As a practitioner and choreographer of contemporary dance, I am always thinking about what the dance can be. I find the social deeply rooted in the work of my choreography, the work of mentorship, the work of being in company with others. Social choreography focuses on transforming social structures through aesthetics. It explores the fundamental role of embodiment in ethics, relations, and governance. As an interdisciplinary approach, this practice involves research and experimental ways to learn, move, and organize in response to the pressing issues of our time—from climate change to immigration to systemic racism and beyond. 

Research, performance, and activism are tools with which to build the stories that can connect us. Investing in time-intensive projects to gather those stories has become a lynchpin of my practice. From this follows a series of intuitive studio processes to uncover how to share those stories. All this exists with the goal of giving others the opportunity to reconsider their place in the story as well.

This work straddles the make/think divide, collecting ideas, making meaning, and composing experiences for myself and my viewers to engage.  I am a maker who sees the essential place of craft and aesthetic maturity in visual, time, and body-based work. Objects and artifacts become the narrators. Collecting and storytelling are ways of making more than sense—they are ways to cope with our feelings of isolation and division. They are ways to rewrite the story.

Our bodies are themselves a collection of emotions and artifacts that tell the story of our lives. Our bodies are immediate, a physical presence with the power to intervene in systems much larger than themselves. Our bodies can bring the incomprehensible paradoxes of our times to a human scale. Listening with the body is a radical practice that can open more ears and create greater possibility for civil discourse. My work is about the body—the body alone, together, other bodies, the gendered body, the sick body, absent body, violated body, fragmented body, forgotten body, new bodies, that lead to whole bodies, that lead to a bodily foundation for communication, for encounters, for response.

Through the use of movement and listening with the body, my work poses questions about one’s place in society, the role of personal narrative, and the symbolic gestures that allow for a theatrical engagement with the everyday.  I shape bodies in motion, images on paper, and situations as social. 

—Victoria Bradford Styrbicki