Reimagining Realities Through Embodied Exploration
“CODE EM- Revisited: Reimagining Realities through Embodied Exploration” is a process of embodied research cultivated by Koret Scholars: Marissa Salinas, Eros Mene, Jasmine Kaiulani, and Sol James; all mentored by Farrah McAdam. Coming from varying BIPOC backgrounds and identities, our narratives are at the forefront of this embodied research. Embodied research is the physicalization of the discovery process, using scientific data and knowledge to support our dancing from an academic standpoint. The goal is to provide perspective on the typical research process, proving we can in fact provide accurate research through embodied movement. Heavily based on Urban Bush Women’s philosophies and practices from their “Entering, Building and Exiting Communities” workshop and their annual Summer Leadership Institute, this research group has used multiple practices to not only advocate for embodied research but examine what a successful collaboration can look like and how to consistently cultivate a space that is safe, trusting and successful for any collaborative group. Practices such as Building Agreements, Asset Mapping, and using Liz Lerman’s Critical Response Process in our choreography processes to address each other’s works and provide feedback in a way that is valuable and respectful to the artist, as well as giving feedback to the art more than the artist. With our project, we also have implemented Lerman’s “Hiking the Horizontal” text to aid our questioning and reimaging of how any creative process looks or could be looked at. This kind of all hands on deck approach to research provides a well rounded, meticulous, and authentic creative process. Our process has consisted of meeting on a weekly basis and holding hybrid remote rehearsals. Through writing prompts, collaborative choreography, and guided improvisation, we have found a way to share our experiences in a productive, community oriented way. We practice transparency and accountability, especially regarding time and deadlines. This process has taught us how to work productively with others, especially in a remote environment, during a global pandemic. We are conducting multiple types of research, and have all chosen text to study on a variety of topics. From how trauma lingers in the body, what it means to navigate as BIPOC people in academia, embodied research, to code-switching through life and education. With four students and a mentor, this process has been equally collaborative thus far. All students are pursuing a variation of a dance major, and are actively involved in the dance department here at Sonoma State University. Aware of the representation we are providing for the department, the absolute goal is proving embodied dance research as academically weighted and validated. In addition to the research aspect, we are going to do what dancers do best: make a statement. Due to our various ethnic backgrounds, there is rich diversity between all of us. We find unity in diversity, and have chosen to use our worldly experiences to our advantage. Breaking constructs, challenging daily societal norms, navigating code-switching within the academic environment, living and breathing as BIPOC people, and pursuing an art major all at the same time.These shared experiences created a space new to all of us, for secondary education typically is built to work against those of our backgrounds. Our work consists of four cohorts, each one more uniquely diverse than the last. Each cohort leader has their own core concept and research process applicable to all of our varying experiences. Exploring various systems, constructs, expectations, and normalizations attached to each of our races, cultures, and ethnicities. We have chosen to title all of our pieces: “Ho'opuka E Ka Lā Ma Ka Hikina & Lili’u E”, “SystEM”, “Pillars”, and “529”. They represent us as a whole, and individually.