The moment that settled the question of what I would do my final project on was a groggy morning in the men’s restroom of my dorm. Urine sprayed all over the floor, snot shooting into paper towels, unsightly physiques wrapped in towels, hair that should never see the light of day. This was the aesthetic that inspired me. I figured the men’s restroom is a place where people are, to a physical degree, at their worst. Granted, the goal is to improve while in the restroom, but of course, it has to get worse before it gets better. The idea that people are in the bathroom, being themselves, naked, taking care of business, along with other people doing the same thing made me consider how it made me feel to be a part of it, and how it made everyone else feel. Some of the sights and sounds I am subjected to in the men’s room make me feel uncomfortable: either slightly grossed out or completely repulsed. Taking into consideration that people are affected by events taking place in the bathroom, I decided that I could choreograph a piece that recreated that aesthetic.
Before working with Bobor (my classmate) to create movement for the piece, I set out to create my own sound score to work with. Being low budget, low tech, and inexperienced, I concealed my digital camera in the pouch of a big hoodie, and spent some time in the all-so-inspiring men’s restroom at eight in the morning on a weekday. Careful to keep my camera hidden, I did my best to record as many sounds as possible (including a few flushes of my own). I was able to edit the sounds to an acceptable point and create a track. However, the barebones of some bathroom noises did not feel adequate. So I then employed my friend to improvise on his electric guitar to record some abstract and random “musical” sounds. I then layered the guitar over the flushes. Still unsatisfied, a friend introduced me to a track of a man singing in the shower: perfect. The three aspects layered together worked for me, or at least well enough.
Working with Bobor on some movement proved to be efficient and easy. I chose movement that didn’t require ballet or too much modern technique. I was interested in visceral and guttural gestures, ones that accentuated an unguarded masculinity. Because my score began with a shower turning on, I continued the motif of washing throughout the first half of the piece. Bobor picked up on the movement qualities quickly and our main obstacle was transitions from one section to another.
And so, my final piece “Bobo-B-Room,” was a choreographic adventure that led me to create something outside of my comfort zone, or at least something that broke some of my habits as a choreographer. Having now experimented with a new movement style, I have grown as a choreographer and as a dancer. I feel more confident to blend my styles, try new things, and be bold in my choreography. I have also learned that inspiration can come from anywhere or anything; who knew a dirty toilet could provoke art?