Jumping across the digital divide
THE WORLD IS BECOMING more and more digitized, but choreographer Reggie Wilson doesn’t see technology as a threat to the dance world at least. On the contrary, “the more technology i s present, people have more of a need for contact,” he says. “For physical relationships, and real present activity. Live activity.”
For the past year, Wilson and his dance company, Foot + Heel Performance Group, have been touring with Citizen, a piece that uses extended solo performances to explore themes of identity and belonging. Technology was a boon for Wilson during the research process— Google and YouTube allowed him to analyze the specific movements of communities around the world.
“I’m not big on narrative or storytelling, but communicating is a key human activity, and what I’ve found is the value in nonliterate cultures. The more we find about nature and human ability to communicate, the more we find out that some of these cultures and communities that we thought were primitive and backward are actually jumping the digital divide” to convey meaning.
This nonverbal, nonliterate communication is what makes dance at once universal and subject to interpretion, and Wilson believes that to be a major strength of the art form: “The poetry of dance is that it opens itself to being relevant to more than one person at the same time.” — OLIVER SAVA