Going into CHOP SHOP: Bodies of Work, I wasn’t sure what to expect, and felt slightly intimidated. While I’m not entirely new to dance, having seen performances like the Nutcracker, I still classify myself as a dance newbie; I’m unfamiliar with the movements and lingo. However, I was pleasantly surprised to witness an event curated for people like me, with the purpose of presenting “accessible, creative work from artists that want to share their stories.” Bodies of Work offered an introduction to dance through eight captivating performances by various artists—allowing the audience to explore both the medium and their feelings regarding each piece.
The first piece, Lauren Horn’s Text Messages, consisted of Horn performing impressively rapid dance movements. She would elongate her arms and legs, crawling across the floor while intermittently reading text conversations between herself and her friends. It wasn’t exactly the dance movements that appealed to me in this piece, but rather the concept behind it. The story that Horn told—of texting her friends in a manner that would be funny (or weird) to anyone but those involved—was one that I could relate to on a personal level. I’ve undergone similar conversations that could only be understood by myself and the person with whom I was speaking because of both the oddity of the subject, and lack of context. As a result of such reflections, Horn’s work influenced the audience to think about technology’s role in their lives and their composure when behind a screen. Horn addressed the juxtaposition between face-to-face and face-to-screen communication by embodying dramatizations of topics over texts and emojis (through verbal and physical cues) in her piece. Although there were times in which the conversation was not understandable, the sheer weakness of the pronunciation a result of Horn’s breathlessness while dancing, the piece left a lasting impression and sparked a pondering question among the audience about our use of technology in this day and age.