Dancer and recent SMU alum Kelsey Rohr writes about the creation of Joshua L. Peugh’s Aimless Young Man
As we get ready to present our first free, interactive, behind-the-scenes program this Saturday called DCCD Undressed, I have never felt so naked—emotionally, of course. Besides the typical feelings of aimlessness associated with my recent alumnae status, I am also involved in the creation of Josh’s new work titled Aimless Young Man.
We are in the studio six days a week working. But, this work feels different from any other of Josh’s creation processes. This one has a very specific story where I am required to play more than just the role of dancer. Especially in Josh’s work, sharing a story through dance comes naturally, but when the story is about martyrdom in the 21st century I must dig a little bit deeper. So, from five to ten o'clock, I am not just a dancer but also a researcher, an investigator. On our breaks, and as a group, we excavate information, uncovering images and articles that might help us communicate this story.
We work with a heightened level of sensitivity because the material that we collect requires it. We record our emotional reactions to images of torn and battered bodies and try to rely those reactions through movement. Just last rehearsal, we watched a video of a mourning ritual where the mourners repeatedly beat on their chests. As we tried to copy their movement, we questioned: how does this make me feel? How can I communicate this feeling to the audience? And in most instances, the movement material that Josh creates for this piece makes me feel naked, undressed, and vulnerable.
And, as I take on this new journey in my life post-graduation, I remain open to these vulnerable experiences. I look forward to the Undressed performance where I can wonder around aimlessly some more exposing myself, the creation process, and the world around me but this time, in front of an audience.
DCCD Undressed | Saturday, May 23 | Preston Center Dance | 2PM
Aimless Young Man | World Premiere | October 9-11 | Erma Lowe Hall, Studio Theatre