Alex Lange '11

Major: Theatre/Dance

Upon entering the Theatre/Dance program, and specifically the MF curriculum, what were your initial reactions/feelings/thoughts? Upon leaving?

I remember initial feelings of liberation in being able to do what I want/needed in relation to my body/moving. Specifically the idea of listening to my body and responding to its needs. Upon leaving, especially at various points during my last semester, I remember feeling frustrated with this idea. Partly, because with such permission comes a lot of privilege, privilege that I don’t know that everyone is ready for (including myself when I was just entering the program). Listening to your body doesn’t excuse you from approaching this form with rigor and discipline. Especially for majors, I’m not sure how to teach both the permission and the rigor that is required to be successful at something.

What is your current career/life path?

I’m working for an Americorps program called Reading Corps and I’ve been sending my work to galleries and answering proposals for artist calls. My plans for next year are to apply to a Fullbright and probably one grad school. If those don’t work out, teach and then try again next year. Keep making art.

How does the Movement Fundamentals (MF) curriculum inform this career/ do you use it in your day-to-day life?

I do little “dancing” in my practice anymore, but my work is still completely about the body and embodying various ideas and experiences. I use ideas from the curriculum constantly in my practice because it is so body centered. It has also shaped how I work with an audience and try to get them to employ their body or experience my work their body.

How would you describe the core philosophy of the MF curriculum at Luther?

The core philosophy I think is about freeing yourself from constraints to explore more directly your own body, as that relates to efficiency, vocabulary, range, performance, etc. Various tools are used from somatic work in order to facilitate this exploration (some are really codified techniques (x-rolls, core-distal work)), but even those more formal techniques are taught in a very personal 1:1 type basis. This focus on an individual’s body allows for the creation of a more holistic artist/performer/dancer (in the sense that I don’t dance like Jane or Amanda, or even a combination of them, but I dance how my body has learned to move through the process of exploring my anatomy/range/path- ways).

What part of the curriculum was most valuable to you?

Movement III. In terms of the practice that I have now, most of the beginning elements were developed there. An interest in improvisation and work in improvisation, a process for making art, and pieces of writing that I’m still mining. Whatever Jane created in that class was something with depth that I’ve still been able to explore and draw from even two years later. For a major, this likely becomes a turning point: rigor is needed to develop something for yourself. It was very sink or swim. Either you dive in because this is what you love or you drown because you expected someone to give you your practice.