A sprawling landscape that encourages reflection, Central Park’s winding paths offer an inviting escape from New York City’s urban confines. Conceived by Frederick Law Olmsted, this park embodies an evolving design philosophy rooted in the dialectic which, akin to collaborative dance, embraces evolution rather than isolated formation. Choreography, like the park’s layout, defies rigid structure due to its ephemeral nature. Dialectic Dancescape represents choreographic visualizations of the park’s suggested paths that propose potential dance movements, yet ultimately empower dancers to create their own captivating, uncharted gestures.
In order to create the symbols of Dialectic Dancescape, existing choreographic notations and Central Park maps were examined. The park’s map was divided into forty-five sections, and marked paths, likened to dancer’s tracks, were traced within each. Referencing standard choreographic timing, eight of the most compelling paths were chosen, forming the origins of movement in each section. Sequenced through human impulse, the lines were first formed into rhythmic groups and were then ordered by growing concentric circles, and so the project’s visual progression mirrors dynamic intensity growth. The choreography in the symbols’ connecting lines are dotted to emphasize their suggestive nature, with room for individual dancers to add their own personal expression to each dance’s remaining gestures. To celebrate varied perspectives, Dialectic Dancescape’s symbols were named after the Central Park gates welcoming diverse New Yorkers to the park. These entrances, named for the remarkably diverse and intricately mixed population that enabled the park’s creation, honor the variation that this new dance notation seeks to inspire. Beyond the original twenty, names were given to twenty-five additional gates to commemorate previously unrecognized individuals.
In the same way Olmsted aimed to make Central Park an ever-transforming haven, Dialectic Dancescape gives dancers the freedom to curate their art through their own perspectives. The project’s intriguing analogy underscores the enduring power of the dialectic dialogue that exists between creation and evolution, and whether manifested in Central Park or the realm of dance, adds depth and dimension to artistic expression and the natural world.
Lily Taggart is a visual and performing artist based in New York City. She utilizes her experience in performance to create dynamic designs focused on turning the ephemeral into something tangible. Her interdisciplinary approach to art and design can be seen across the many mediums Taggart finds herself working in. From immersive installations to marketing campaigns to production design, she continues to push the boundaries of what is possible through her work. Taggart is currently a student at The New School where she is enrolled in the dual degree program, seeking a BFA in Integrated Design and BA in Theatre.