“The Space Between,” a new choreography produced by the ITDP, aims to explore the meaning of the space between people. The choreography is performed by Rosemary Hannon, Brandon Gonzalez and Megan Ransmeier. MUSE spoke with Gonzalez, a Master of Fine Art candidate who also conceptualized “The Space Between.”
MUSE: What is your choreography about?
GONZALEZ: It’s called “The Space Between,” and it’s an exploration of that space between people, between dancers and between the audience. We’re questioning and exploring what exists in that space. It’s about 30 to 40 minutes, but since it’s an improvised movement piece, the length might vary a little bit. We’re working with improvised structures, so some ideas of what we’re doing will be set but there will be sections where the performers are creating the movement in the moment.
What inspired you to come up with this choreography?
I became interested in the contact that we make when we’re not in physical contact, and how we communicate and understand the people around us not only through touch but through space as well. My major influence was contact improvisation, which I’ve done a lot of before. It’s a form that was founded by a number of people, namely Steve Paxton in the early 1970s. It’s hard to describe. It’s an exploration of movement and physical touch, a kind of wobbling in contact with other bodies. It’s an influence of martial arts mixed with modern dance, becoming an expressive physical form. Out of that way of thinking, I’m expanding that way of being in contact and communicating with other bodies — deep listening developed internally and externally. The movement choices and compositional choices are based on that listening.
How did your collaborators influence the project?
Because we’re doing improvisational work, there’s a kind of sharing of authorship that happens between the choreographer and the performer. It’s going to be a back and forth between me proposing ideas and providing scores and material and the dancers taking it into their own exploration and coming up with new material. It’s a conversation rather than a straight dictation.
Why did you return to school to get your MFA?
I wanted a dedicated space to develop my artistic work while being in a situation where I had access to resources like theater space and other artists to collaborate with. I think being an artist in the U.S. is challenging because there isn’t a lot of financial support, so for me it was a way to find that support I was looking for as well as a way for me to deepen into my interests and connect with other thinkers in other fields who I feel influence and inspire my interests. I’m also interested in teaching, so that’s another thing an MFA allows you to do.
People who don’t normally go to a movement production should know that there’s a kind of specificity in the compositions that we’re creating, but there’s also an abstractness and openness where we’re really wanting to bring people into the present moment with us. We’re not dictating a linear narrative, so we just would like people to come with that open sense of attention.
“The Space Between” will be performed in the Arena Theater in 112 Wright Hall on Feb. 22 at 8 p.m. and Feb. 23 at 6 p.m. Admission will be free.