• CNgai

ACDA: The Art of Moving

Intention: I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the lovely experience that I had of presenting my solo, Do You Feel Empowered?, at the ACDA (American College Dance Association) West regional conference that took place on February 28-March 2, 2019 at San Jose State University in San Jose, California.

How did I end up at the 2019 ACDA West Conference?

In November 2018, I decided to take a risk and submit a work-in-progress solo in ASU Fall 2018 Informals Concert. I wanted to start the ball rolling for generating a solo to enter into the ASU Spring 2019 Undergrad Dance Show. Little did I know that this solo would be nominated by the ASU Dance Faculty to be presented in one of the ACDA 2019 Informals Concerts in San Jose!


Dance Theatre - SPX 216

The Performance Process

On Thursday, Feb 28, the day of the performance, there was an optional Informal Rehearsal before the Informals Concert. I attended this rehearsal as it is important to gain a better kinesthetic sense of the Dance Theatre space, which was where the concert was being held. I truly enjoyed moving in this space as the view was absolutely beautiful.

Immersion of Choice

During that rehearsal, we had the opportunity to choose whether we wanted the sound and lights to start simultaneously, one before the other, or whether we would have liked warm or cool lighting. I usually have a lighting designer so this was a moment where I had to draw from my past lighting experience that I had gained from my Honors Thesis piece, Immersion of Choice. Fun fact: this piece was the face of the ACDA West Conference 2018!


Choreographers' Panel

Informals Q&A Session

What was the seed behind the concept?

With my current usage of social media, I found myself automatically going to Facebook and Instagram and then mindlessly scrolling through content. I felt very passive and wanted a change. I thought: "If I’m not using my own voice, then whose voice am I using?" With the goal to be more proactive, I created the music and added in my own voice with the hope that this will empower others as well to make a change that they've been wanting to make in their own lives.


Where are you in your progress?

This piece is in the stage of refinement. In terms of a timeline, I have performed the raw version (2 mins) at ASU Fall 2018 Informals and the evolved version (3 mins) at Phoenix Arts Museum, Tempe Center for the Arts, and now ACDA Informals. Currently, I am in the process of taking this concept and morphing it into “Mental Footprint” which will be premiered in ASU Spring Undergraduate Dance Project Presentations concert happening March 28 and 29, 2019.

What influenced the music?

Since my last piece “Confidence in Architexture,” I’ve wanted to continue experimenting with the Maschine Mikro MK2. I also wanted to add in a spoken word. I first thought of having the text being spoken by an automated voice but then I decided to push myself and actually put in my own voice. With the ability to splice the sound wav, I ended up creating a beat track with my vocals, which was a great achievement.  (Soundtrack)


What was the idea behind the costume?

For the past couple of years, I’ve been fascinated by the avant-garde fashion and wanted a top that looked like the fabric was just draped over my body. I started searching for black avant-garde hoodies but they had a "dementor" vibe which was definitely not the intention of the piece. I kept searching and found the Celestial Body Shop from the Ukraine on Etsy that sold a white asymmetrical Avant-garde deconstructed jacket - it was perfect!

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library

What is your creative process like?

I'm all about experimentation with movement and improvisation. Because every day, you're rediscovering small iotas of your movement which allow you the opportunity to remain curious and make new discoveries. In fact, I actually did an improvisation at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library on the San Jose State University campus! I experimented with how the short distance between the book shelves and the space between the floor and the ceiling affect my movement choices.


Who has been the most influential to you in your choreographic process?

Without a doubt, Peter Chu has been the most influential to my choreographic process with his attention to biomechanics and anatomy for movement initiation. I had the opportunity to work with him for a few years and observe his choreographic process. While he teaches his choreography, he connects how each bone in the body correlates to movement along the sagittal, frontal, and transverse planes. With my background of Computer Science and knowledge of anatomy, I appreciate his analytical approach to movement and have incorporated his approaches into my own creative process.


ASU Undergraduate and Graduate Dancers

Reflection Wrap-Up

Thank you, ASU!

Upon reflection of this experience, it is an honor to have my choreographic work be nominated by the ASU Dance Faculty as well as be able to represent ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts: School of Film, Dance and Theatre as a Dance minor. I also couldn't have performed without the support of this professional group of ASU dancers. These movers presented their pieces in the Adjudication Concerts as well as the Gala Concert.


The experience of a lifetime!

I had an enjoyable time taking numerous dance classes from various college faculty and connecting with other movers from colleges within the West region such as Scottsdale Community College, Humboldt State University, Grand Canyon University, Sonoma State University, and San Jose State University. It was so much fun to see familiar friends that I made at ACDA last year while also make new friends at ACDA this year!

© 2020 by CNgai.

Website made by Courtney Ngai

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