The Blue Road
The Blue Road is a multi-year project that delves into modes of performance practice. This project began as an improvisational practice using 45 body landmarks to guide new movement pathways, with plans to develop this physical research into an evening length work.
DANCED BY: Beau Hancock & Ellie Goudie-Averill
FILMED ON A BOLEX WITH KODAK 50D 16MM FILM BY: Tori Lawrence
FUNDED BY AND SHOT ON LOCATION AT: Stockton University, 2018
The title of this ongoing project references Blue Highways, a book by William Least Heat Moon. In this travelogue, Least Heat Moon navigates the backroads of America in his converted camper van, charting a course less traveled. His title alludes to the fact that on old atlases of America the central highways were demarcated in red and the smaller, less convenient highways colored blue. This purposeful navigation by Least Heat Moon through the less obvious but more rewarding pathways through America mirrors our desire for the dance on camera portion of the project to navigate the less obvious but potentially more rewarding pathways of movement through the body.
For about a year, we have been exploring a physical score, a movement map of sorts, for navigating the infrequently explored pathways of movement through our bodies. This score is a series of 45 physical markers, either joints, limbs, or bony landmarks act as initiating points for movement. To connect to the traveling motif, these physical markers are the highway signs guiding the mover to their next location. We move through these 45 markers, which are purposefully arranged so that our habitual movement patterns are undermined. It is exhilarating, surprising, and shockingly frustrating at times to dance the score, as the task that we have set up is purposefully antithetical to our years of physical training. But as Least Heat Moon found in his adventure through the backcountry of America, taking the long way 'round, while inefficient, is profoundly revealing. He gained a new appreciation for the plurality of the American experience, and we are gaining a new appreciation for the undiscovered potential in our own physicality.
As dance artists, we have been trained into particular patterns, habitual action that can be replicated exactly through a myriad of classes and performances. While this rigid organization is a necessary step in the training of a dancer, it has the stifling effect of inhibiting creative expression once that performer turns choreographer. The choreographic process is driven by movement invention, and while the efficiency and clarity that derives from technical training gives choreography a sense of physical harmony, it does not necessarily lend itself to creating new ideas in the body. As embodied scholars, it is essential that we continue to delve into the depths of physical possibility, mining our practice for both increased information to share with the field and with our students.
In January of 2018, Goudie-Averill performed an early solo version of The Blue Road at a studio showing through Movement Research’s Open Performance series at Eden’s Expressway in New York City. In the summer of 2018, we continued our solo and duet research, and recorded our experience in our rehearsal logs (Beau's Log // Ellie's Log).
Support from a Stockton University Research Grant (summer 2018) allowed Stone Depot to work with noted dance filmmaker Tori Lawrence on video and film studies, one of which can be viewed on this site. Stone Depot will continue their Blue Road investigations as artists in residence at Farm, a dance residency space in Biddeford, Maine in summer 2019.