by Rhea Daniels
Tere O’Connor has been a major influencer on the American dance scene since the 1980s. He continuously finds inventive ways of creating and presenting work. Next week his company performs the last dance work of the Next Wave Festival with BLEED, the culmination of a two-year endeavor that collapses three of his dance works—Secret Mary, poem, and Sister—to form a new choreographic language. Tere took the time to answer a few Next Wave questions as the company prepares for its debut in the Fishman Space.
What is it about your works Secret Mary, poem, and Sister that made you want to blend and explore their themes in BLEED?
I don't look at "themes" necessarily in my work. I am interested in the specific ways that information accrues in a dance or through a series of dances, constantly blending and braiding potential readings. What rings through from memory as a dance continues? What lasts? How does what one expected to happen in the early parts of a dance hold up at the end? These ideas apply from dance to dance as well. In BLEED I am creating a situation where I can ruminate about this area of choreographic poetics and value it.
Which artist do you admire from a field other than your own?
Pier Paolo Pasolini (one of many).
What's the biggest risk you've taken?
Becoming a choreographer who works with a movement-centered practice in a non-commercial vein. For some reason, dance is perplexing for many, many people. But for me it is an escape from pragmatism, materialism, and a need that some of my fellow humans maintain—to believe there is an order to things. It is a risk because a choreographer who works with abstraction as a generative force needs to walk a fine line between explaining the work against a barrage of misunderstanding or letting the work be and hoping audiences will understand that dance might have other objectives beyond the explanatory.