My research interests focus on two tracks: How technology is transforming dance, and how the field of somatics is transforming dance education. These two tracks cross paths constantly and are apropos to any dance department seeking to stay relevant to the trends and needs of the professional dance world. Technology is changing the very nature of how art is made as well as the scope and structure of current dance companies. Somatics has been shaping our technique curriculum for more than a century, but the translation of how it fits into the creation of artists is still developing. As an artist, I weave these questions into my practice and present my findings at conferences in complementary papers and performance. This embodied research, found in the classroom and on stage, will help uncover the curriculum changes for the next generation of dancers.
My past presentations have focused on the work of my collaborative dance company, Mountain Empire Performance Collective, and how we use long-distance methods to create performances. These methods involve both high-tech solutions such as video conferencing and cell phone apps, as well as low-tech solutions such as letter writing. These methods have contributed to both creative endeavors and have also changed the way we approach methods of teaching choreography in workshops, master classes and in college classrooms.
I have also focused on Laban Movement Analysis (LMA) and how it is used to define the space that the human body uses. LMA definitions of space are often used to train the body in technique classes that aim to increase the students’ range of motion and proprioception in a way that transcends style and a specific method of pedagogy. It is also used in theory courses to find a neutral way of defining possibilities for the body to move in order to shape choreography. In my research, I have pushed beyond traditional 3-dimensional Euclidean geometry into 4 dimensions. Using the established framework of LMA, I have developed systems of understanding how 4 dimensions might be translated onto a 3 dimensional body in a similar way we have traditionally translated 1 and 2 dimensions on the body within classic techniques such as Graham and Horton.
My next research project will concentrate on how LMA is used in bridging disciplines between choreography and museum exhibition design. I am currently developing a presentation with an exhibition designer at the Smithsonian Institute as well as weaving the questions into my current classrooms. Future projects will concentrate on how the new movement pathways I have developed to translate 4 dimensions onto the human body can be used to train the body and eye to see the natural expression of dimensions in other movement disciplines.
CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS Drake, Katie Sopoci. perf. “Rise”. Choreo. Katie Sopoci Drake. International Conference on Teaching Somatics-Based Dance, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, NY. 16 July 2016. Performance.
Drake, Katie Sopoci, and Rugh, Rachel. "Distance Methods of Movement Collaboration: Solo/Solo and the Process of Remote Dance Making". Gender, Bodies and Technology Conference. The Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center, Roanoke, VA. 23 April 2016. Lecture Demonstration.
Drake, Katie Sopoci. “Exploring Laban Effort Combinations: A Spatial Affinity for Flow”. National Dance Education Organization National Conference. Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort, Phoenix, AZ. 8 October 2015. Movement Workshop.
Drake, K. Sopoci, Larson, E., Rugh, R., Tait, B. “Necessity Fuels Creativity: Exploring Long-Distance Methods of Dance Collaboration”. Movement Workshop at the National Dance Education Organization National Conference. Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort, Phoenix, AZ. 8 October 2015. Movement Workshop.
Drake, Katie Sopoci. perf. “Event Horizon”. Choreo. Katie Sopoci Drake. International Conference on Teaching Somatics-Based Dance, Dean College, Franklin, MA. 17 July 2015. Performance.
Drake, Katie Sopoci. “Teaching Laban Effort Combinations: A Spatial Affinity For Flow”. International Conference on Teaching Somatics-Based Dance, Dean College, Franklin, MA. 17 July 2015. Movement Workshop.
Drake, Katie Sopoci. “Telephone Dance Project: Playing with Structure in Collaboration”. In Play: Games, Aesthetics, Performance Symposium. Department of English, University of Maryland College Park. Tawes Hall, University of Maryland College Park, MD. 4 March 2016. Poster Presentation and Demonstration.
PUBLICATIONS Drake, K. Sopoci, Larson, E., Rugh, R., Tait, B. “Necessity Fuels Creativity: Adapting Long-Distance Collaborative Methods for the Classroom”. Spanning the Spectrum: Current Practices and Innovation in Elementary through Post-Secondary Dance Education, special issue of Journal of Dance Education. vol. 16, Issue 3, 2016, pp. 94-98.
WORKS IN PROGRESS Drake, K. Sopoci, Drake, S. Sopoci. “Decoding the Movement in Museums: Relating choreographic principles to exhibition design”. Experiential Workshop (awaiting submission).
FUTURE RESEARCH Choreography and Museum Exhibition Design:
Interdisciplinary pedagogical potential
Creative potential for partnerships between choreographers and museums
Paper and performance opportunities
LMA and the 4th Dimension:
Development and publishing of new LMA symbols and scales of movement
Embodied research to identify movement signature of 4-dimensional movement sequences
Inclusion of LMA efforts (weight, space, time, and flow) into the scales of movement and identifying movement signature
Identifying movement signatures in other movement disciplines