Fields in Motion: Aging/Diversity/Access

Kathy Lucas (in white gauze). Photo by Jari Poulin.

Year: 2022-2023
DanceForce Member: Jim Self
Artists: Kathy Lucas; Jim Self
Community Partner: Cherry Arts Space
Audience: 600
County: Tompkins

Seeking to amplify and enhance diversity in Tompkins County, DanceForce member Jim Self will be partnering with Kathy Lucas to create Curatorial Partnerships. An additional group of 4-6 Tompkins County movement artists will be chosen to generate a series of individual projects with the goal of creating 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.

Kathy Lucas is a dancer and movement coach working in aging, grief, and body trauma. Her in-depth understanding and coaching of humans from all backgrounds on how to manage, reduce, and creatively utilize personal and collective trauma makes her a collaborator perfect for a project of this nature. In 2021 she collaborated with four African American choreographers as they created personal narratives drawn from research on body traumas of Black American icons. Her movement coaching with aging bodies is highly valuable in helping dancers and the general population of all backgrounds to cope with ongoing challenges of living in senior bodies.

Individual curator/collaborators will determine what each specific project looks and feels like. A similar and successful DanceForce project took place during the 2020 pandemic lockdown where Me Ae Caughey was the curator/filmmaker of four separate soloists’ outdoor film projects. For this community, the ultimate goal is generating sustainable structures and activities that can survive the constantly shifting cultural and financial resources available in upstate New York. Bringing a wider range of people into the process is good for all of us and gets the community playing on a larger field. It is also good for the general Dance Field as it addresses the issues of our time amongst groups of all ages and histories.

The project will have many opportunities to reach the general public. Specifically targeted communities will include Seniors, LGBTQ+, Dance artists, BIPOC dance artists and communities, and Disability dancers and communities.

The timeline is July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023. There will be 2-3 indoor and/or outdoor performances, up to 10 open rehearsals and showings, 5 workshops, and 5 roundtable discussions throughout the project year. Specific times and places are to be determined in early Spring 2022. An estimated 600 people will participate in the events.

In a very real sense, this multilayered project expands the DanceForce practice of multiple member projects under one umbrella, as well as modeling how DF itself can adapt and survive into the future. These projects will reveal new possibilities and strategies on how communities can collaborate to address ways of being and existing with velocity and relevance to the realities of living, dancing, and working in human bodies—bodies that are subject to continuous and potentially traumatic conditions which can be transformed into movement content, communication, and cultural healing.