Title: Wash

Creator: Samantha Waugh

Category: Time

Creator Commentary:

This piece, created for the 2017 Chapman Dance Alliance Annual Show, was titled “Wash,” which, aside from being associated with the movement of water, also conveys a sense of rebirth, continuity, and renewal. This was done intentionally in order to reference a cyclical view of time, which was portrayed through the image of a wave in the ocean: the calm of the water, swell, eventual crash, and return to calm of the water. This cyclical nature brings comfort to the usual uncertainty that comes with impermanence. Though the wave may crash and cause occasional chaos, there is assurance it will cycle back to calm once again: there is a certain comfort I find in it, and I thought movement would have the capacity to convey the cathartic nature that cyclical phenomena in nature and a cyclical view of time could bring. The dancers represent an acceptance of the present moment, even within the uncertainty a situation may bring.

In choreographing this piece, I paid close attention to how the movements of the dancers affected the sense of time. By varying the dynamic of the speed and quality of movement, time around them seemed to momentarily slow, suspend, or speed up, just as your sense of time might seem distorted as you watch the gradual swell and sudden crash of a wave in the ocean, or as you go through different periods in your life. Furthermore, in order to subtly convey the ever-flowing nature of time, the motion never stops onstage: the dancers are always moving. I also made sure to include many circular motifs in the vocabulary, as well as the structure of the piece. By including circles in the formations, movements, and shapes of the dancers, as well as beginning and ending the piece with the same continuous movement across the stage, the cyclical nature of time subtly becomes evident. If time is cyclical, uncertainty is fleeting. If we have trouble seeing this in ourselves, all we have to do is look for cyclical phenomena in nature.


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Creator Bio:

Samantha Waugh is a senior pursuing a BFA in Dance Performance with an English Minor and is part of the University Honors Program. Through Chapman’s dance department, Sammi has had the privilege of performing works by students, faculty, and guest artists and presenting five of her own original choreographic works. Furthermore, as an academically curious and active student, she has presented research at Chapman University’s Undergraduate Research Conference, as well as the National Dance Education Organization’s annual conference. She constantly combines her passion for art with her academic endeavors, and focuses on interdisciplinary projects that bring art into scholarly discussion. After graduation, she hopes to dance professionally and continue making intellectually charged art.

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