By Darion Smith
My new choreography, Involuntary Movements was inspired by Ta-Nehisi Coates' Between The World And Me, my own experiences as an African American (biracial), and African American History.
I was able to create a landscape (set) with props, text, soundscape, and music that incorporated and carried the inspired content of the work and allowed me to live inside of the work as I was performing it.
For me, the experience was transformative in the generative rehearsal phase of the process and then later, that experience was magnified even further when I shared Involuntary Movements in front of an audience. I had dug deep into my own feelings about race, being biracial, African American and half British (white) brought me into a lot of self conflict, if you have read Ta Nehisi Coates' book, you will understand my position even more.
Once again I found myself in the heavy presence of identity, only this time it was less ambiguous and tread the tense line of the social constructs of race in the United States in 2017.
Involuntary Movements explores the physical and emotional reactions to racism and injustice towards the African American population through my own experiences.
The new dance premiered at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.
All photos of Involuntary Movements are by Megan Morse of the University of Oregon Journalism School.