My work centers around listening, structure, and common ground. After more than 35 years in the practice of tap dance, these three ideas are at the core of my work. Listening comes in many forms. Listening, for rhythms, ideas, words, emotions, stories, a vision. Listening to bodies of dancers (including my own), my imagination, and the sounds I make while dancing – the feedback loop. Listening for the purpose of a particular step – how what I do is meant to change the experience of a space, for myself and others. In all my practice listening comes first.
Structure is next. Musical, physical, narrative, emotional, mental, spiritual – there are many places in which structure is built for the particular purpose. I take great interest in structure as frameworks tend to dictate outcomes. If I frame what I’m making in a particular way, there are only so many results that are possible. The structure is key.
Lastly, common ground. Improvisational tap dance can be a highly individualistic pursuit. That doesn’t interest me as much as the craft being used to bring people together. What does it look like to make things that bring people together? That speak of our common experiences while honoring our differences? As tap dance is born out of the messiness of the founding of the United States, it might have the power to serve as a vehicle to heal some of the wounds as well.