...you are judged to be going against the flow because you are insistent., 2017
Documentation of installation for In Dialogue at Art Museum, University of Toronto
The title for the project ... you are judged to be going against the flow because you are insistent. is a quote from Sara Ahmed, a feminist scholar whose writing centres experiences and affect, emotion that is both personal and shared in and through publics. I quote Ahmed at the beginning of a soon-to-be published text called "A Glossary of Insistence," that is a thinking-through ideas surrounding the relationship between Indigenous peoples and the forces/structures that attempt to contain us - legislation, Anthropology, museums and ballet. Excerpts of the glossary were utilized in He was a poet and he taught us how to react and become this poetry, a video installation and performance with four dancers at La Biennale de Montréal this past fall. The text I performed in this work centred on Maria Tallchief, the first American prima ballerina, who worked with George Balanchine, "the father of American ballet" in the New York City Ballet beginning in the 1940s. The late Maria Tallchief was Osage, and I was compelled by the choreographer's understanding of the potentiality of the dancer’s body – Maria was phenomenally athletic and fearless – and Maria's belief that Balanchine transformed/disciplined her body through specific training techniques. This relationship of an Indigenous body - Maria Tallchief's, in relation to a structure - Balanchine's ballet, and the ways in which she exceeded the structure and its force upon her (including its gaze) were at the centre of the conversations I had with the dancers over the course of the project. These conversations, about the violence of ballet or the hierarchy of the studio, catalyzed this project.