Margaret Jenkins, “Intrepid Explorer”
As the Artistic Director of the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company, choreographer Margaret Jenkins finds that making dance is a provocative journey requiring a special kind of vulnerability.
What do I do? I make work with a host of wonderful dancers and collaborators. I take time when I can, to wander and imagine. And, like many artists, I also spend time finding the resources to support my work. Any one day is a balance between going into the studio and wearing the “asking” hat.
When I can, I take the time to wander and imagine. My mind and heart are full of movement.
I’ve been dancing since I was four and so there’s really never been a conscious time in my life when I wasn’t dancing. And although I’m no longer a performer, my mind and my heart are full of movement and all the impulses that are necessary to stay in shape.
I think the role of the arts is vast and plays so many roles within a culture, but at its best it provokes and inspires and provides another way of seeing and being in the world.
As a choreographer, the working process, getting inside an idea and the physical reality of that idea is always a provocative journey.
As a choreographer, the working process, getting inside an idea and the physical reality of that idea is always a provocative journey. The question is always how to live a more engaged life and the arts are our lens toward an answer. When I am at work making work, I need to have the courage to be vulnerable, to not know where I am going, to stay open to the surprises that always accompany my attempt to discover something that I have heretofore, not known or understood. I start somewhere, and the mark of a successful work is what it reveals.
The question is always how to live a more engaged life and the arts are our lens toward an answer.
My new work, Light Moves, is a process of ongoing discovery in that way. Light Moves starts with the understanding that cycles of light are in fact a metaphor for the day, the hours of a day, for that which we understand, that which catches us by surprise, and the movement of light as it reflects fleeting moments of perception: “Oh, I understand what I’m moving through, I see what’s going to happen.”
But Light Moves also touches on those inevitable moments of darkness when you don’t have any kind of clarity or way to predict what’s coming next. But there is always, somewhere, an eclipse.
And all this work, the asking, the discoveries, just doesn’t happen out of context from the people who make the work: the dancers, the artists, the poets, the composers. Every one works for much less than they should, but they commit because of what it gives them back, the mercurial and the tangible.
The dancers and the other artist collaborators are the biggest treasure, the greatest privilege of doing what I do.