Jennifer Monson holds a workshop to bridge the gap between dance and art
Written by Edward Huang
Just as the weather began to get chilly in Champaign-Urbana, a small group gathered in the lobby of the Krannert Art Museum with excitement and curiosity. Jennifer Monson, the renowned dancer, choreographer, and professor stood in the middle of the group, calling order to what was bound to be an interesting and transformative workshop. Her goal was to show us the connection between dance and art, and how we can discover that through a certain set of activities.
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.