Everything Moves – Katharine Hawthorne (SFCD Choreographic Residency Artist 2015)

Katharine Hawthorne and Erin Malley were selected as resident artists for SFCD’s inaugural Choreographic Residency. They have each contributed some thoughts about their experience. Read Katharine’s below and Erin’s HERE.

EVERYTHING MOVES – Katharine Hawthorne

I start from the premise that everything moves (in the words of Jacques Lecoq, “tout bouge”). Motion is a fundamental state shared by atoms, animals, cities, and galaxies. I’m curious about the ways in which the human body can channel different scales of motion to hint at the experience of things much smaller and larger than us. We understand the world around us through our own physical size, using the meter stick of our mind to constantly measure our surroundings. How can we be conduits to experience and understand things at a different scale?

atom to galaxy

I treat the dance studio as a laboratory and rehearsal as research. I set initial conditions by giving a movement prompt (such as make a small dance, or move as if you are magnetized towards/against the walls of the room), and define additional parameters over time. Dance helps us wake up to the information that is already all around us – to listen to the vibration of the floor, to feel the air moving across the surface of our skin. It can also help us position ourselves on the continuum of movement from the hum of atoms to the gravitational forces hurtling us through space. Can you imagine that you could become sensitive enough to detect the motion of a single atom? Or that you might be subject to the movement of a far away star? If you could perceive these things, how would it affect how you move?

The SFCD Choreographic Residency offered me the chance to experiment with different ways of generating and directing dance. Instead of starting with a strong idea of the themes of the project, I entered the studio with a handful of questions and a desire to let something grow and evolve. I started small, asking the dancers to make “microscope” dances inspired by images of everyday objects seen under a microscope. Things grew from there. We built underwater ecosystems, mapped mountains, explored the grid pattern of cities, and telescoped ourselves to distant galaxies. Watching the dancers discover and inhabit new movement worlds has been immensely satisfying. I hope that scala naturae, the piece we’ve made together, offers them a chance to connect, find beauty amidst chaos, and shine brightly.

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Katharine Hawthorne is a San Francisco based dancer and choreographer who likes to watch thinking bodies in motion. She has performed with Liss Fain Dance, Hope Mohr Dance, Sharp & Fine, Ledges & Bones, and James Sewell Ballet, among others. Hawthorne’s body of work is grounded in her passion for the sciences and her interest in integrating technology into performance. She has presented her creative work widely in the San Francisco Bay Area as well as in Minneapolis, Chicago, New York, Brown University in Providence, RI; Greece, Argentina, and Montréal, Canada. Recent performances have been recognized as “fiercely intelligent” and “fearlessly athletic” by the San Francisco Bay Guardian. Hawthorne holds a B.S. in Physics and Dance, with honors, from Stanford University. www.khawthorne.net

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