Meet January's Take Root Choreographers / by Valerie Green

We wanted to take a moment to offer insight and inspiration from our January Take Root Artists.
Meet Brianna Taylor and Marion Spencer. Their work can be seen JANUARY 25 & 26, 8pm
You can learn more about their upcoming projects here

From Marion:
'WOLF' is a dance that has grown from living in different spaces, and it has also been profoundly shaped by those spaces in the past. Green Space is no exception to this. Green Space has been home to 'WOLF's process for several weeks now, and the space has already changed the dance and helped it to continue finding its truest self. The buttery wood floor, the large windows looking out to a beautiful and complicated skyline, the hissing radiators, the warm air. The personality of the space has infiltrated what 'WOLF' has become for its fullest version at the Take Root Festival on January 25 and 26th. 'WOLF' is a dance that is raw and wild and leaves nothing hidden, and it finds its strongest voice when it is supported by safe spaces to work and share. I am grateful to Green Space for the opportunity to make and share my work here this weekend! - Marion Spencer

From Brianna:

Yesterday in what felt like a split second, my backpack that contained my laptop, wallet, all the random things a dancer/yoga teacher carries around in her bag on a workday, and my journal was stolen from one of my places of work. A place that feels like one of my homes here in NY, that has provided me with community and love. I believe it was taken by someone who came in not intending to take a yoga class, and in a breath walked out with it. I choose to believe that person really needed it, and am practicing sending them love. Needless to say, that sucks, and is stressful... and besides all the annoying logistics of canceling credit cards, etc., what almost feels the hardest is losing that journal with all my rehearsal notes, inspirations, much....

I include this information in this blog post, about my upcoming performance work at Green Space, because the timing is impeccable, and the support I feel from my community, my family, has deeply touched my heart. Feels like one of those moments that puts things into perspective, in the sense that these are material items, and thank goodness no one was hurt, or that it wasn’t a worse case... I was reminded of all those who lost their homes in the California fires... then I think of the fires in Oregon the last few years, so close to home for me... then I think of so so many, who don’t have a home... or a family... or a laptop... or a journal... I am reminded how blessed I am. And of the way that people come together to support each other in challenging moments.

When I walked into rehearsal this morning, my friends and collaborators were all love and support, and one of them brought me a new journal she had. When I checked my email this afternoon, there was a thread from fellow yoga teachers who were offering to pitch in a little to help me cover costs of stuff I lost. Others offered items that they had. Those dear to me reminded me that what was lost in those journals and on my laptop is still in me, and what I need to come back to will come through with new meaning.

I am reminded of the importance of family... blood family, and families we create. How family can show up for each other...

My upcoming work is about lineage. I’ve been so grateful to be in artistic process with some amazing humans, as we have been investigating stories and memories of our ancestors in movement, sound and spoken conversation. I have had to ask myself, again and again, why this particular work? Why keep looking into my lineage, why with other artists? What is important about this conversation right now? For me the answer I keep coming back to is a feeling, a desire to know my people better and to really listen to the stories that live in my memories, in my cells, and to be in conversation with others who are doing the same. Perhaps as a vehicle to allow their stories to be heard, allow them to be seen in a way they never could have been. Maybe for a small possibility for healing... I've realized this has also been a lens for me to look more closely at my whiteness, and how I can continue to be better and work more for and with racial justice. It is a desire to understand more fully, the good, the bad, the beautiful and the very ugly stories of my ancestral history, so that perhaps I can learn from their mistakes, make choices to move forward with humility and love, and take any steps I can to make their mistakes right...

The process of this work has been a long one for me. It’s been a solo work (that never really was a solo because, my ancestors, and the audiences), and it’s been a few group iterations. The peeling back of layers of my stories, of our stories, has been deep, and loving, and challenging, and has brought about so much deep learning around collaboration and family. I am so humbled by my collaborators Emily Aiken, Aleta Brown, Rebecca Lloyd-Jones, Andre Ignacio Dimapilis and Nora Fox joining me on this journey. I am so humbled by the ways we’ve shown up for each other. How we’ve listened, supported, discovered, and PLAYED together!  As preparing for a performance can often bring with it stress of many administrative, financial and creative details, I have moments where I have to remind myself why I continue on this path of being a dance artist… and then I walk into the studio and it is always clear… the creative process, being in community, moving and imagining and breathing life into ideas with other beautiful humans… It is an understanding deep in my bones that we NEED this. Humans have moved and made music and art and danced together since the beginning of time. So I remind myself of how healing this can be, for those creating, and those collaborating in community through witnessing and experiencing a work. We need art, and we need each other to share it! So thank you, for reading this, for your support, be it through the ethers and interwebs or in person… I appreciate you, and your appreciation of the importance of art, in all of our lives. 

With Love and Gratitude,

Brianna Taylor Photo credit Andrew Ribner.

Brianna Taylor Photo credit Andrew Ribner.

Marion Spencer Photo credit: Whitney Browne Photography

Marion Spencer Photo credit: Whitney Browne Photography