[-empyre-] Agreement within difference

Norah Zuniga Shaw zuniga.11 at osu.edu
Fri May 15 01:14:50 EST 2009

Our choreographic resource for our work is One Flat Thing, reproduced
(OFTr), an ensemble dance that examines and reconfigures classical
choreographic principles of counterpoint. In OFTr counterpoint is defined as

³a field of action in which the intermittent and irregular coincidence of
attributes between organizational elements produces an ordered interplay."

Three structural systems interact to create the counterpoint of the dance:
movement material, cueing, and alignments. These systems are detailed in our
introductory essays on the site. I'd like to share more about alignments
here because they are fundamental to how we conceive of, enact, and theorize
counterpoint. The visual languages we created really do express this stuff
best but here are a few experts from the words we use as
anchors/frames/coordinates. Bill and I evolved this vocabulary together over
a few years in intensive writing sessions and in our working practices with
the team at OSU in creating the visualizations. Alignments are short
instances of synchronization between dancers in which their actions share
some, but not necessarily all, attributes. Manifested as analogous shapes,
related timings, or corresponding directional flows, alignments occur in
every moment of the OFTr and are constantly shifting throughout the group.
The term alignment emerges from the working practices of the Forsythe
Company. Other words the company uses to describe this phenomenon include
hook-ups, agreements, and isometries. Within the thousands of alignments in
the choreography, approximately 200 can be understood as a subset called
sync-ups. These are moments in the choreography when a dancer¹s task is to
briefly join with another individual or group. Alignments are a concrete
phenomenon in the dance and also a construct that I'm finding useful in
thinking about understanding complex relationships in many arenas and
specifically in interdisciplinary collaboration.

A great tool for interactively exploring how we think about counterpoint and
alignments is the Counterpoint Tool on the site:



More information about the empyre mailing list