Collaborate / Compete / Critique

As AGA pursues several research questions regarding gender, sports, and dance, one issue that comes up is how ideas of competition, winning, and awards might affect the group’s (normally) collaborative way of working, moving, and presenting their work. What can a dance company that emphasizes “intimacy over display” contribute to conversations about the public, spectacle-driven world of sports?

This “continuous pyramid” score from yesterday yielded some images that captured both of these seemingly unrelated ways to relate to competition, as in this more intimate expression of winning as a product of being held up by others.


As AGA continues to explore movement vocabularies of competition and sports, critiques will emerge, the dance presenting alternative ways to think of “winning.”

When I say “track suit,” you say . . . ?

AGA’s work-in-progress is currently titled Track Suit. Which makes me think of RUN DMC’s Addidas track suits and gold chains from the 1980s. They also make me think of the 2000’s trend for women made popular by Juicy Couture — those matching velour track suits, usually worn with very large gold-encrusted sunglasses, and — in a nod to Run DMC maybe? — gold chains.

AGA’s interest in track suits inspires their embodied exploration of gender, athletics, and nostalgia. In “looking back,” the richest recent use of track suits as nostalgia has got to be music duo Jungle’s videos for The Heat and Platoon. If you haven’t seen this video yet, take a few minutes. I guarantee you’ll be happier than you were before you watched it:

This same feeling of joy and nostalgia is in Platoon.

Platoon turns the idea of the Adidas track suit (watch the video – literally) on its head. This purple and pink track suit-clad young girl shows the track suit as a marker of masculinity that informs the dance, but it’s just that, a costume that helps her get the job done.

Taken together, these videos show how track suits, nostalgia, and gender might form a productive way to think about athleticism and childhood, especially what we take from childhood into adulthood. We’ll see how track suits inform AGAs work this summer going forward, as they work with ideas of nostalgia, sports — and the costumes appropriate for both.

(prepare to) “participate in the apocalypse” – and other scores

AGA is back in the studio with a working plan and a title, “Track Suit.” During the first few days of a residency, AGA tries out scores that come from the idea or theme the group has decided to explore, or from responses to individuals’ impulses (even the dramaturg’s). Today AGA revisited some scores from yesterday:

The difference this year is that each score has an additional direction, that is, “to prepare to. . . ” So instead of “participating in the apocolypse,” the group works to “prepare to participate in the apocalypse” (likewise they work to “prepare to mask the seriousness of the activity,” and so forth). Early days, but one question coming out of this work is, “What is the difference between preparing to do something one knows how to do, versus preparing to do something one does not know how to do as in, “prepare to finish the draft” versus “prepare to harvest the field.”

Barbara Morgan Archive Acquired by UCLA Special Collections

Imperial Gesture 1935/2013 was re-imagined in no small part due to the availability of photographer Barbara Morgan’s documentation. Now researchers will have easier access to her considerable archive of dance photos.

The video below tells us more about this foundational American photographer.

The Morgan family is proud to announce that the Willard and Barbara Morgan Archive has been acquired by the UCLA Library Special Collections at the Charles E. Young Research Library. Finding aids for the archive are currently being developed.

What Poetry / Whose Poetry


Geomancy is a multimedia piece that combines dance, lyric poetry and visual projections. Although it does not follow a narrative, there are seven distinct characters. The character of Elizabeth is emerging as an energetic history-loving traveler whose attraction to World War I battle sites has summoned her to Flanders.


She is met by — or maybe she summons — six ghosts of soldiers and local women who join in her poetic exploration of the land and its landscapes of war.


The women’s presence brings with it a separate kind of poetic language, that is, dance that is inspired by the lyric poems about the space they inhabited and still haunt.


And the soldiers — Higgins, Fletcher, and Wood — challenge the audience to find the poetry in primary documents from the period — military manuals and reports form the field.


One result of our collaboration are powerful moments created when dancers act, and actors dance. All week our actors have been working with several of AGA‘s movement scores, just as AGA has engaged in textual character analysis. This crossover of artistic practices — all inspired by the piece’s poetic text — has marked our process, and so will undoubtedly mark this developing production.