Stories from Quarantine: Valerie Green, Dance Entropy

13 Jan

Guest Blog by Valerie Green, Executive/Artistic Director  

For Valerie Green/Dance Entropy 2020 started with wonderful performance opportunities alongside local NYC festivals, many exciting plans to expand our NYC educational programs, and a full scheduled tour of our growing project entitled Home. As the year continued forward, what we did not expect was a vivid realization of what home meant for us.

Home, a collaboration with choreographers from Colombia, India, Lebanon, Sweden, and Burkina Faso, began in 2019, examining issues of identity, human migration, dislocation, and the search for a sense of home shared by all cultures. This ambitious project came to a halt along with the rest of the world and would inevitably shape this project and its new-found meaning.  However, this past December we were able to forge ahead resuming an in-person Phase 4 of the project at Green Space with Souleymane Badalo, complete with a hybrid performance! We hope to continue to pull the project into a completion by the end of 2022.

In finding new ways to adapt, a film project was initiated – “Time Capsule: A Physical Documentary.” Eight solos physically trace emotional experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic, woven together with a score of vocal reflections and incidental sound from the diverse sampling of New York City landscapes in which each dancer was filmed. A dynamic interplay of beauty, strength, and resilience, “Time Capsule” is a testament to the faith we have in our city, its vast infrastructure, the delicate spirits that inhabit it, and the tender terrains we all hold within.

The video project also spun off an all-male trio man/Mother, the compelling work, featuring a thick branch, suspended down stage center, makes its way into each of the three physical trails. Both an obstacle and a comfort, it confronts us with hard truths that demand reflection and action. Why would mother nature create such an affliction? What have we done as humans to contribute to bringing it into being? How can we mend our fragmented relationship with that which made us?

This continued theme of being at home continued to spark inspiration for many of our now virtual programs that are offered. Our signature trauma workshop series, Skimming the Surface, provides free workshops and performances to halfway houses, women’s shelters, substance abuse rehabilitation facilities, and other organizations supporting trauma victims. During this crisis, we opened up a virtual workshop to our surrounding community and to those all over the world. This workshop has continued to be a space for safety and healing. This also spear headed the transition to working online with local senior citizens, school residency’s and our annual summer intensive. This allowed for a more direct reach and participation that provided an outlet for movement, community and engagement during the quarantine.

As we think back on all the wonderful gifts and obstacles we faced this year, we find ourselves very thankful as we continue to remain present in our community while at a distance. Dance Entropy will continue to develop our mission as we grow and learn together to build a better world.

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