It was a sincere honour to work with Dong-Won Kim between September and November of 2014. Many thanks to Musagetes, the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation, Silence and Dancetheatre David Earle for this experience.

Reflections on When Rivers Meet:

I feel extremely fortunate to have shared transformative, improvisational time in the studio and on the stage with Dong-Won Kim. In both these contexts, he invited me to question the habits and assumptions that I hold in my body when I dance. As a modern dancer, practicing from a tradition of American and Canadian movement philosophies, I was humbled, challenged and inspired by Dong-Won’s perspectives that both complemented and opposed my own. Drawn from his deep connection to Korean traditions and his own investigations of the body in motion, he generously encouraged my discovery of many poetic moments.

He asked me to find richness in the simplicity of contrast – being open or closed, up or down. To seek understanding of the nature of something, a note or a rhythm or an instrument, by listening and responding with honesty, and allowing stillness to be significant and beautiful. To deepen my experience of gravity and experiment with the feeling of vertical bouncing, existing between suspension and surrender. To be responsible for what I am communicating and not wasting movement, but rather giving each moment and each breath the depth of the emotion that exists within.

I learned to quiet the internal voices of judgment and listen to what was being offered – the music, the silence. There is an authentic response that is buried underneath many layers of expectation. It took my full concentration to not just fill space with abstraction because emptiness is uncomfortable and fullness is vulnerable. I had to let go and realize that I did not need to perform or be consistently interesting, to stop judging each moment for its worth as seen by someone else. Improvising, when it is really about connecting with whom you are creating, is not easy. But in those brief moments when it happens, it is magic. -- GS