Eastern Michigan University junior and dance major Chloé Gray performed her self-choreographed solo piece at the East Central American College Dance Festival on March 2. Out of 45 dances, Gray’s was selected, along with 10 others, to be performed at the concluding Gala Concert on March 5.
“It is the first time Eastern has ever sent a solo to ECDF and the first time Eastern has ever been in the Gala Concert,” Gray says.
Gray’s piece, titled Uterus=Hysteria, was one of two solos chosen for the Gala Concert, and was also chosen as first alternate to be performed at the national conference in Washington D.C.
Gray says she was confident when she performed at the festival, but wasn’t expecting anything. “I’m not the kind of person to say I have this in the bag unless I have it in the bag, ya know?” Gray said.
After performing, Gray says she was reassured by positive feedback from the judges and was in a really healthy place.
“She said she could really tell all of my movement was initiated from the inside and then coming out,” Gray says about comments from one of the judges.
Gray says another judge, Larry Lavender, told her that he could tell that she was developing her own movement vocabulary, which she says is a great compliment, especially for a dancer of her age.
Gray says she worked with dance professor Joanna McNamara on getting her movements to where she wanted them to be.
“If I move the pelvis, how do I make this movement travel throughout the rest of me?” Gray says about questions she addressed when choreographing.
Gray says that a lot of inspiration for the piece was centered on the popular idea that women are overemotional, especially when they are menstruating.
“A lot of my movement in my piece was initiated with my pelvis,” says Gray. “I definitely, in moments of my piece, embodied this idea of hysteria.”
Gray also drew on her own personal experience when creating the piece, specifically on reactions she gets from others when they learn that she does not see herself having children.
“It is a little frustrating and taxing to have people tell you that they know what’s best for you and for your body.”
Gray said she hit a breaking point with people who ask her when she plans on having kids and how she sees that fitting into her dance career. She said that they often tell her that she’ll change her mind about not having children.
“This piece is about me reclaiming my body, myself and my sexuality,” Gray says.
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