I make dances and I teach dance classes.
Both are focused on noticing the breath -- the inhale, the exhale, and 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 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?
In 2013, a flood devastated the little mountain town where I live (Jamestown, CO pop. 247). My partner Glen and I were taking a walk to survey the damage. To our surprise and delight, we say multiple hanging baskets of flowers all along the path of the flood and all that it had destroyed.
We were gazing at the exploding color in the midst of the cement, re-bar, rubble and mess, when 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, 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 help me unearth what I cannot see on my own.
- The voices in my head (so many voices!) clamoring with ideas for a new performance, a different kind of class, a writing project I want to embark on.
Third: What are you agitating for, when speaking of dancing?
Freedom, magic, and connection: that's what I'm agitating for.
And pleasure. I'm agitating for following one's pleasure, as a body in space - dancing.
"Sometimes it's so rich, I can't even hold it." -- Nancy Ruff, student/performer