speaks English well—he has a philosophy degree, he can put an argument together, but he’d rather speak in music and I think music is his mother tongue. I learned as much about writing from my dancer friends and the music I love as from my English professors. The methodologies of poetry are fundamentally translatable.
This workshop is based around the idea that movement language and written or spoken language are mutually intelligible and translatable: we will discuss the way text can inspire movement and vice versa, and feel out both the theory and the magic that makes these two mediums so adaptable to one another.
What can poetry teach us about our practice? How can it expand our practice? How can it help us talk about our practice? What can dance teach us about writing?
pt 2: THE GENERATIVE POWER OF CONSTRAINT IN POETRY AND DANCE
Nobody understands the power of constraint in art better than dancers—it’s a medium that thrives in a landscape of rigorous training, repetition and tradition—as well as the rebellion that those structures inspire. Poetry has parallel constraint structures, in both form and content: the rigorous one-two of iambic pentameter, the elaborate rhyming structures of the sonnet or the villanelle, and so on.
This workshop is organized around principles of constraint, an ongoing on-again-off-again love affair in Tara’s writing practice. It will explore specifically the intensely generative nature of constraint—how, once we fall in love with constraint, we will never be without material, or new avenues to expand our practice.
How can we use constraint to make art in our surroundings even when we’re not inspired? How do we know when it’s time to push constraint, or abandon it completely?
pt 3: INTIMACY STUDIES
Philosopher Jurgen Habermas once suggested that language limits as it opens—that the process of converting a thought to the constraints of language imposed an almost violent limitation on that thought, even as it was in the process of disclosing information. Minor shifts in writing mean that the words either move uncomfortably close to the truth or so far away from it turns into fiction. Writing is at once deeply intimate. Dancing discloses human truths using movement language—at once an intimate expression of bodied experience, and an alternative to expressing ourselves with words.
This workshop centres around the theme of intimacy—withholding it, indulging in it, and manufacturing an authentic experience of it in order to connect with your audience. We will talk about accessing intimacy, breaking through limits to intimacy, as well as creative boundaries and how to generate a bond with an audience without giving ourselves away.
What does our spoken language and our movement language have in common? What do we lose by making them more specific, more ambiguous? What do we gain? How can we access genuine intimacy with our audience while we’re imposing limits on our process, or our expression?
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Tara McGowan-Ross is an urban Mi'kmaq multidisciplinary artist and writer. She is the author of the poetry collections GIRTH and SCORPION SEASON. Her nonfiction debut, NOTHING WILL BE DIFFERENT is forthcoming this fall from Dundurn's Rare Machines imprint.
Photo Credit: Camellia Jahanshahi
Image description: Tara sits just left of the image wearing a dusty rose tank top, a sweater just off the shoulders, and a buzz hair style. Tara is infront of a translucent fabric with a dusty rose pattern.