Within Grasp

May 28, 2015

As many of you may already know, at present I have a lot at my fingertips. I have a shift in career, as I leave my role as the Operations Manager here at Steps on Broadway—I have cardboard boxes stacked in my apartment waiting to be filled—and I have a few weeks left to drink in the New York City dance community.

As a season of change is upon me, yet again, I desire to hold on… to hold on for dear life. I am thrilled to have the opportunity, upon my arrival in Texas, to work with Deborah Hay, a Judson church postmodern dance artist. Deborah is described time and time again as a choreographic experimentalist, and as I began to dive deeper into her research and her work—I came across an interview that I cannot help but discuss. It spoke to me as both a dance artist and human. The viewpoint discussed in the interview is not only applicable in the context of dance improvisation, but also in the context of life experimentation and attitude.


Hay asks, “ what if the body is the place experimentation takes place?” Hay is making an observation about the practice of dance improvisation and performance—emphasizing the moment, and being at ease with the present. As words contextualized for dance performance roll off her tongue, I cannot help but place them in the context, too, of everyday life. She says, “Celebrate what you don’t know in what you are seeing”.

As audience, often times, we criticize what we do not know instead of celebrating the nuance of possibility. As performer, we stop ourselves in our tracks, trying to see something great and beautiful instead of making room for chance. What if we take each moment in the choreographic seat as an opportunity? What if each phrase we are handed is an opportunity to let go, rather than a place to hold on? Can we as dancers let go of our counts in order to find our rhythm? Can we as humans stop grasping onto definite plans in order to find our way?

Hay hits the nail on the head when she states that our culture is constantly grasping. There is a way in which we want to know, seek to know more, we want to hold on. We tell ourselves, “if only”. If only we do this much more, if only we have a few more things, if only we can get it. What if we do not grasp onto that beautiful moment, and instead notice and let go? Yes, a sort of yogic mantra—a common guided meditation… notice your thoughts, and then let them go. No judgment allowed.

Dancer, human, whoever is reading this—I am with you and I vote that we let go of what we think we want. As soon as we let go of one option, we may find a million more possibilities.

If you loosen your grip—your tight grasp… you may just notice your entire palm is open to new opportunity.

Kylie Phillips
Operations Manager
Steps on Broadway

Within Grasp