“The Language of Movement” : Exploring States of Mind Through Poetry and Dance

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Scholten, Hannah
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Poetry and dance are two of the most influential aspects of my life. In oscillations between different states of mind, poetry and dance have been constant, grounding methods of both expression and release of emotions. For this project, I created a mixed-media collection of poetry, performance, and video that intertwines the different forms and explores approaches to language and narrative. In this process spanning different art forms, I discovered how our creation and reception of language is changed through the means of various media and how these diverse methods of presentation can disrupt preconceptions of distinct genres and their traditional modes of communication. Alongside creating a collection of poems, I choreographed a series of dances that coincide with the poetry shaped under the theme ‘states of mind.’ A selection of poems was turned into video poems showcasing the text through images, music, and words both written and audible to be displayed between the dances. Presenting the poems through these videos aims to bridge the gap between written language, performance, and technology, showcasing how these forms work together in exhibiting various elements of a narrative traversing through ‘states of mind.’ I incorporated six different states of mind that move through feelings of calmness, dreams and the unconscious, despair, self-discovery, restoration, and support for others. I felt that each of these states of mind speaks to how language changes through our fluctuating thoughts and how we can use words to heal ourselves and those in our lives. With our continuous change of emotions, I wanted to explore how words and the body are shaped under each state of mind. Although I had been involved in poetry and dance prior to this project, this was the first time that I consciously fused the two types of art together. I soon realized that poetry and dance shape each other more than I was aware of, and the combination of the two helped me view each form from a different perspective. As I am writing poetry, I am conscious of the ways in which the body moves and creates shape, just as the words evoke movement and physical space on the page. As I am choreographing, I have written words to expand upon and represent by way of the body. The translation of words and images through video creates an alternative opportunity for presentation, which ties in the visual and auditory aspects of both poetry and performance, and it unifies the different art forms in a synthesis of body and written language. The multimedia facet of this collection has challenged me to be mindful of movement, form, and image within poetry.
xii, 33 p.
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