Carmen Yih is the recipient of Critical Path / Sharp Short Dance Space Grant and will spend three days in the Drill Hall in January 2024 developing a new street-dance theatre work ‘M_N’ that tackles the impact of socio-cultural notions of masculinity on youth mental health.
I am honoured to be the recipient of Critical Path’s Space Grant in partnership with FORM Dance Projects’ Sharp Short Dance festival. As an emerging artist, the path to establishing a sustainable practice and artistic career is steeped in uncertainty, especially as a second-generation Chinese immigrant where pursuing a creative career remains relatively stigmatised. Critical Path’s support at this pivotal early stage of my career gives me the confidence and resources to experiment with my artistic practice, particularly in the realms of new media art and street dance theatre.
For Sharp Short Dance 2023, I directed a short film ‘Empty Your Plate’. ‘Empty Your Plate’ serves as an ode to the intimate connections fostered through shared meals and shared movement. In this film, I wanted to capture the sense of belonging, freedom and joy that exists within street dance cyphers. Moving to a new state with no existing connections, I found real friendship and support within the street dance community. I remain constantly inspired by the generosity and unapologetically authentic nature of the dancers in these communities. The film only had one purpose – to distil this sense of comfort within the limits of a 2:59 video.
I am planning to use my 3 days at Critical Path to develop the initial movement and sound scores for my upcoming street-dance theatre work M_N. This work draws from the lived experiences of two young men who have found belonging within street dance communities, to examine the complexities of socio-cultural notions of masculinity. Working with composers MQ and April Guest, we will use MAX/MSP, wearable gyroscopes and oral history recordings to create a sound score that draws directly from the dancer’s movement and lived experiences. Critical Path’s Space Grant comes at a critical time in my development as a choreographic artist and I am beyond excited to be researching and developing at the Drill Hall.
– Carmen Yih, dance-artist