EMERGENT IMPROVISATION: ON THE NATURE OF SPONTANEOUS COMPOSITION WHERE DANCE MEETS SCIENCE
CHAPBOOK COLLABORATION WITH SUSAN SGORBATI AND EMILY CLIMER
When we decided to write this chapbook, we tried to imagine who our audience might be. Mostly, we thought, they will be dancers, particularly improvisers, since movement has been central to the discovery of this form of expression: emergent improvisation. But then we started thinking about all of the scientists, musicians, and city planners who might be interested. Finally, we decided it was for anyone interested in a dialogue about improvisational processes and the meaning carried within them.
Susan Sgorbati has been involved in the field of dance for over thirty years as a choreographer, artistic director, dancer, and teacher. Since 1983, she has been on the Dance Faculty at Bennington College in Vermont where she has co-taught numerous interdisciplinary courses with biologists, musicians, visual artists, and anthropologists. Her focus on dance improvisation for performance coalesced into an on-going research into the relationship between dance and music improvisation and the science of complex systems, which she named Emergent Improvisation (EI). Her initial meetings, a decade ago, with eminent scientists in the field of complexity, Dr. Bruce Weber, Dr. Gerald Edelman, and Dr. Stuart Kauffman, inspired the direction and naming of her work and she sustains dynamic on-going dialogues with each of them and others. The Emergent Improvisation Project continues to forge new connections both nationally and internationally with organizations and institutions devoted to interdisciplinary research, education, cultural development, and unique platforms for performance.
Emily Climer is a dancer and writer based in Brooklyn, NY. She has recently shown her choreography as part of Sundays on Broadway (NYC), Split Bill at Triskelion Arts (NYC), The Third Barn (PA), and the School for Contemporary Dance and Thought (MA). As a performer, she has worked on projects by Mina Nishimura, Emma Rose Brown, Susan Sgorbati & Elliot Caplan, Tyler Rai, and Tori Lawrence & Co. Emily regularly collaborates with improviser Marie Lynn Haas, as well as teaches Susan Sgorbati's Emergent Improvisation. She is an administrator for Cathy Weis Projects. In addition to her dancing, Emily writes and edits materials for emerging readers as part of the Humanities Team at Great Minds, an education non-profit. She has a BA from Bennington College and an MFA from the University of Iowa.
drawings by Marie Lynn Haas and Emily Climer; photographs by Terry Gannon