Learning to Be Human: Being.

“I was so caught up with ‘Why can’t I just be happy and normal?’ We’re trying to hide who we actually are, trying to project the person we want to be,” says Kelsey Diane Hamon, one of the choreographers and co-producers of Being. A split-bill production, Being. Examining Existence runs April 1-2 at Velocity Dance Center and features a collaborative duet by Hamon and Sarah M.F. Oxford, as well as a group work by Angelica DeLashmette, the show’s co-producer. Both works will be layered with multi-media collaborations: DeLashmette’s ensemble piece is set to an original sound score by Madeleine Cocolas and incorporates projections by media artist Bryon Carr. Hammon and Oxford’s duet invites the audience to interact with an installation by Antonia Price, which they will also utilize during the performance. SeattleDances caught up with Hamon, Oxford, and DeLashmette, to hear more about the show.

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Choreographers Sarah M.F. Oxford and Kelsey Diane Hamon
Photo by Michele Smith Lewis

Learning to Be Human began as a cerebral exploration of “why we’re weird,” Hamon and Oxford say, laughingly. “We’re trying to find meaning and purpose in existence,” Hamon adds. Coming from a process that begins from the outside and looks inward, the two collaborators arrived at an existential inspiration: “an exploration of the self through the relation of the self to others,” says Oxford. Their process began nearly a year ago, with lot of meeting and talking about their struggles, fears, and anxieties. “I’ve told Sarah things I haven’t told anyone,” Hamon reflects. Using video recording of lengthy improv sessions, the two slowly started piecing together a work as a personal profile, a self-portrait of their inner lives, starkly different from the version of self they allow the outside world to see. Price’s installation artwork may involve a series of small mirrors and a directive for the audience to interact in a way that invites them to share their own secret selves. As Hamon and Oxford have progressed in creating this work, they are realizing the extraordinary number of people who also struggle to cope with their inner demons.

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Angelica DeLashmette’s work in rehearsal
Photo by Kaitlin (KJ) Dye

At the same time, DeLashmette has been exploring a similar theme while using the opposite paradigm, from the inside out. “Bryon Carr is doing body mapping media,” DeLashmette says, “showing how at Creation we were all disorganized particles, until we came into being as organized matter.” With her work, DeLashmette is broadening her scope to an eternal and global picture. “As individuals, we are eternal beings, without a beginning or an end,” says DeLashmette. Therefore, our relationships to one another also are everlasting. DeLashmette has been working with circles in movement and formation, in order to delve into her vision of time as a relative concept. “Where we came from is timeless, and where we’re going is timeless,” she adds.

Unafraid to tackle one of humanity’s broadest and eternally-baffling questions—existence—Being. promises to be both a visually stimulating and intellectually intriguing event. For more information and tickets, please visit HERE. To help support the production via their Indiegogo campaign, see HERE.

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