Monday, October 23, 2017


So many ways to think about this word. I really like this word. Hell, I've named my next show with this word. It's gotten me considering several things, all as a slew together: the subtle ways the weather shifts, the open-minded ways I approach a lot in my choreographic process (unexpected for me, looking in on it), the cools of the tap dancers I saw on Friday night - their chills were also their cools.

Parallels between chill and cool. Cool down. Chill out. In writing these things, my immediate thought was that these sayings are responses to people being "too emotional" or "too fired up." "Too" something. This connotation is somewhat of a bummer to me - I've long been someone who has prided herself on not being afraid to show an emotion or an opinion, and I think there is a valuable place in the self for willingness to react. That said, this observance of self has been shifting: as I continue to embrace the idea that personal identity is ever-changing, I'm thinking of myself as more and more even-keeled, open and interested in considering the grey matter (thanks Kris :) than I've been in the past. Bumped up against my feeling seen as "too cool and collected, needing to let vulnerability burst out" in grad school AND still as hot-headed at times among friends and family who have known me for a long time makes the influence of the perception of others a confusing contribution to self-perception.

Perhaps this is why I feel so surprised when I am so chill about so many things when I am creating: where the arms go, expression at this part . . . That said, there are things I am NOT chill about at all: rhythm in the feet, facings . . . This realization feels sort of like an artistic metaphor for the idea that we are not bound to one side of our Rubix Cube of personality. In actuality, its components are always shifting and creating new options because life is like that - it's a constant state of flux with many options for reaction. How short are we selling ourselves and others when we believe that our sides (choices, ideas, potentials for reaction) are fixed? 

I have to admit that given it's contrast to definite-opinion, always-highly-specific Erinn (ex: rhythmic footwork), chill Erinn's approaches (ex: letting the upper body experience the rhythm in the lower body in a way that feels good and shows individuality) when making art are very exciting! It's just been interesting to realize this contrast and consider how it affects me not only personally, but professionally.

Watching the dancers in the Twin Cities Tap Festival showcase performance continued this loop on chill that I've been considering for the last couple months. Again, part of what drew/ draws me in is the emphasis put on sharing tools (tap shoes, particular rhythms, facings) but using them in entirely different ways according to individual approach (composition of groove in the body, the way it manifests, differences in dynamic). This is the stuff that makes vernacular dance so appealing to me: sharing tools to build community that encourages space for individuality within in it. I felt so inspired to get my tap shoes on, and hope I make good on that on 11/5 by attending Kallie's company's first class!

To close out: that chill in the air. It's a subtlety that causes both minor shifts, like in layers of clothing, and major change, like the setting off of a thunderstorm. Nature's perfect way of encapsulating the idea that maybe such extremes can and do live in harmony with one another, not only in the weather, but in us as well.

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