The People: Cycles: Self

11 07 2010

Julia A. Crawford

Transformation is an ongoing process of constant change. The medium of dance lends itself to depict this ongoing change, as it is an unraveling or series of images in motion. Transformation is not static just as dance is not. H. Kreitler and S. Kreitler describe this in Psychology of the Arts, “No form traced by a moving dancer is an absolute discrete event like a form in stone or canvas, for in dance, forms are momentary crystallizations of potentialities” (p. 177). The text goes on to explain, “…forms in dancing are not only becoming rather then being, but are a knot of various paths of becoming, momentarily integrated, before they burst out as concretizations” (Kreitler & Kreitler, p. 177). This piece depicts the simultaneous layers of paths of becoming that take place in transformation.

The overarching qualities of movement represent the three stages of the Arts in Redemptive Transformation Model in J. Nathan Corbitt and Vivian Nix-Early’s, Taking it to the Streets: using the Arts to transform your Community (p. 63). Stage one: Critical Awareness is represented by the tension in the body. The stature is low and achy. As the limbs begin to reach out and submit, there is an acknowledgement of needing change. As the body becomes more open and pieces of the exterior begin to unravel a desire to move forward takes place. As the body begins to move more open, it fights returning to the beginning tension, changing back and forth. The competing qualities represent stage two: Working Out. As the body arrives to a new even flow state, as if moving through liquid, it represents, stage three: Celebration. The body then returns to tension. This return to tension signifies the spiral nature of the transformation process, “Each new state then becomes the current state, and the process begins again in a progressive spiral of transformation” (Corbitt & Nix-Early, p. 24).

The underlying layer depicted in this piece is what I envision as a series of mini spirals at work over the one large spiral depicted in the A.R.T. Model (Corbitt & Nix-Early, p. 63). Corbitt and Nix-Early describe personal empowerment and responsibility as one of the level’s of holistic transformation (p. 24). This personal empowerment or individual transformation requires constant renewal of commitment throughout the larger community transformation process. In this piece, the smaller movements existing within the larger overarching movement qualities depict the back and forth that takes place in the inner workings of individuals as they commit to new life.

The movement shows the constant struggle of an individual trying to let go of old ways of living in order to move forward in a hopeful future. This is a hard process because the old way is predictable regardless of how unfulfilling. There is a constant pull to the old way even with a vision for new hope and a future less burdened. When an individual approaches life in a new way, it is often hard to live this outwardly without support from peers. When encouragement and support takes place, it allows individuals to see past their own strife and realize the need for community. Even after goals are accomplished, there is still struggle within an individual and within communities because of human nature. It is more than a challenge to not fall into the temptation of living in the old way, a way that often seems easier even after a new hope has been established. Sometimes living ‘the good life’ requires more work then remaining in the old state. The details in the movement express the challenges individuals in communities experience with the constant spirals of new hope, giving up, and renewing hope again to move forward. The piece ends with the body walking to the future, this represents momentary triumph in the challenge of an individual’s spiral of transformation.

Corbitt, J. N. & Nix-Early, V. Taking it to the Streets. Baker Books, 2003.
Kreitler, H. & Kreitler, S. Psychology of the Arts. Duke University Press, 1972.




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