Exercising our creativity is at the core of our humanity.  I migrated from Puerto Rico to the United States as a child and the culture shock that I experienced resonated through my bones.  The most effective way I found to establish a sense of self was through movement and dance.  As a result, I am interested in generating experiences through movement that can bridge the individual and the collective leading to a better understanding of our shared humanity.  What happens when a group of individuals move together?  What is revealed?  What “meanings” arise for the choreographer, for the performers, for audience members?  How do these experiences inform us as we imagine and construct the world around us?

Alicia Díaz and Matthew Thornton
Photo: Shaun Schroth

Our society is increasingly mediated by technology. On the one hand we benefit from the creative possibilities that technology provides  and yet at the same time societies suffer the violence and destruction made possible by technological advancements.  My visceral and artistic response to this development is to commit to experiences that allow me to be in the present moment through my dance making, performance, and teaching.  Improvisation and somatic movement practices have served as vehicles for me to investigate the here and now, to develop critical thinking, and to make informed choices that reveal my participation within a collective.  The nature of this kind of creative research implies collaboration with others and seeks to be a democratic practice.

As dance faculty at The University of Richmond, I am challenged every day to put these ideas into practice.  I am developing a pedagogical approach that places embodied learning at the forefront and invites my students to investigate the body itself as a site of knowledge that will inform their personal life and future professional endeavors.