Review/reflection- "existing" at 2019 RAD Fest

I was thrilled to be invited back to the Midwest Regional Alternative Dance Festival (colloquially as RAD Fest) to perform my second-hand solo, existing, for the vibrant and generous attendees (both local and international) this March. I call existing second hand in the most loving of ways, since it a solo re-imagination of my full length work, Unbound, We Howl. I have previously presented my improvised documentary short, Box Car Kids, in the 2013 RAD Fest but did not have the pleasure of attending that year. I found the attendees and fellow performers engaging and the local community welcoming and warm- what a lovely little mid-winter artistic reprieve.

After the festival, I was pleased to read the experiences and review of author Marin Heinritz who coined the solo a “provocative interactive multi-media performance […]” which are all buzz words that rest sweetly in my choreographic mouth.

The words of Chicago based dance critic and writer Lauren Warnecke struck me most humbly, offering half of her review on the Friday night show to my experiment in self-care, self-stress, self-revolt, and self-spectacle. Warnecke writes:

“Existing” is a jumble of unfocused ideas, but I think that’s the point. After all, the nouveau Women’s Movement is an intertwining of intersectional, often disparate political ideals and world views. Some might feel, because of this, it’s a political movement destined to failure, but like “Existing,” the intention is for women to cut through the noise, and to take and hold space – and that’s worth finding a chair from which you can see it.

Creatively, I often find myself at a cross roads, desiring curated chaos to mirror the world I live in, as to positively (is this possible?) overwhelm the people who view my work. I’m so personally tired of seeing dance that tows the line, which is usually painfully heteronormative and valuing inequitable training methods, that my desire to upend is strong. I understand, especially when it comes to immersive and interactive spaces, that can alienate some audiences- but have I not been alienated with the hegemony my whole life? Anyways- you are correct, Lauren, it was the point- and I thank you for your generous and unexpected words surrounding this piece. existing was my first solo work in many years and after sitting comfortably in the artistic directors chair and asking others to be vulnerable for so long, it was about time I was vulnerable as well.

Find the full review by author and dance critic Lauren Warnecke here.

View the performance of existing at the 2019 Rad Fest here.