To be a dancer means embracing the actual experience of living in a body. Body, not as known territory, but as the unconscious – repressed unconscious and that which is not yet formulated. As with our emotions, we don’t have a choice about what our experience is. We have a choice whether to feel, but not what we feel. We can choose to relate to the experience of being a body, being in a body, but we cannot choose what that experience will be. A dancer celebrates this process, values the voice of the body. In a culture that dissociates us from anything we can’t control this is odd or strange. This is queer. It is less queer to master accepted forms of movement – ballet, jazz, yoga. The media has turned these into standards to master. But for those of us who listen to the unknown texts of unfamiliar experience, who are interested in getting to know what is not already formulated, who find music and beauty in the voice of the body and who expose, through performance, this unpretty, gritty, sometimes vague, but authentic emergence – let’s face it, we’re queer.
Kris Wheeler came to Seattle to study Skinner Releasing Technique in 1974 and became immersed in improvisation through performing with both the American Contemporary Dance Company (ACDC), aka Skinner Releasing Dance Company, and Robert Davidson Dance Company. For the past 26 years she has also been a psychotherapist in private practice.