Radiating Absence

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Dodd, Sarah
Dance , Performance , Absence , Duet , Fears , Relationship , Empty , Chair , Individuality
When approaching the choreographic process, I was drawn to the structure and relationships found in a short play entitled Nothing To Fear But…by Jordan Diggory. I first saw the play performed by five actresses as part of a student-run 24-hour festival. The play was centered on three relationships with differing romantic dynamics, all reaching a climatic time of conflict. Before introducing those conflicts, each actress spoke a short monologue confessing their impractical fears. By introducing each character outside of their respective relationships, an individuality and complexity of each performer is developed. The essence and structure of this play inspired my choreographic process in the creation of Radiating Absence. Radiating Absence is a choreographic work for five dancers. The duets in the choreographic work resemble that of the play. The last ‘duet’ in the play was a girl explaining her complex emotions toward her significant other who had taken his own life. This relationship is echoed in the final duet in my piece between a dancer and a chair. As the other duets were developed, the absence of the third duet partner became too obvious to ignore in the other couples. The absent member of the cast, so to speak, became a major theme and the empty chair became acknowledged by the rest of the dancers throughout the piece. The fear of each individual dancer is relayed through the various motifs that become prevalent in the opening of the dance and revisited throughout the piece, relating once again back to the play. As the empty chair became important in the choreographic process, the movement exploration became focused on the different possible reactions to absence. Each duet finds a variation in the movement that reflects their unique emotional and physical reactions to the negative space created by the empty chair. These reactions build to a chaotic final section that dilutes into silence and minimal movement that reiterates the radiating effect of absence. Presentation Team - Tabitha Newman, Sadie McNamara, Olivia Graves, Sammi Pfeiffer, and Michaela Neild.