Cherie Carson, “Trikona”
My love of movement is my inspiration to create performance works. I'm also inspired by the act of creation itself.
Sharing my ideas through my art and how that reaches people in a new ways is powerfully exciting to me.
To me, dance is any gesture made with intent and style. I look to connect gestures in a meaningful way taking dance beyond the original impulse.
BEHIND THE SCENES
I get a germ of an idea that I want to explore. I may spend months tossing around thoughts, interviewing people, researching my topic, and developing movements that capture the kernels of truth that I see.
Then I pick a physical place and design costumes and props to breathe life into what will finally develop into a finished performance piece.
Often, I find that the best place to fully realize a performance work is in a non-traditional space, such as a planetarium, a banyan tree, a reflection pool, sculpture gardens, a lake, or a warehouse.
Shown above: Rehearsals, "Trikona"
At other times, the energy of a space attracts me and a dance is born out of my partnership with the nature or architecture of the space.
The creation of a new work can vary from three rehearsals to three years. I created a wonderful duet, “Pregnant Pause,” in three rehearsals. The ideas and choreography just poured out.
On the other hand, “Water Dreams” took over three years from start to finish. It was a multimedia site-specific work created in phases.
For instance, the first phase was to create underwater choreography for video, edit the footage into a 25-minute piece, then go back into rehearsals to create the site-specific performance that incorporated the video.
My newest aerial work, “Trikona,” is taking about three months to complete.
I often improvise to the idea using everything but the music. I sometimes write to release the images and do research to gain greater depth.
DANCERS: BORN OR CREATED?
Both. One can be born creative, but it takes perseverance, time and work to grow into one’s art form.
PIECES OF ME
Several works have been created from my life. All of my works contain pieces of me, whether in abstract form or from a real-life experience.
As I see it, there is a thin line between fiction and real life, because we create our own reality. What is more important is that the story we tell through our art transcends its specific details and enables the audience to relate in a meaningful way.
The most [powerful] thing anyone ever said to me was: That everything has consciousness. Nothing in my upbringing had ever taught me that, and when I looked at my surroundings, I had a very different sensation and could no longer kill bugs.
SITE-SPECIFIC WORKS 101
Site-specific works are events/performances created for a particular place, and are only considered unusual because western art has confined the creative experience to even more specific places, such as theaters, galleries and museums.
Site-specific work brings art out into public places, where the experience is unexpected. Art can be, and is, anywhere and everywhere.
NEW WORK: "TRIKONA"
"Trikona" is a new dance piece to be performed by three dancers suspended on three ropes. It is based on the structure of a yantra, which is a geometric design composed of basic primal shapes. These shapes are psychological symbols corresponding to inner states of human consciousness.
At the basis of yantra operation is something called "shape energy" or "form energy." The idea is that every shape emits a very specific frequency and energy pattern.
Shown above: Rehearsals, "Trikona"
A yantra represents a particular configuration whose power increases in proportion to the abstraction and precision of the diagram. A yantra gradually grows away from its center, in stages, until its expansion is complete.
The structure of "Trikona" will be based on triangles and circles. This new work as an aerial dance that bridges body and spirit, creating a sense of expansion and freedom. (Premiere at 1PM, Feb. 13th, at Motivity Center, 8th and Dwight Way, Berkeley, CA, as part of a benefit for the National Cervical Cancer Coalition).
I am using this architecture of enlightenment as the basis for "Trikona," combining dance with the aerial apparatus (dynamic rope) and yoga movements and mudras.
I'm interested in pushing the limits of taking yoga/meditation into a moving performance in the air.
The Sanskrit word 'yantra' derives from the root 'yam' meaning to sustain, or hold.
I'm interested in the visual aspect of moving these elementary shapes in a direct and bold way in order to represent the sustainment of enlightenment. Something as small as a miniature can create a sense of expansiveness.
"Trikona" is an aerial dance that establishes and then follows a focal point that is a window into the absolute.
I see it as an expression of life continuing and unceasing, and also as the essence of artistic creation.
Consciously or unconsciously, strong women are often present in my work.
I don’t consider what I get as a creative block, more like losing the thread. I drive. I take a shower. I leave it alone for a couple of weeks.
Visual artists, DV8 Company, journaling.
EMOTION VS. TECHNIQUE
Both are necessary, but in choosing one --emotional resonance wins, hands down! I need to see a dancer integrate the experience, not have a veneer of emotion covering technique.
Do I consider dance to be a language, also?: YES.
Reads: "The Architecture and Design of Man and Woman"
Downtime: I love teaching yoga and meditation. I am starting a new corporation, the International Wholistic Institute, to support healing and awareness through several diverse programs.
If I wasn't a dancer/choreographer, I'd definitely be: A yoga teacher. I’ve been teaching yoga for 12 years and find it has changed my approach to dance and choreography. I am much more centered and balanced.
What I wish someone had told me when I first started out: Success is meaningful when it comes from within.
Favorite quote: From Soen Nakagawa Roshi: "When one is climbing Mount Fuji, one has no view of it." -- it keeps me focused.
Artist bio: Originally from Texas, Cherie Carson currently resides in Oakland, CA. She has choreographed performances in a planetarium, on stilts, on roller blades, in sculpture gardens, swimming pools and on a bungee cord hanging from a banyan tree.
Her work has been presented throughout the U.S. and twice on the PBS mini series "Razor’s Edge Cafe." Carson has choreographed works for Room to Move Dance, Several Dancers Core, Moving in the Spirit Dance, and Dance Force.
Her underwater dance video, “Water Dreams,” was a finalist for the Robert Bennett Award at the American Film and Video Festival in LA. She is currently on staff with the International Wholistic Institute.
Visit official site: Cherie Carson
Read additional dance/theatre content, in the FEB/MAR 2005 issue of "Arte Six." [Orig. "Arte Six" post date: Feb. 7]