Blog: MCA DNA

Neighborhood Dancing

By Victoria Bradford

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Victoria Bradford develops microdances in public spaces to explore how the urban landscape can influence improvised movement. Bradford joins us at the MCA on April 15 to perform her Neighborhood Dances using the public's contributions as a basis for the event. Below is an excerpt from a text she developed describing its origin and evolution. To learn more about the dance or how to submit your own version, visit the event page.

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One Chicago summer, without a plan, I packed my things on a truck, put myself on a plane, and headed home to Louisiana. I felt compelled to return.

 
 
Moving home meant moving into my parents garage apartment. Meant losing my independence and sense of adulthood. Meant losing my space to work and community within the arts. Meant getting lost, a hard reset. Where to begin?

 
 
I didn’t even feel like dancing, but I decided to try. The only place I could figure was the driveway at my parents house. It was March. I probably danced there in that burgeoning heat, on that wedge of concrete, neighbor’s fence in the backdrop, for a month before anything changed.

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One day I walked to the front of the house, on the path to the front door, and set up a shot for video there. I captured it in Instagram and that became Neighborhood Dance #1. Following that I was still tentative, moving from front to back to side of house—eventually, the neighbor’s yard seemed feasible. Then the whole neighborhood came into view and I began to realize the potential.

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I’ve now danced over 600 days, from Louisiana to Chicago, rarely missing a beat, failing at so many other things but at least finding my way through for 15 seconds each day. I still have questions about where I should be and whether home can truly be a home for me again. But I’ve lived the question out in every dance, marking space, searching and trespassing, excavating my body in relation to its surrounds.

 

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You see, where I come from, there is no word for this that I do.

Artist means something different.

So perhaps I’ve gone back to being a person.

 
 
A person there . . .

An artist here . . .

 
 
Something caught in between worlds, wandering, witnessing, responding.

Neighborhood dancing.

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This excerpt was taken from a text originally performed at the Art Associates Gallery in Lake Charles, Louisiana, at the opening performance and reception of a solo show featuring Neighborhood Dances.