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Over the course of my creative career, I have found that mindfulness is a particularly attractive concept for research. This approach in dance and art-making has not only affected my movement, but it has also affected my cognitive processes, my creative processes, and the purpose of my art. Mindfulness is a surprisingly powerful tool to strike deep at the “why” in how people think and move. This internal journey and incorporation of heightened awareness, presence, and attention through the avenue of movement is what I’m interested in exploring. I am also interested in how mindfulness in the creative process differs from mindfulness in performance, and if that difference is needed.

I have found through my mindfulness practices that there is a vast reservoir of unknown, conflict, trauma, and subconscious that is influential, no matter how consciously, in everyone’s life. In particular, there are four concepts that have been influential in my art: growing up queer in a conservative religious community, morality being a spectrum of gray as opposed to black and white, the idea that not everyone is inherently good or has your best interest in mind, and that I can live my life with vulnerability and without bitterness regardless of the aforementioned concepts.

Everybody have individual perceptions of the world around them that is unique and I intend to reflect that in my work. Perceptions of the behavior of society, various personal philosophies, and the experience of human connection are some of the main focuses of my work, and they vary greatly among individuals.

In my art-making and research, I construct and facilitate a collaborative process with written stream of consciousness, verbal discourse, one-on-one discussion, movement exploration, and mindfulness grounding exercises to dive deep into the movement patterns and thought processes. I don’t believe that my own embodied movement is always the best or only way to create power. Collaboration is essential.

Additionally, dance for me is one way to explore the nuances in form, particularly influenced by ballet and bharatanatyam. Articulate hands and shoulders, a fluid torso, internal and external rotation of joints, facial expression, and the groundedness of a plié are among the nuances I enjoy exploring. We can explode with individuality within the lines and technical finesse that form provides.

Dance is a dialogue. Be vulnerable. Be patient. Listen.

Photo Credit: Kristalyn Gill Earley