Act 5: A Pensive Plea for Permission

Investigating “practice”

Choreography by: Aysha Upchurch

Performance by: Emily Oleson and Abisola Kusimo

Text by: Aysha Upchurch, Abisola Kusimo, Emily Oleson

Music performance: The New Band

Music composition: “Far South Reel” from Converse’s Analytical Banjo Method (1886.)

For this piece I got to work with the fabulous Aysha Upchurch – one of the best things about doing this thesis concert was getting to spend more time with some of my favorite teachers.

Who can give you permission to do hard things?

When is it ok for you to practice?

Can you practice on stage?

Why am I doing this?

What is getting in the way of me going for it?

What am I afraid of?

Is there the potential to do harm?

Can you practice in solidarity with someone?  even if you are different?

Can dancing be a form of listening, or must it be a form of expression?

I also got to work with the amazing poet Abisola Kusimo, who I had seen at an “Open Showing” sponsored by the Dance program last Spring.  Abisola is an engineering major and a Slam poet, and I am so grateful that she could take time from her busy schedule to be part of this project!  It was a fascinating and education experience to work with her, and Abisola inspires me as a performer and an artist.  Our collaboration was definitely a process, we started trying to write a poem together, but in the end, we just improvised our dialogue, which felt much more real and powerful to both of us.

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