I make dances and I teach dance classes.
Both are focused on noticing the breath -- the inhale, the exhale, and especially the gaps in between. I'm curious about what emerges from that noticing.
I'm curious too about stripping away notions of what dance is and starting from a place of not knowing anything.
My work, both in teaching and in performance, is about expressing what is true, essential, and urgent. It's about excavating and unearthing all that is underneath the minutia of day to day living in order to remember the limitless possibility of potential and freedom within the human body.
It’s about agitating for that freedom, both inside the body, and out.
Speaking of: I get asked a lot about the name, Joanna and The Agitators.
Who are the agitators, and why agitation?
First: Why Agitation?
Because one day in 2013, right after the flood that devastated my little mountain of 300 people in Jamestown, Colorado, my partner Glen and i were taking a walk to survey the damage. Someone – I don’t know who – had hung up multiple baskets of flowers along the path of the flood and all that it had destroyed. We stopped and gazed at the exploding color in the midst of the cement, re-bar, rubble and mess.
Glen said: ‘What a sweet little agitation that is.”
To me, being an agitator means creating a tiny tear in the fabric of what is known to let beauty burst forth. Being an agitator means tilting a known paradigm, shifting a perspective, and experiencing the world from a different point of view to see all that is hidden, just waiting to be found.
Second: Who are the Agitators?
The Agitators are:
- The people in my classes who inspire, delight, and surprise me every single day.
- My teachers, colleagues, and collaborators who have tilted the paradigm, shifted my perspective, and helped me unearth what I could not see on my own.
- The voices my head, bursting forth with ideas for a new performance, a different kind of class, or a writing project that I want to embark on.
Something I say to my students all the time is, “The dance is already in the room, simply waiting for you to step in and follow what is emerging.”
To me, that’s agitating too: For the freedom, magic, and connection that comes from being a body in space – dancing.