Notes on the artistic process
Rooted Memories: Voices from the Grey Shadows Within is an overlay of three different artistic mediums colliding together. The process began with a proposal from mathematics professor Jesse Elliott to play Tori Amos’ song Winter for AUTS 2016. Performing Arts professor Heather Castillo chose that proposal to create a movement piece with her Jazz 2 class. Exploring themes in Amos’ work began to lay the foundation and tone of the piece. This is an exert from a 2012 interview on NPR with Amos:
“Being a minister’s daughter, I was brought up with all the shame that surrounds eroticism. So the tip that the muses told me to open up to is a spiritual eroticism in your life. That’s really changed the way that I see it. We as women sometimes take it to extremes, where it’s [either] degradation or it’s puritanical. Where do you have a balance of sensuality and romance and passion for yourself? I don’t mean just for that guy or whomever your partner is, but it can be also for your art. It’s about ideas. It’s about expressing them.”
The dancers/collaborators in Jazz 2 began to explore how the foundations from our individual past and our collective past in a predominantly patriarchal society affected our growth into womanhood. The idea of “pagan memories” emerged. Movement was informed from exploring ideas and past cultures where women and fertility were held sacred in juxtaposition to “rooted” foundations experienced in a patriarchal society. The idea of roots as chains, support, foundation and binding agents all influenced the dynamic dichotomies present in the movement. At some point during the process, the dancers realized we were channeling Martha Graham’s Heretic, one of her seminal pieces. It also ultimately affected costuming decisions for Rooted Memories.
An unfortunate incident led to a fortunate development in the artistic process. Dancer Kelly Ebersole broke her foot. In order to allow her to still participate her senior year in AUTS, the free standing aerial swing was added to the piece. There was now an actual tree-like structure incorporated and influencing the tone.
Leslie Lloyd, professor of ART, suggested that using life drawings as a video accompaniment would compliment the developing themes beautifully. She put Heather in contact with Kathleen Quaife, professor of ART and life drawings instructor. From there Alayna Petretto, ART student, photographed student’s life drawing selections where they were compiled into a video by dance and communication student Melissa Diaz. The life drawings of nude images with chalk created a pre-historic and simultaneous contemporary “cave drawing” sense to the piece.
Dance is like a rorschach test. People’s interpretation of the piece often says more about them then what the piece actually is about. There is no specific intention with Rooted Memories: Voices from the Grey Shadows Within. Many themes, ideas, influences, and artistic mediums have been merged and collided together. We would love to know what you thought! Please take the survey at the end of the digital program.-Heather Castillo
For information on Jazz 2 contact Heather Castillo
Life drawing Art 107 is an elective open to all university students seeking a studio arts class with live art models ( nude and costumed) and instruction for drawing the human figure with emphasis on gesture, constructive drawing, anatomical studies and more.
The drawings in the dance video are all from the TUES /THURS class that meets at NOON ( noon to 2:50) with Kathleen Quaife MFA / Instructor
All university students are welcome to sign up for this elective. We work with a variety of drawing materials.
Students who have declared their degree as ” ART” majors are required to take one semester of ART 107 Life Drawing.
To contact the instructor Kathleen Quaife firstname.lastname@example.org