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“Orbitals” performed by the Washington Rock Youth Modern Company February 2015
Dancers: Deja Baret,Natalie Farrell, Maya Jordan, Alexa Mistichelli, Sophia Perone, Sophie Shapiro, Chantal Taluba, Marissa Weinerman
This piece was a part of an informal student concert entirely performed, choreographed and produced by the students themselves. As a senior I was given the task of creating a group work. I explored the concept of gravity and orbits but rather than being with celestial bodies, I utilized human bodies. I was only granted a short period of time to create this work so I had little time to truly develop what the work meant to me. I was always taught to believe that the artist is at mercy to their work and that a certain point the work dictates its purpose independent of the artist’s desires. In this work, however, I had the opportunity to experiment with working on a piece and have it ready to be performed within a month.
In my short time working on this, I did find myself to be playing with how gravity effected bodies that have control over their movement and relationship to gravity. Clearly this greatly differs from celestial bodies who’s movement is completely dependent on gravitational pull. At the same time, the imperfections in the human form which make it difficult to allow gravity to work as though in a perfect vacuum are similar to imperfections that exist on celestial bodies such as craters.
As I am writing this almost a year later, I happen to be concurrently studying astronomy in college. In short, we learned that despite the fact that in a perfect universe matter would orbit in perfect circles around whatever larger body they are orbiting, Kepler discovered that they rather orbit in ellipticals.
We also learned that in fact both bodies are technically orbiting around each other, and are not simply one body circling an anchor point. I think that even though I didn’t have this knowledge a year ago, I subconsciously depicted this fact in my choreography. I may or may not be overanalyzing, but I think certain universal facts are inherently understood in all humans whether they know they do or not. Perhaps the concept of orbiting is so universally present in everything it is impossible for intelligent or even unintelligent life to on some level understand it to be true. This can be proven by the fact that before humans really understood science, they understood that when the sun was in one place they woke up and when it moved to the opposite place they went to sleep. Circles in the universe are the basis of literally everything and therefore it is impossible to not, at least on some level, understand them.
Thank you to Cleo Mack and Blair Ritchie for overseeing this process and providing me with constructive criticism.