Artist Statement

Teaching Philosophy







Iyun Ashani Harrison
Iyun Ashani Harrison
I choreograph dances because that is how I speak most vividly. I experience myself as most holistic and clearly articulated when I move. My work is concerned with athleticism and the potential of the human body – exploring human form and its capacity for deep physicality that conveys emotion, extremeness of bodyline articulation and dynamic shifts in energy and flow. I endeavor to comment on Eurocentric conceptions of beauty by placing Africanist movement values on the classical ballet and traditional modern dance vocabularies that I most often utilize.
Though my work is often formal in its investigation of pure movement and use of bodies in space, I also hope to create work that is accessible to my audience, both in vocabulary and subject. That accessibility must nonetheless be thought provoking – creating spaces for alternative ideas that challenge the conventions presented on the traditional concert dance stage. I challenge ideas of gender in my dances, particularly those that would limit the expressions of masculinity. My themes are often abstract and present themselves as voyeuristic glimpses into the strife and passions of our everyday lives.
Most recently, I have begun exploring dance’s ability to affect the world in a greater way – one that goes beyond simply providing an escape from life. My curiosity has been awakened to common injustices that, as a society, we have come to accept as normal or as rites of passage. I feel compelled to attempt to use my work to challenge these and other issues, such as how people are denied information and are victimized because of their differences and despite extenuating circumstances.
I am not sure if I can provide answers to these questions; however, I hope that in the process of questioning the dance, its purpose, achievements, shortcomings and contributions to the societies in which we present our art that I may arrive at deeper meaning in my work and inspire change. 
  photo by Khalil Goodman