Susan Sgorbati invites visitors to observe her work with an ensemble of six dancers in Emergent Improvisation. She will introduce the concepts behind the work and show how they manifest in dance.
The practice and performance of Emergent Improvisation addresses the nature of improvisation in dance and music. In this context, improvisation means the spontaneous creation of integrated sound and movement by performers who are adapting to internal and external stimuli, impulses, and interactions.
The phenomenon of emergence is also found in a wide variety of natural settings. Emergent forms appear in complex, interconnected systems, where there is enough order and interaction to create recognizable pattern, but where the form is open-ended enough to continuously bring in new differentiations and integrations that influence and modify the form. Evolution and brain function are two examples.
In linking the creative work of art making to the emergent process evident in nature, there is basis for a rich and textured inquiry into how systems come together, transform, and reassemble to create powerful instruments of communication, meaning, and exchange.
Susan Sgorbati has created a form of dance called “emergent improvisation” that was inspired by dialogues with two distinguished scientists, Dr. Gerald Edelman, founder and director of the Neurosciences Institute, and Dr. Stuart Kauffman, first Macmillan Scholar-in-Residence at the University of Vermont. This work went on a national tour in 2006 and was supported by the Jerome Robbins Trust and Foundation and the National Performance Network’s Creation Fund. She currently is making the film Convergence: The Emergent Improvisation Film, with distinguished filmmaker Elliot Caplan. Sgorbati is a professional mediator, and the Barbara and Lewis Jones Chair of Social Activism at Bennington College, where she has been on the faculty for 25 years. She develops and supervises the curriculum in conflict resolution at Bennington College and a mediation clinic for Bennington County, and mediates for the Vermont Human Rights Commission.