Autobiography – Compositional Study

I was born in Las Vegas, Nevada, and what I remember the most is the physical environment. It is a beautiful place encircled by mountains with blue skies and red rocks. Though I was young and Las Vegas mostly lives in my memory, I still remember the richness of the land. I feel that my love for nature and the environment grew from being surrounded by and living in such a beautiful physical environment. Growing up, I remember playing in the dirt in my grandmother’s backyard for hours and loved learning about the plants and wildlife native to the valley. Trips to the nature center or one of the many state park werIMG_2319e very memorable events for me. My value of the environment came out of the physical space that I was in, and this value still shapes who I am today. My favorite places always seem to be related to nature. I see myself outside, surrounding by the sky and the surrounding environment. I believe that this place attachment forms a large part of my identity and gives reason to why my Autobiography study is centered around those memories.

I remember the iron archways of the rose garden
Back home, its midday and warm outside.
Covered in shades of red –
All of the flowers are in bloom.
I notice all of the flowers and try to commit them to memory.


The first steps in generating movement and ideas for this study started with improvising to a score based on some truths about myself (my favorite color, what I like to learn about, what I would be doing if I wasn’t dancing). I created these pools of movement to draw from that gave fruition to many options of gestures, motifs, phrases, and actions that I was given liberty to use as many choreographic devices on. First drafts for this study were largely based on these improvisations and then juxtaposed with a layout of a setting (of which I chose a garden) and a script of words that I have heard and written in response to this process. These first versions were loosely structured and had very defined sections. To me, these first drafts felt very plain and almost paradoxical in the sense that they were only created all from ideas about me, yet felt very far off from how I sensed myself.

With this process, I believe that there was such a saturation of content created and ready for use. Every little bit and piece about me was available to be integrated, yet my next step was to refine what I had into something truly cohesive. I chose the ideas of place identity and the meaning of my name to hold on to and further develop. With the commitment to this idea, I began to further refine and added elements of music and a costume. The music that I chose to use was a mix of “Hummingbird” by Flatsound and “Lonely” by dandelion hands. These songs not only qualitatively matched my movement, but they were also very spacey, repetitive, and created a surrounding atmosphere that IMG_7123hummed with energy. The costume element that I had envisioned was a pink hand to represent the meaning of my middle name, 美蓮 or “pretty lotus”. I added a pink cloth as a costume element to highlight the hand gestures of lotus and bring attention to my other expressions as well.

I believe that this was one of the most meticulous and linear processes of creation that I had involved myself in. If the stages of the creation process were divided into sections of conception, commitment, and refinement, I think that the place that I feel most comfortable is in the first stage of creating, when reflecting on past works. However, I often find myself stuck in it and find it hard to advance to a developed work. For this Autobiography study, we were given multiple prompts for which we created movement from. I actually accumulated so much content that it made it easy for me to puzzle my work together in a way that I liked and that made sense to me. But, I believe that the editing and refining process truly helped transform this work. By the final draft of this entire project, I felt that the end product not only held truth to who I was, but fully embodied my sense of self.

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