Presence, A dance film exploring physical, mental, and emotional presence through movement across the country.
As an artist, I set out to creatively answer three important questions that were discovered in a variety of ways over the course of my academic career. They all had one thing in common, the awareness and wonder around how impactful presence is. But what is presence? Merriam-Webster Dictionary defined presence as, “The state or fact of existing, occurring, or being present in a place or thing.” And, “A person or thing that exists or is present in a place but is not seen. (Presence) After a tangible experience with loss, grief, disappointment, and extenuating life circumstances for many cast members involved in this seven-month movement research project, the internal battle for physical, mental, and emotional presence began to be a daily pursuit. The originally produced work, Presence-The Walk, takes a look into the unpopular practice of being still in an ever-moving society, as well as what the process of healing can look like for an individual. Videographer and MFA candidate Lawrence Fung was a large collaborator on the final product of this work. After having to adapt several different versions of the final product due to cast changes, opportunities for public performance, and the COVID-19 pandemic, dancer, mover, and artist Victoria Ward shares her experience and research exploring the constant pursuit of presence and what it looked like to present professional work given an even shorter timeline. Interdisciplinary collaboration with photographers, artists, and spoken word was also a key aspect of this work alongside the research completed by her cast of seven dancers.