Posted September 13, 2016

Monumental dance

Anywhere, a new dance commissioned by the Department of Dance, explores everyday heroism through movement.

Two women dancers embracing.
Photography By: 
Alex Escalante
The improvisational Anywhere, which explores the shake walk dance practice developed by Kathy Westwater, will run Sept. 16–17 in Conwell Theater on Temple University's Main Campus.

How might a dance engage with, or itself be, a monument?

That’s the question behind a new work by New York-based choreographer Kathy Westwater premiering at Temple Friday, Sept. 16. Anywhere, a production commissioned by the Department of Dance’s Reflection:Response Commission, seeks to demonstrate everyday heroism—found anywhere—choreographically.   

Amanda DiLodovico, a PhD fellow, and Leslie Bush, an MFA fellow, both in the Department of Dance, will perform in the production. The two attended a master class with Westwater in May 2016, where they became familiar with the choreographer’s process.

During the master class, Westwater taught her shake walk practice, which involves two dancers. One shakes the other’s body, while that body remains passive, vulnerable and open to the experience, and then reacts to the experience with movement.

Anywhere embraces this improvisational approach to dance.

“Westwater is actively shaping an approach to dance production that is not confined to the parameters of the performance alone,” said DiLodovico. “She emphasizes the role of practice in performance, and I think it’s important for audience members to experience dance within that framework.”

Bush expects the experience of working on Anywhere to have a long-lasting impact.

“For me, as a developing choreographer, this has been great to learn another artist's process,” she said. “I am always exploring new ways to move and Westwater's shake walk opens up a vulnerability in the body that I want to keep exploring. I think it could be extremely influential to my future work.”  

According to Professor of Dance Merian Soto, it’s all a part of the reason Westwater was chosen by the Reflection:Response Commission.

“She bridges the disciplines of artistry and scholarship, particularly in her groundbreaking reimagining of the body's movement potential,” Soto said. “The project has been especially impactful on the dance students who are working with Westwater for this commission to learn, practice and perform shake walk, which is extraordinarily expressive.” 

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