Copyright © Autumn Eckman
What lives in the imagination is challenging to describe. However, themes that arise from the imagination are worth exploring. For me, such themes, ideas and their subsequent inquiries and creative renderings are directly connected to a strong belief that all artistic endeavors must continue to thrive because: We cannot survive the loss of art because we cannot survive the loss of empathy. Empathy is the blessing of our existence. Art offers an experience that— in my experience— comes the closest to bridging the gap between individual existences. Art can pull one consciousness from the boundaries of its preconceived notions and schema-rendered perspective into the world of the other. It can result in a deeper understanding of what it is to experience the other consciousness' form of existence—an understanding that leads to an awareness of our ability to behold empathic states of being. In turn, empathy is necessary balance to our innate self-focus; therefore any medium that mediates empathy is a medium we cannot afford to lose.
My creative research is drawn from an investigation of highly physical, sensational and technically precise contemporary-based movement as a means to explore the manifestation of stories through body-based lenses. Oftentimes as a collaborative effort, I implement theatrical modalities such as narrative, text, acting, personal source material, metaphor, digital technologies, and original music composition into my projects. Such projects allow me to consider the depths and capabilities of their relationship to ways of seeing and thinking about dance performance, training and choreography; ultimately deepening my curiosities in regards to the ever-evolving landscape of contemporary dance-making. As a result, I feel motivated to continue choreographing within the vast scope of hybrid dance techniques, collaborative possibilities and innovative technological advancements as they become known.
Choreographer, performer and educator Autumn Eckman is committed to working with artists of diverse experiences and backgrounds. She devises work from an integrated approach to an ever-broader range of contemporary dance languages in order to manifest stories through body-based lenses. Each project aims to draw a deeper understanding of the social, cultural and political fabrics of choreography as well as the ways in which dance fosters connection between us. Her work has been presented nationally and internationally at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Performática (Mexico), Bates Dance Festival, Harvest Chicago Contemporary Dance Festival, the Detroit Dance City Festival. In her twenty years as a professional dancer, Autumn had the privilege to work for companies including Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Giordano Dance Chicago, Luna Negra Dance Theatre, Lucky Plush Productions, Ron De Jesus Dance and the State Street Ballet. From 2009-2014 she served as Assistant Artistic Director of Giordano Dance Chicago and Director of its second company, Giordano II. As Giordano’s Resident Choreographer, she created nine original works for the company including JOLT which was recognized by Dance Magazine as a top choreographic pick of 2012. Autumn has also served as Artist-In-Residence for State Street Ballet and choreographed for DanceWorks Chicago, Visceral Dance Chicago, Big Muddy Dance Co., Wylliams-Henry Dance Company, Missouri Contemporary Ballet, Western Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point and the University of Missouri- Kansas City as an awarded of their 2013 Choreographic Fellowship. Autumn is currently a member of The Cambrians- a global dance production network based out of Chicago. She received an MFA in Choreography as an Iowa Arts Fellow at the University of Iowa is on currently a Visiting Professor of Dance at the University of Arizona.