WITCH DANCE: A SPASMODIC DANCE
Lately I’ve been choreographing spasmodic dances and simultaneously drafting critical writings. In some cases the writings are a score, a set of generative summonses, in other cases the writings act as documentation, also, the writings are the “feral ulterior”: (J/J Hastain) corporeal ideation transitioning within the ecologies of meanings. Forthcoming gesticulations are compelled by psychophysical responses to palpable histories and experiential data that leave residual marks for the expressive body to transform. These dances engage the animal-human body and the animal-human spirit in tandem. The body syntax for these dances is generated by language that arises out of the body but is also exchanged as an exterior social reality that the body meets frontally. Concepts dissolve into movement. There’s a visceral circulatory system that channels ideation into gesture and back again. A motivation I have is to directly correspond with eco-social reality in a way that infuses temporal-spatial coordinates with meanings.
This summer I danced in the outside, spasmodically relating my body in zone-oriented dances around the themes of heroines, invisible toxic waste in the landscape (cellular/body), and the contested spatial term, “the wild” in my struggling, economically depressed hometown, North Adams, Massachusetts. I returned a month after working intensely on this grouping of dances with a divergent but connected engagement: to understand the tag “witch” as she is currently perceived socially and how these perceptions impact bodies. This began as a nonchalant, informal question, but quickly became urgent and inflected with an underlying discomfort after I spent time with Silvia Federici’s book,
Caliban and the Witch and Arthur C. Evans’ Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture. Both books describe in vivid detail how women’s bodies were conscripted into a capitalist system with the distinct goal of defining bodies into disciplined working tools stripped of their spiritual and magical abilities and deep local knowledge. This led the way for the waves of mass slaughter of women that took place to eradicate knowledge bases that dealt with reproduction, health, holism, herbalism, and other environmental connections.