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"Breathing at the Boundaries" Dec 29 - Jan 6

December 29, 2020 – January 6, 2021


Our journey to this event has been full of curious and challenging navigations – both online and throughout the city – with lessons learned at every turn.​​

We began work in February on our next major work, Global Moves, but quickly halted rehearsals when the nation began to grapple with COVID. As the days became weeks and shelter-in-place orders extended, it became clear that we would need to find a new model for creative work.

Zoom became our primary tool, but as many have discovered, it removes intimacy and the collaborative chemistry so necessary to making work. The dancers were making wonderful movement and bringing forward great ideas with incredible commitment to the process, but I felt a kind of remove. It was hard to engage in the subtleties with which I usually interact while making work – the ability to read the room, to encourage the next steps, and bring or allow the outside world and its myriad complexities and provocations into the process.

We needed to find a way to overcome these obstacles, so I asked the dancers if I came with a mask and thermometer and COVID protocols in place, might they feel ok working one-on-one? To my delight they said yes. Each had a different place that would work for them – so off I went with computer, sound system, tripods, and video equipment – to one-on-one rehearsals on people’s decks, patios, our office, and Paul Dresher’s large studio in Oakland. *

The concepts driving Global Moves have anchored us throughout the process, though we quickly realized this new way of working was its own explorative path. Despite using Zoom less often, video continued to play an important role in rehearsals as the dancers shared solos with each other, prompting new movement relationships and dynamics between the dancer and the recorded image. And our international collaborators shared ​​their video responses to prompts about the various pandemics affecting them, both political and COVID.

In the midst of this process, we received an incredible “resilience” donation from the Bernard Osher Foundation. Their support allowed us to explore this tangent of Global Moves, and to construct something to share with our community in November. A work being constructed in multiple venues, inside and out, with dancers projected and performing live, broadcast from the Paul Dresher Ensemble Studio.

This is an unprecedented time, yet here we are. At once confined in place yet hurtling towards an unknowable future, awaiting embrace! This new filmic/live streaming event – with dancers isolated and in touch, present and remote – together we are sharing the moment, if not the room. Here we are in the stream, live streaming, living form within the limits imposed by the moment.

Music is filling the air, words fly up and out along with limbs and hands, movement is everywhere. Live music by Paul Dresher and Joel Davel, image-construct and visuals by Alexander V. Nichols, words by Rinde Eckert (appearing live) and Michael Palmer, movement by the MJDC dancer/collaborators. All breathing at the boundaries, even if not always together.​​

© 2020 Margaret Jenkins Dance Company