Prism: A Reflection

(Gotta love the pun in the title, amiright?)

This school year I have had the pleasure of working with Christine Ghinder again for her senior thesis project. I cannot truly describe the evolution of the piece since we began in August/September but it has been a crazy, fun roller coaster ride! “Prism” was a work that aimed to address the intersectionality between dance, music and visual art (painting in this case). What started as a very abstract project became something to visual and visceral that it has altered how I view colors and improvisation forever.

Before I forget, you can check out Christine’s brief documentation of the earlier stages of the project here.

What started as brainstorming how certain colors made us feel turned into literally experiencing how our bodies reacted to different colors. Red turned us all into spies in a 007 movie while yellow legitimately made us nauseous. Green made us eerie while pink made us fun-loving little kids all over again. I wish I was an expert elaborator so I could really explain what it’s like improvising with a colored gel over your eyes for 15 minutes. If you ever get the opportunity (random, I know) I highly suggest you go for it! It’s interesting to see how your body thinks.

There is one thing that I didn’t really consider until show week was over, and that is the fact that this project has changed the way I feel about and approach improvisation. For the final product in the Urban Arts Space the last weekend in January, Maddie Wallace, Maddie Naylor, Ruth Keysor and I improvised dancing while Dylan improvised on his vibraphone and Josh Manculich improvised while painting. For 15 minutes of pure bliss we bounced off of each other to create a coded environment for the audience to both try to understand and simply enjoy.

Four months ago, if you would’ve asked me to improv with over 200 people crowding my personal space I probably would’ve passed on the opportunity. After constantly workshopping in the safest place to explore, good ol’ Sullivant, I’ve become so comfortable with not being precious and just moving without fear of judgement. At first I’m sure that improvising became easier because it was very task oriented, but by the end I was in awe of the fact that I could let myself have an experience with five of my peers in a crowded art gallery. It was also a huge plus that I was dancing with such great people who constantly give off amazing energy.

I want to thank Christine for giving me the opportunity to grow and fall in love with every rehearsal. I want to thank my fellow performers for being so talented and inspiring. Once again we have Ohio State helping me grow into the best version of myself with the best people around.


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