Fields in Motion: Aging/Diversity/Access

Full Cast – June Dance 2023 (Rik Daniels, Aimee Rials, Jim Self, G-Quan Booker, Marilyn Rivchin, Kathy Lucas, Indira White). Live-stream capture by Wind-up Pictures.

Year: 2022-2023
DanceForce Member: Jim Self
Artists: Kathy Lucas; Jim Self
Community Partner: Cherry Arts Space; Primary Performance Group; The Moving Grief Project
Audience: 487
County: Tompkins

In an effort to amplify and enhance diversity in Tompkins County, DanceForce member Jim Self and Ithaca dancer/organizer Kathy Lucas created a curatorial partnership. The goal was to create models for cross-generational movement artists to embody and explore how movement practices and performance impact environmental concerns, social justice, equality, access, gender, and sexual expressions. The majority of these goals were addressed in two basic formats.

‘The Moving Grief Project’ hosted a year long series of workshops exploring the impact of grief and loss on individual bodies. Each participant developed tools bringing forth visceral, visual, and audial experience associated with multiple states of being. Dancer Indira White joined Kathy and Jim in the culminating performances, June Dance 2023: “Love, Loss and the Quest for Transcendence” at the Cherry Artspace on June 9 and 10. Other local artists including Hip Hop artist G-Quan Booker, burlesque/circus artist Rik Daniels, modernist dancer Aimee Rials, and videographer/performer Marilyn Rivchin joined the cast delving into the sometimes awkward and uncomfortable, funny and/or ridiculous physical, visual, and sonic manifestations of humans continually aspiring to transcend suffering towards elation and/or ecstasy. Remarkably, the cast represented each age decade from 20’s through 70’s, as well as different abilities, mixed races, genders and sexualities, while featuring multiple movement genres. Resoundingly well received, the sold-out performances accomplished the intended goals of presenting diverse interpretations around the universal human themes of love, loss, and transcendence.

For the first time in the three year history of June Dance we offered a live-stream option, and 17% of ticket buyers made use of the service. By all accounts users were enthusiastic and pleased with the quality of the on-line experience.

‘Speaking Dance Wise,’ three roundtable discussions for a diverse group of elder dance makers, took place at the Ithaca/ Tompkins Public Library on March 18, April 1 and 29. Representing Hip Hop, Modern, Musical Theatre, Butoh, Cine-dance, Romani, Ballet, Post-Modern and Conscious Dance, the artists Gladys Brangman, Jeanne Goddard, Janice Kovar, Rachel Lampert, Amanda Moretti, Marilyn Rivchin, June Seaney, Jim Self, and Doug Shire shared stories and presentations about their life and work spanning at least 5 decades. The conversations focused on embodied knowledge and experience rooted in 20th and 21st century practices, expressions, and aesthetic shifts during sometimes significant cultural evolutions.

Including performances, showings, workshops, and open rehearsals, at least 487 people attended all the events of ‘Fields in Motion: Aging/Diversity/Access.’ This multilayered project exemplified the DanceForce mission of promoting dance, and the practice of including multiple member projects under one umbrella, acting as a model of how DF itself can adapt and survive into the future. The project revealed new possibilities and strategies on how communities can collaborate to address ways of being while existing with urgency and relevance within the realities of living, dancing, and working in human bodies—bodies that are subject to continuous and potentially traumatic conditions being transformed into movement content, communication, and cultural healing.