Date of Submission

Spring 2019

Academic Programs and Concentrations

Dance; Human Rights

Project Advisor 1

Jean Churchill

Project Advisor 2

Thomas Keenan

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Artist Statement

Greta Grisez

When I say that I am doing a Dance and Human Rights joint senior project people often look at me like I have 3 heads instead of one perfectly sane one that just so happens to want to explore the way we live in this world through both overlapping lenses. In this brain of mine that works just fine, the two subjects are intricately linked.

Due to my interest in this connection, I have become frustrated with human rights work that is often written with a sole focus on the global/big view, distant, technical, theoretical rather than taking a more local, small view, personal, tangible, hands on approach. I believe in the vitality of both theory and practice but think that one is nothing without the other. That is why, as an academic/dancer, I feel it is so important not only to research my topics of interest (in my case, our rights to education, movement, access, involvement in our communities and how they play out in the world versus on paper) but to actually work with real people who have lived these topics, who have had different experiences within authoritarian systems, who have navigated these shaping mechanisms firsthand. In returning to our most raw material (ourselves) with this face-to-face focus, it is possible to directly access, observe, explore, and discuss the impacts on our minds and bodies.

In my research (both embodied and otherwise), I have discovered that the lessons we have learned, the ways we have been tracked and restricted (both physically and mentally), and our understanding of our rights (or lack thereof) have absolutely found their ways into our physical bodies and therefore partly shape the way we move through the world. In collaboratively choreographing/building my dance pieces and in performing them as well, I have been able to explore how our training and experiences accumulate to make us who we are. Exposing some of the layers by bringing our memories back into our bodies results in the uncovering of hidden/buried lessons that have become a part of us. This unearthing or releasing of physical memory leads us to consider/reflect on who we are/were and how we can move forward in our lives with more awareness, how we can create (and embody) change.

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