By Hannah Bellwoar, Juniata College
Hello my name is Hannah Bellwoar and I’m pleased to have the opportunity today to respond to the piece “Mediums matter: Dance as artistic expression” by Erin Kamp. I’m just going to talk about a few things while I scroll through the piece. It’s such a visual piece even here opening on the splash page we see these dancers with so much emotion, so I feel like it just makes a lot of sense to me to scroll through it and talk about it at the same time.
So here in the introduction again we have a picture of dance where there’s so much emotion being shown right off the bat. Kamp is setting up for us here the relationship between dance and literature that is very intriguing. We’re being challenged to think about dance and literature but also about the nature of multimodal compositions and perhaps most significantly to me we’re being challenged to think about the ways that multimodal compositions connect us to each other, ways that we might not have thought about before such as dancers to writers or choreographers to academics or composers to the audience. I feel there’s something really sparked here in the medium of dance through the act of performance and so I found myself asking a lot of questions about those connections at the end of this section.
The examples that Kamp uses in the piece are very well composed and thought provoking. They bring us as the audience into the performance of the piece and since dance is such a performative medium, I found this to be very successful for me. We’re asked first about tone and context in dance. I was really surprised by this; the terms tone and context those are terms I use often in my writing classes with my students as we’re writing we think about writing we understand writing in audiences using tone and context right that’s how we communicate with audiences but these are not terms that I typically think of with dance so then in watching the video these words are really taking on a new life for me so for context when I watched this first video here I thought about how the dancers are on stage and for tone I was thinking about how they’re wearing different colors. The author asked us then Kamp asked us then to hold on to this clip as being something that’s upbeat and colorful as we move on to the second clip.
Kamp asks us to compare here. For me I found this clip to be very melancholic the costumes and the music really seemed to match that mood and Kamp calls this tone “panic,” which I also thought was such an interesting word to use for a tone. And then we transitioned to this third clip here and once again we’re asked to compare. This clip again is very different it’s light the tone is even a bit humorous the author says this clip includes partnering and acting, and once again I find myself thinking about dance in a new way thinking about acting and dance. There’s a lot of storytelling and performance and dance. I’m not often thinking about dancing that way it’s not a way I would normally associate dance or a word I would normally associate dance with and so again this is really thought provoking for me.
The organization of the piece overall really allows us as readers to watch these videos and to answer these questions for ourselves, but then Kamp tells us her answers to the questions but as she does that she tells us some stories about her own work in dance and the types of stories that the dance that she shows us are telling. And then she proceeds to take a deeper dive and I really love the background images here again of dance and so much emotion they’re really telling so much, these visuals are telling so much to us as we read the piece.
So here she focuses on two concepts within multimodal
performance and multimodal mediums here and she takes a deeper dive into some of her terms–medium multimodal communication art–illuminating for us how the elements of dance are creating a tone for the performance and the tone is really created through these visual modes we have these images in the background. And then it’s also being created through the auditory arts and and aural mode and we have these sound clips here in the background to listen to.
And you know visual and aural modes are also modes that are very significant for writers.
So in the end as we arrive to the end here of the piece I feel I have as many questions as I have answers going into the end of the piece and that’s very significant. I think that is a sign that there is a lot here for us to think about and unpack. I’m really inspired by Kamp’s call here at the end to listen and to see the overlap between multimodal art forms such as dance and writing, and to really learn from the creativity in the other mediums. So I really felt like the piece overall reached me both through the content of Kamp’s argument and also through the way that she designed and performed the argument throughout the piece, and I come away from the piece really wanting to continue to be able to see this overlap and learn from storytelling in many different art forms and mediums.