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Cristina Jasen

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I have always known that dance was more than a mere interest--but it was not until later that I discovered it was a way to escape language, a means of discovering my own language. My work aims to enter (and create) a world that is not only wordless-escaping what I always experienced as the limiting, oh-so-frustratingly one-dimensional nature of words?but also, as I came to realize, a way to escape into a world that is spiritually raw and deeply musical.

I am currently interested in creating my own kind of musical, one that includes live trap-set drumming, step/body percussion, tumbling, beat-boxing and opera music. I am drawn to the larger-than-life grandiosity and heightened reality that is characteristic of a musical production, and I hope to create an atmosphere that increases tension and intensifies emotion.

My choreographic work thus far has been, in some way or another, a study of rhythms: I want to create my own rhythmic ?language? with which to open up a new way of connecting to the audience. In my work, I want to expose the often subtle but very real, hidden dialogue between the performer and audience that can happen musically.

In my contemporary dance training, I have run the gamut of dancing with music and in silence; dancing to musical pieces with no discernable nuance, tone or rhythm, and moving to breath, text, or improvised sound. I am grateful to have had the experience of stepping away from music entirely while performing, and asked to experience movement entirely on its own.

Music, however, is a significant part of my process--and it is often what I start with when beginning a new piece. I am interested in going the other way with music, and erasing any ability to separate or distinguish between dance and music: the classical Indian dramaturgical concept, ?Natyashastra,? and ?Nritta,? (meaning ?pure dance?) concedes an inextricable link between music and dance--and can even show the dancer as music-maker. My movement style is said to be sharp, dark and quirky. It is influenced by various modern dance styles, hip-hop, Butoh, Bharatanatyam and trap-set drumming.

I am also interested in synchronization: from a film standpoint, I am interested in watching an image double itself, and the satisfaction of watching simultaneous events unfold and multiply.

Another important goal in my work is to connect viscerally to the female experience: as a female artist, I hope to address the issues of entitlement and indulgence, and the complicated issues surrounding food, sex, pleasure and permission.

My work is very much a chance for me to question and challenge myself as a woman, artist, and social commentator, but it is also part of my own spiritual exploration; however, I always hope to create a sense of liberation for my audience, and allow each onlooker to simply sit back and let the work make an impression on him/her.

I hope that my contribution to the conversation inspires others to offer their take on these concepts, and bring their innovative views to the table on social commentary and the human experience.