Jennifer Monson shares her insight on how movement of the body can change the experience of art.
written by Allison Spillane
This experience was a new one. Previous shows that this class had scheduled I had some semblance of expectation, but I went into Jennifer Monson’s dance workshop having no preconceptions of what we would be doing. Having absolutely no background knowledge of dance, I must admit I was somewhat apprehensive about the activities she had in store. However, despite my fears, I found the movement in this event quite refreshing. The lense of dance really changed the way that I experienced the art.
On Thursday October 3rd at the Krannert Art Museum we went to a dance Workshop taught by Jennifer Monson. This experience was unlike any other and it felt very freeing and liberating. I had never gone to a dance workshop and going to this one was unlike anything I thought it would be.
Jennifer Monson expresses a way of experiencing art through movement at her dance workshop at Krannert Art Museum on October 3rd, 2019.
We began outside in a small patch of grass outside of the museum. We were instructed to close our eyes and listen to the sounds of our surroundings and to face various directions. While the group was listening to their sounds, I focused my attention to the leaves rustling, cars driving by, and crickets chirping. It felt very relaxing and stress-relieving. Considering my stressful week that consisted of studying for midterms and completing assignments, this experience was a breath of fresh air.
Then, we went back into the museum and entered the art gallery. We were told to find a partner and take turns watching each other do whatever we wanted with our eyes closed. It was an opportunity to express ourselves and follow our instincts. Next, we were given a packet of prompts and were sent off to find a piece of artwork we liked and stare at it before answering a prompt in the packet. My partner and I chose a large oil painting that features two individuals bracing each other. Looking at the prompts, I chose the one that required me to draw my response to the artwork. Reflecting on my first impressions of the artwork, I remember drawing my attention to the detailed hands and less-distinct eyes of the individuals. I then turned to my paper and began drawing a hand and eye.
By thinking about my own body and movement in relation to the artwork made me feel more connected to the piece as well as allowing me to look at a piece of art in a different perspective. I focused more on the emotions conveyed within the artwork as well as my reaction in response to a piece of art.
This event was by far the best event. I think what I liked the most was being able to either get up and dance or just sit and relax and watch everything around me. It was a very free event where anybody could participate and have fun with their friends. I really enjoyed just sitting down and watching everything. The music was also nice and it surprisingly didn’t feel long and drawn out. This was the perfect event to end the semester with.
In retrospect, I believe that last night’s event was my
favorite one of the entire semester. It
felt nice to be so close to what was happening. Also, this was not a structured
event, it was more of an impromptu performance.
All of the people dancing and mingling with each other created a
positive energy in the space that spread to everyone attending, whether it be
other dancers or the people watching, like myself. There were people of all
ages, races, nationalities and cultures. Everyone was just there to enjoy
themselves and have a good time. Some people came alone and others in groups,
but everyone was quickly swallowed by the dance floor and welcomed by all. Even
if you were not dancing, it still felt like you were involved simply by
watching. I think that this was a great choice of a final performance for the
Once I entered into Krannert, there was loud music, chairs, and colorful lights near stage 5. People in attendance were not here to see a play, or opera, nor orchestra. This was a night of fun, and lots of people danced all night long together.
What a great way to end the semester with a night full of dancing. Latin Dance Night, co-sponsored by the UIUC’s La Casa Cultural Latina, took place in the Krannert Center lobby. There was a large open dance floor surrounded by tables and chairs for people to sit, drink, and watch.
On April 4, 2019, I went to the Boneyard Arts Festival;
Colab Dance, Music and Costume Performance at the Krannert Museum for the
Performing Arts. If I had to describe the
whole performance in one word, I think I would choose to say that it was
peculiar. Everything from the location to the attire to the actual performance.