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Winter 2003
Volume 40, No. 2

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PCM Issue Archive

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PCMOnline Editor
Sarah Dolinar

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Blackbird Whistling...

“At some point in our lives, we all want to fly...”

While some professors might go to a lab to conduct research, Laurie Cameron does hers in a dance studio. As an associate professor in the Theatre and Dance Department and coordinator of Pomona’s dance program, she spends most of her time (when she’s not teaching) choreographing and studying movement.

In November, Cameron premiered a new dance piece at two dance festivals in Southern California: the SOLA Dance Festival in Torrance and the Dance Spectrum LA Festival in Hollywood,. Her company consisted of three Pomona graduates, Dan Senning ’00, Jerrad Roberts ’01 and Marla McClure ’00.

Titled “blackbird whistling, or just after,” the new piece started purely from movement. She was in the studio working, just playing around when the idea struck. After coming up with the basic movements, she started working with dancers. “Once I put the movement on the dancers and then looked at it, I started to realize that the movement suggested some birdlike elements.”

So, she left the studio and headed for the library to do some mining.

While dance is primarily about movement, as a choreographer, Cameron spends ample time in the library “mining,” or collecting material to help develop a kernel of an idea to a flowing and vibrant dance. This time around, she drew from several literary sources, including a Wallace Stevens poem, “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird,” and a Persian epic poem called “Conference of the Birds.”

Back in the studio, Cameron’s research began to feed the dance movement in subtle ways. “Just as these literary sources are not pieces about birds specifically, my piece is not about birds either. Even though it has imagery that draws from those sources, the piece really draws from elements of human behavior.”

To put it simply, she says, “At some point in our lives, we all want to fly.”

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