Amanda Selwyn, Artist Statement
Since founding Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre, I have tested my own choreographic voice and created a cohesive vision for the company that offers our audience access, inclusion, and emotional engagement to our performances. Through thoughtful collaboration with designers, the original movement lexicon in my choreography is artfully staged within a landscape of color, texture, and sound. My creative process is distinctive from many other choreographers and makes each new project full of surprises. In rehearsal, I pose physical and dramatic paradigms for my dancers, and ask them to work out these challenges through movement. My dancers then, through improvisation and spontaneous choreographic studies, unearth raw material. Movements are passed through the company to discover new variations, individual interpretation, and nuance. The eventual choreographic vocabulary erupts from the discourse of exchange between dancers. The movement speaks a language of the community. To achieve a fully developed work, I unravel the movement lexicon and weave it back into a larger structure that integrates motif, character, and spatial relationships. I linger in repetition, variation, deconstruction, isolation, and stillness to unpack each image and illuminate different ways of experiencing an idea. I like to work with themes rich in depth and nuance, yet possessing the grace to transmit simplicity and clarity. I search for moments of lightness. As my work develops, it traverses my original imaginings and takes on its own life, telling me who it is, what it wishes to say, and where to go next.
I want to turn that which we accept every day on its head. I play. I am dancing with social constructs and paradigms and finding new meanings, new context. The creative process is to me the very best of living. I love watching all the body is capable of. I seek out organic discoveries, raw and uninterrupted, to let movement flow from momentum and physical sensation. I enjoy mixing the recognizable and the unusual. I seek to find joy in the process and experience visceral truths in the movement. I thrive on bold choices and taking risks, and desire to beckon an audience response of thought, feeling, and soul. I aspire to uplift, inspire, exhilarate, and create a community of support. I believe I get back the energy that I put forward. I call the pauses in the process bookmarks – there is this interruption with more waiting to unfold.
Now in the eighteenth season of my company, I have growing excitement and confidence in my creative process. With each new work, I up the ante for myself. This audaciousness plays out in my desire to integrate innovative scenic, video, costume, and musical elements, my insistence on harvesting a surfeit of raw material, and my relentlessness for trial and error that coaxes the movement to find its own voice in the creative process. I strive principally to engage my audience from start to finish and then secondarily, but perhaps most importantly, to raise questions, challenge social norms and values, and magnify humanity through dance.