Friday, October 14, 2011

Jane Gotch in space

“The physical world’s one constant is change, and dance is an artistic act of embodying its transitions.”
- Jane Gotch…from her artist statement

What’s it like to be human? How does it feel to be human? Artists ache to define this sense for themselves and as a result something happens to an audience when they do. Jane Gotch dances and choreographs others. She often begins with space; spaces you and I walk by, or sit near as was the case when Jane and I sat together at LuLu’s in the Crossroads having lunch. We contemplated the corner of the room and up to the ceiling. Space.

Perhaps you’ve seen her work first hand. If not, there’s a bit online. Soon, Jane plans to release a film of her project called “WE!”. Working with a film editor, Jane has enjoyed learning the image quilting art form of filmmaking. The film project has provided her with creative elbow room, space to inhabit her dance, choreography, direction, and chaos in a new way.

People often concern themselves with this personal mining operation to find their mystical core. Some worry if they feel scattered, and out of focus. Cool to find your core, but interesting to float in space, too. Jane Gotch is doing what she wants to these days. She says that with a Cheshire Cat grin. So, consider “doing what you want”, within reason of course, free of arterial bleeding as my Mother used to say. Seriously, perhaps you need to be a bit less serious.

Back to this feeling human thing, because I needed to think about that a bit, how do you feel, anyway? Do you feel from the outside in, as in yikes I’m cold or do you feel things from the inside out? Is all this nuance irrelevant? If your art form’s materials are space and physicality, the nuance has meaning. Your artistic nuance has a great deal to do with you and how you see the world. Jane likes to meditate, to get in touch with empty space and silence, inside. We all need that emptiness to appreciate the fulfillment.

To fulfill her literal dreams, her project visions, Jane applied for a few grants. She shepherded her projects like a good shepherd who places her best sheep at the front of the flock and leads from behind, and learned more about her art of control which involves a great deal of letting go. She learned to listen, to absorb the various languages of artists in other art forms like music, lighting, film, and set design. She learned to relish the days when you come to rehearsal and just don’t know. She loved how dancers understood when she sometimes had no idea what she was doing. She practiced holding a mirror up to life. Dancers need those mirrors you know.

Jane found out more about the art of finding common ground with others as collaboration, the crazy gathering of disparate members of humanity, is a central bit of grist in this dancing realm. I’m sitting here alone writing this, happy that there’s not three more of me around the desk, deciding which word to pick next. Jane’s project vision takes hold becomes real in the presence of others. She creates from “that inside out flow”…in space.

We don’t need limits. Think of the possibilities. Takes a dancer to remind us of that. Jane didn’t use the word “stretch” but there you go. Dancers stretch. Choreographers take dancers to new places. So, try stretching it.

Here’s another mind bender…Jane admits she’d wouldn’t be able to dance for Jane the choreographer. Do you feel like that sometimes? I do. I’d hate to be my editor. I don’t have one yet, but I sincerely “pity the fool”. There goes that Cheshire Cat grin again.

At the end of our LuLu’s lunch, we pondered our fortune cookie messages while crunching on those round sweet morsels. I shared how a friend has a funny way of stating fortunes by adding the expression “…in bed”. We restated our fortunes that way and laughed. Yet after meeting Jane Gotch and having a few of my perceptions reshaped, with some homework to do, I think I’ll try adding “…in space” to my fortune cookie prophesies from now on. In fact, I’m going to start doing more of what I want to do…within reason…in space.

Best wishes with your projects, dreams and visions…in space.

Pictured: Jane Gotch under the table, Matt Tady on top of the table. Brooke Vandever took the photograph, a beautiful moment in time and space of “WE!”.


From Jane's website:

Originally from Omaha, NE, Jane attended University of Missouri at Kansas City’s Conservatory of Dance from 1996-1998, and graduated from University of the Arts in Philadelphia in 2000 with a BFA with honors in modern dance. In 1998, she studied at the Alvin Ailey School in New York on a full scholarship from the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey. She danced professionally with Scrap Performance Group (PA), Netta Yerushalmy’s Dancing People (NY), and as an apprentice with Tere O’Connor Dance (NY).

As a choreographer she received, the annual Excellence in Choreography Award for her senior thesis at University of the Arts (2000), an Inspiration Grant from The Metropolitan Arts Council of Kansas City (2008 & 2010), and a space grant at Urban Culture Project’s City Center Rehearsal Space (2009-2011). She is a 2010 recipient of a Rocket Grant from The Warhol Foundation in partnership with The Charlotte Street Foundation and Spencer Museum of Art, for a multi-disciplinary, collaborative performance project, WE!. Her choreography has been presented at The Fifth Stop Open Studios (Brooklyn), The Philadelphia Fringe Festival (PA), A Modern Night at the Folly (KC), Urban Culture Project’s La Esquina and Paragraph Gallery (KC), and The Lawrence Arts Center.

In 2002 she directed and choreographed a collaborative group of women for NYC: the girl projects, which was produced by The Philadelphia Fringe Festival at the Painted Bride Arts Center. She was the production director for City in Motion’s choreographers’ showcase, A Modern Night at the Folly (2009-2010).

In addition to her artistic endeavors, she is a teaching artist through Kansas City Young Audiences and at Community School 1. Since 2001, she has been a certified trainer and pre-trainer of GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS®, a movement training, rehabilitation, and body conditioning system. She has taught private students in New York, California, Israel, and India, and conducted the first GYROTONIC® pre-trainings in Israel and India. Here in Kansas City, she has an established private practice at Plaza Wellspring wellness center.

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