Everyone’s favorite thing about composition class is that it is where they can showcase their talents. They can show off how they look best moving, and can make movement they deem makes them a creative individual with their own artistic voice. It is intimate, satisfying, and by the end of the semester, it is repetitive. Spring boarding off the concept of an “ugly study”, for our final in Composition 1, our professor Daniel Roberts instructed us to chose three of our movement tendencies and make a study showcasing their opposites. After spending a decent amount of the semester being prompted to contemplate what constitutes “ugly” movement, most came to the conclusion that “ugly” movement is undefinable. However, this was an inadvertent way to prompt us to all make unfiltered, uncontrived, “ugly” movement. No one is comfortable in the opposites of their tendencies, and after a semester of watching people in their tendencies, no one is comfortable being the audience of this spectacle, either.
After sitting in a circle and having our peers help us figure out our tendencies, I resolved to work in opposition to my tendencies of having an internal focus, using pedestrian arm and hand gestures, and being sarcastic in my movements and concepts. To do so, I projected my focus outward and onto my partner with open bodied movement, used leg and feet gestures as opposed to using my upper appendicular, and made a genuine connection with my partner rather than making a mockery of the study itself (which I tend to do).
As mentioned before, we were instructed combine our initial works in progresses with a partner selected by Daniel Roberts. I was lucky enough to be paired with my already close friend, Jordan McDowell. Her tendencies included uses of strong initiation with an ensuing release, use of second position plié, and “floppy floor work”. To oppose these, Jordan employed constant movement dynamics with a scanning focus, use of first position parallel relevé, and held upward movements including jumps.
As we were already so close, it was no struggle for me to employ a genuine movement quality in our partnering. Her scanning focus also paired wonderfully with my external focus. With these two strong connections, the rest of our movement seemed to fall into place and before we knew it our individual one minute studies smoothly amalgamated into one three minute duet.
With this conclusion to Composition 1 course, I would like to reflect that for someone who has always been interested in generating my own movement, this course has been hugely beneficial. I’ve saw my movement vocabulary broaden while my judgment lessened. I gained a willingness to play and experiment without concern of my outward perception. And while I often felt myself struggle in this class be it emotionally or physically, I am certainly better because of it, just like I am with every other experience I’ve had in the past 8 months.