Movement Contextualized in the Work of Sylvia Plath

 

As an artist I am heavily influenced by my passions for literature and history. Pretentious as it may be, it’s been a driving force in most of my choreographic work. As I packed my suitcases and bought apartment supplies to head back to my third semester of college, I received a text message from an old instructor asking me to take part in a gallery work she was performing based on Sylvia Plath’s Lady Lazarus and a painting by Tania Sen at the Art Moves festival in New Brunswick, New Jersey. I instantly understood the correlation as I made solo work based on Plath’s poetry when I was 17 (videos of which somehow vanished from the world).

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Excerpt of Lady Lazarus by Sylvia Plath that inspired my contribution to Lauren Connolly’s piece

I was scheduled to return to school a day before the performance, but my passion for the concept of the work and the synthesis of various art forms was not a project I could say no to. So, delaying my return and missing a few relaxed days before the madness of the semester began, I readied myself to work. I set movement conceptually based on a stanza of Lady Lazarus, and days later jumped into a project I knew very little about besides the fact that I was excited.

 

The professional experience was invaluable. I loved being able to immerse myself in a community of artists that was outside of the community at Ohio State that I became so used to after a year of studying here. I also truly loved the intimate setting and, as per usual of my tastes, the intense exposure to art that is both local and universally relevant. The intimacy also provided me with an opportunity to reconnect or meet for the first time artists from my home community around Rutgers Mason Gross School of the Arts. It was a fabulously rewarding experience and a great send off to what is sure to be an equally blind but rewarding endeavor.

 

For better or for worse it also reconnected me with my love for the intensity and intimacy of Sylvia Plath’s poetry, and by extension has lent to me reading more for leisure (something I had been working hard on doing over the summer). While not necessarily beneficial for one’s sanity, reading Plath ha definitely benefited my academic brain. Paired with my more cerebral classes of this semester I am again finding my love for academia and cannot wait to see where it takes me.

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Painting by Tanya Sen that inspired Lauren Connolly’s work

With Plath’s poetry at the forefront of my brain, it effected my response to my very first study in Composition II with Susan Hadley. We were instructed to make a phrase that travelled across the floor, with each action being assigned a sound effect. While the movement came easily, I tried but failed to innovate arbitrary sound effects. Haphazardly, twenty minutes before the assignment was due, in a frenzy to complete the second half of this impression-building assignment, I decided to reorient my movement to the stanza from Lady Lazarus. It was well received and as we toyed with the phrasing and combined people’s studies throughout the two-hour class, mine was well received. While I don’t have videography of the movement, I have documentation of the way I was directed to combine it with Cole Henry-Jones.

I truly respect art as an interdisciplinary and academic form of study, and I have found that to be my niche as a choreographer. Immersing myself in that at the onset of the start of my second year is a promising way to continue this BFA journey and I cannot wait to see where it takes me for the next few months and more importantly, for the next 3 years.

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