Annie-B Parson’s journal, March 7, 2008.
Annie-B Parson’s journal, March 21, 2008.
For six months I was given an office, my first and only, at a center for ballet research. I think you act and move differently in new architectures, and I spent those months constructing what an office meant to my day, to my body, to my work. It seemed to me that if I had my own office with a closed door and a desk, I should do solo time-based seated activities in silence. So, in the morning I would write a to-do list, distilling the day into a structural event in three parts. Then, I would do daily drawings inspired by a fragment from a tenth-century list of clothing and objects that I had found in an old bookstore near my office. This list inspired me to make lists of other things. In the afternoon, I would sometimes invite young choreographers into my office for tea. We would sit, the desk determining our proximity, the chairs determining that we faced each other essentially in stillness. At the end of the day, I would draw this reiterative dailyness into the form of a diary. When I had studio space, I would bring these diary pages into rehearsal and use them as dance scores. On March 21, the diary generated ideas about verbs, erasure, the structure of lists, the placement of bodies in architecture, and the odd shapes of fruit, boots, and aprons. On March 7, I just sat at my desk unable to do anything at all. It seems it was a day of sadness, confusion, and a giant snowstorm, and the formal ideas I generated from this diary entry were about retrograde, breakage, stillness, and error. Dancing is living.
Annie-B Parson is a choreographer and co-founder of the OBIE and Bessie Award–winning Big Dance Theater. Ms. Parson has created choreography for opera, pop stars, marching bands, television, theater, ballet, symphonies, objects, museums, augmented reality, and a thousand amateur singers. Among others, she has choreographed for David Byrne, St. Vincent, David Bowie, Lorde, Laurie Anderson, Esperanza Spalding, and Mikhail Baryshnikov. Her book, The Choreography of Everyday Life, will be published by Verso in October.
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