Talia Mason, Kwibuka (Remember)

Kwibuka (Remember) was choreographed and performed at Bates College in 2014. Dancers include: Mary Anne Bodnar, Tara Das, Talia Mason, Laura Pietropaoli, Alison Ricciardi, and Kelsey Schober. Talia Mason extensively studied the Rwandan genocide against the Tutsi with Professor Alexandre Dauge-Roth in a French and Francophone Studies seminar in 2012 before spending a month in Rwanda where she met Elise Musomandera and heard her story firsthand. Elise then published her testimony in 2014. This piece is a physical (re)presentation of Elise’s testimony Le Livre d’Elise. It in no way looks to summarize or reconstruct her experiences, but rather to ask questions and investigate kinesthetic representations of a traumatic life event. The word included on our costumes is “Kwibuka,” which is the Kinyarwandan word for “remember,” and our costumes are purple because it is the Rwandan color of national reconciliation and remembrance.

Artist Statements

I am someone who loves detail; I work with minutia.

I believe in performance art.

I believe in the power of words.

I am a self-proclaimed maker.

I am a poet, and a choreographer, and a visual artist.

I love doodling, and those doodles make their way into my work.

I make work that doesn’t end with a singular period but rather with ellipses.

I am a questioner and the art that I make questions life.

I make work that starts with memory.

I am a collaborative maker.

I am a somatically driven choreographer.

I like playing with the pedestrian.

I am process-oriented and super introspective with my work.

I make idiosyncratic work.

I am obsessed with projects until they are done.

I believe in the ritualistic practice of studio time. My studio time is sacred.

Choreographing is an escape for me.

I am not a thoughtless maker.

I am not interested in simple work.

I do not start with a musical score.

I don’t believe in choreographic limitations.

I am not scared of making work that is different.

I am not as simple as the two sides of a penny.

I do not exist in a bubble. My work lives and breathes outside of the studio.

I am not a rhythmically driven mover.

I am not a linear thinker. Ipso facto, I am not a linear choreographer.

I never ignore my gut.

I am not scared of stillness or speed.

I do not create movement for movement’s sake.

Choreography is my way down the rabbit hole, my looking glass for understanding myself and my body.

I create dances to connect sense memory and experience to the tangible. As an abstract thinker, I move to concretize my world.

Dance for me, is a personal act. My work may speak to an audience, but I am dancing for me, making for myself because I believe in the power of my voice as an artist, and some part of myself believes that I was born to choreograph, as I live and breathe movement in my daily practice.

I am a collaborative and independent maker. I usually begin with writing or a conceptual framework and work through that idea by abstracting it as much as possible. I may write, draw, or dance my ideas out before solidifying them into concrete movement.

I believe in the healing power of studio time. My studio practice involves meditation, Feldenkrais, yoga, and moving somatically. I am someone who moves from my organs and who dances inside out.

Liz Lerman had a critical role in allowing for me to develop my artistic voice. Without CRP and her Toolbox techniques, I would not be the maker or thinker that I am today.

I believe in the power of the collective. By using my dancers’ own experiences as choreographic fodder, I create work that encapsulates all voices. My collaboration is a dialogue, an exchange of voices; my work is a quilt of experiences.

My choreography is crisp, quirky and grounded in the idiosyncratic. Water makes up 60% of the human body. The other 40% of my body is filled with movement.

I choreograph in my sleep, I choreograph for the every day body, I choreograph for myself.

I believe in the power of transcending beyond time and space. Voluntary and involuntary memory as well as pedestrian movement are gateways for my art.

I believe that the work that I make borders performance art and modern dance.

I believe in the power of questions and in the power of work that questions without answering.

I am continually trying to find new ways to dig deeper into what my body can make and how I can continually be pushed physically and emotionally through my creative process.

This process and project were stepping-stones for me. I have learned that memory has this gossamer like quality, and music and text can have a visceral role in adding to the dimensionality of memory.

I believe in the power of listening and giving voice to what has been heard.

See more of Talia’s work

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