Dance

In our everyday lives, we dwell so much in the mind. Dance can provide the comfort and freedom we crave.

The Present Moment

Dance exists forcefully and ruthlessly in the present moment, a silent yet intensely visceral expression. The whole nervous system is engaged by dance, yet it remains an abstract, ephemeral journey that begins and ends with movement. 

If the physicality of dance leaves any trace, it does not linger much in photographs or even videos, but rather in the sensory memories of the bodies of its participants and observers. 

Even just watching, dance lights up our mirror neurons. In this way, dance acts as an invisible thread connecting those who experience it. 

Social dance is perhaps the most elegant and efficient example of this shared network of sensory memories. Dancing bodies touch, improvise, and co-create through many years and generations, sustaining a common movement language and embodied culture.

To live a creative life, we must
lose our fear of being wrong.

JOSEPH CHILTON PIERCE

Tango social dance was my primary artistic practice for nearly twenty years, and my MFA degree, completed in 2014, focused on the question of how to represent the invisible, intimate connections between partners on the performance stage. During this time, I explored choreographic processes from postmodern dance, physical theater, and contemporary dramaturgy. I experimented with both words and images, soundscapes and silence.

The result was most often a surreal portrait of performers stumbling in and out of intimacy with themselves, each other, and the audience. In retrospect, my choreographic work very much reflected my emotional experience of the social dance communities I had spent so much time in. I still see them as safe havens and as acts of resistance against growing urban isolation.

Nowadays, I have come to see everyday human life as a kind of “dance.” The way we hold ourselves physically at home, at work, and in public space is both a reflection of the complex culture we are raised in and simultaneously a way of transforming that same culture into something else, if we so choose.

For Tango Dancers

If you are a tango dancer, please download my free 16-page Tango Study Guide. The study guide is based on my teaching framework of four essential skills areas:

VOCABULARY, CONNECTION, TECHNIQUE, & EXPRESSION

It will demystify the learning process and help you get the most out of your tango classes, practices, and private lessons. 

For Tango Dancers

If you are a tango dancer, please download my free 16-page Tango Study Guide. The study guide is based on my teaching framework of four essential skills areas:

VOCABULARY, CONNECTION, TECHNIQUE, & EXPRESSION

It will demystify the learning process and help you get the most out of your tango classes, practices, and private lessons. 

Patterns in the body influence thought and feeling every bit as much as the other way around. Dance is everywhere if you look for it.

AFTER HOURS (2014)

Inspired by the melancholy elegance of Buenos Aires tango clubs, After Hours offers a glimpse into the late-night lives of four quirky café employees. Created with the support of an incredible cast, crew, and design team as part of the MFA Upstarts series in the UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance in 2014. Original music by Jack Lipson.