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Embodied Activism: Finding Her Purpose Through Dance

Bhumi Patel '12

Dance
English Literature-Creative Writing

woman in black and white

Bhumi Patel '12

In 2008 when Bhumi Patel (she/they) became a student at Agnes Scott College, 她记得,在那里,她和当时的许多同龄人可以真正做自己. 她还记得,每年在亚特兰大的骄傲游行中,她和斯科蒂的兄弟姐妹们一起散步时所感受到的赋权和支持,以及她为自己的学院有一个妇女研究系(现在是妇女研究系)而感到自豪, Gender and Sexuality Studies).

“My identity as a queer person is so engrained in everything I do, and attending a historically women’s college was transformative,” Patel said. “那里有一种温柔,让我能够解开和探索我所有的身份, and it empowered me to use my own unique voice to do whatever I wanted to do. There wasn’t pressure to fit into the status quo.”

The safe and supportive environment was what Patel needed to thrive. A double major in creative writing and dance, she performed with the college’s Studio Dance Theater every semester, was a member of Mortar Board, Pestle Board and the Aurora Literary Magazine, 每年春天在作家节做志愿者,在《推荐十大正规网赌平台》实习. 安全和包容空间的概念以及对她所处时代的经济和社会挑战的鼓励对帕特尔产生了深远的影响,现在, almost 10 years after graduating from Agnes Scott, her work almost entirely centers around these themes.

作为一名自由舞蹈作家和演员,她每天都把从两个专业中学习到的技能结合起来, and as artistic director at her dance studio pateldanceworks. With an M.A. in American Dance Studies from Florida State University and an M.F.A. in Dance from Mills College, 帕特尔也是加州西谷学院的舞蹈副教授, where she now makes her home. 从努力为所有学生创造一个无障碍的学习环境,到编舞和表演作品,“在具体化研究和行动主义的交叉点集中边缘化的声音。,” Patel calls her work her activism.

“有时感觉我在用艺术来回应我所目睹的不公正,或者我想要的社会变革,或者我认为我们可以共同创造的未来——舞蹈是我讨论这些的媒介。,” Patel said.

“There’s this perception about what activism is or isn’t that I think is so unnecessary; Activism is any way in which we push against the status quo or ask the difficult questions.”

Igniting Her Passion

Patel had danced in high school, including on a competition dance team, 但在阿格尼斯·斯科特,她也想在学术界追求事业的愿望被点燃了,因为她上了一门Labanotation课, 一种基于符号的舞蹈,本质上是一种记录人类运动的系统. Taught by Professor of Dance Bridget Roosa, Agnes Scott的Labanotation是最受舞蹈学生欢迎的舞蹈课程之一.

“严格的舞蹈过程和我在艾格尼丝·斯科特上的所有课程都为我从事艺术事业做好了准备,” Patel said. “他们鼓励我不要害怕要求一个更美好的世界,不要害怕提出困难的问题. I think I became an activist at Agnes Scott.”

Dance classes at Agnes Scott can range from 5-21 students per class, 而在任何时候,都有10到20个舞蹈专业的学生. 学院的舞蹈剧场由25名成员组成,每年上演两出主要的舞蹈作品. Roosa, 她在过去的20年里一直在艾格尼丝·斯科特教授舞蹈,最近还获得了该学院2020年火神教学优秀奖, describes her students as inquisitive, always hungry for more and open to trying new things. 她有意地教学生如何使用运动作为一种表达形式来参与他们时代的社会挑战. Most recently, in October 2020, 工作室舞蹈剧院制作了一场名为“为人民”的Facebook Watch Party表演,以回应当前种族主义盛行的环境, political unrest, and a global pandemic were at the forefront. Performers danced with “a hope for humanity, unity and positive change.”

woman dancing

Movement as Legacy

Patel describes dance as something she uses now for the pursuit of liberation, 其目标是“通过表演和运动教育来支持边缘化和被压迫的声音”.” “Movement can be healing, and a form of processing and digesting the world around us; plus, I feel good when I move – movement keeps me coming back to my physical body,” Patel said. “We learn about the world through our body, but as adults, we lose the bridge between our thinking brains and our bodies; my work seeks to rebuild this bridge.”

她的工作室pateldanceworks是一家以项目为基础的舞蹈公司,成员们根据可用性轮流参加和取消项目. Patel writes, choreographs, directs and performs dance works for the studio, 包括以社会正义和公平为中心的作品,如“帝国播下的分裂”和“所有我们永远不会成为的东西”.” For the last three years, Patel has curated “fem(me),” a performance of femme-identified, radical queers for SAFEhouse Arts. Since its founding in 2017, pateldanceworks已经在超过15个目的地展出了作品,包括LEVYsalon, The San Francisco International Arts Festival, Studio 200 and RAWdance’s Concept Series, and is, according to Patel, the accomplishment she is most proud of.

Among other things, 帕特尔一直活跃在旧金山湾区,是“围绕种族跳舞”(Dancing Around Race)的成员。“围绕种族跳舞”是一个舞蹈研究协会的社区参与驻地组织,它研究了围绕舞蹈公平的问题,讨论了系统性种族主义如何在高等教育中出现, 这是一群以女性为身份的艺术家,用讽刺歌曲创作关于性别暴力的现场表演, dance and physical theater. She has had her dance writing published in the San Francisco Chronicle, Life as a Modern Dancer, Contact Quarterly and InDance.

woman standing still against backdrop of lights

Empowering Creativity

In the fall of 2020, 帕特尔返回(通过Zoom)艾格尼丝·斯科特作为客座讲师,在鲁萨教授的中级/高级现代舞课上教授体现即兴表演. 帕特尔将这种基于感觉的工作描述为对于学生在虚拟学习环境中“重新参与他们的三维身体”非常重要,这是由于大流行所要求的. 她的目标是让学生们闭上眼睛,按照她的提示想象在自己的身体上创造运动,从而把目光从屏幕上移开.

Even if none of her students end up pursuing dance as a career, 帕特尔表达了她的满意,至少挑战他们成为创造性的思想家. “We need creative thinking in the world, it’s so necessary in every field, and it’s important that students feel empowered to engage with their work. 我们生活在一个快速发展的世界,这个世界告诉我们,我们也必须快速行动. 但我的建议是,花点时间给自己一些空间,让自己深入思考,真正追随自己的爱好, want and truly care about.”

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