Saturday, August 20, 2011

Body. Time. Space.

Ideas come floating back. Things that I have been working on for years return. Questions. Problems. Issues. Love.

Body. Time. Space. is a "new" work for the Fringe this year, but it's far from new. The concepts are old. Very old. Older than me. But that's a bit of the point.

Four bodies - beautiful bodies in space. and in time. And what's different is their execution. Beautiful. Unique. Years of training live in these bodies and that is why the movement is so simple. I want the audience to see the power of the trained body onstage. Performance training. Kinesthetic training. These things are clearly evident when a dancer is doing multiple spins and jumps and tricks, but that's what many people expect to see. Spins. Jumps. Tricks. What about the quiet moments when it's just the body and the space in time? Simple? Yes. Boring? Maybe to some. But just about as boring as watching a flower unfold in the morning. Simple beauty. Perfect beauty just the way it is. No embellishments.

I'm really excited and terrified about this piece.

The performances are September 1 and 2 at 8pm at the Chi Movement Arts Center.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

"You never really do anything in isolation"

Even though sometimes it feels that way.

Marcie Mamura is teaching at Chi Mac right now. She's a wonderful woman with amazing stories and a really lovely, contagious energy.

We were spending some time together talking about adventures and how simple things can be very exciting. She reminded me of the man I often see on my drive to the studio. He is crouched on the flat dividers on South Broad Street. The first time I saw him, I watched him, tail down, head bent over, in the middle of the street. I paused and kept watching. He was taking pictures of the flowers in the cracks of the cement. At least, I think that's what he was doing... he had a camera. There were some "weeds" near him. He's been there, in different places along South Broad for several days.

He looked like he was completely in his own bubble. Like nothing else in the world mattered other than those little flowers in the cement. But he effected me. And I would hope that others noticed him and smiled, as well.

Thank you, man taking pictures of cement-crack-flowers in Center City.

Marcie, Amy, and I sat outside of the studio and talked about education and the transformative power of dance. I feel like I've been fighting a losing battle trying to make the case for dance education and dance practice. Marcie said, "We can talk to each other about how wonderful this is, but it's really hard to talk to the people who are different than us and don't understand everything we do and why we do it. And they're the people who probably really need to hear it."

So, professional business woman in your business suit and corner office and consulting firm, talking to me like I don't know what I'm doing, I'm going to keep trying. I hope that your son or daughter gets to take dance classes and you have to sew pointe shoes and costumes and share in the joy, excitement, and anticipation of performance. I hope that you get to go to a wedding or family celebration and dance and laugh and engage in the power of community. I hope that you can find the connection between your brain, your body, your heart, and your spirit. And I will continue my practice of showing up to the studio and sending my energy out into the world. I will keep telling you that dance classes are important for more reasons than fulfilling a childhood dream of being a ballerina.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Cooking choreography

The elements of dance are body, time, space, and energy. Think of these as ingredients. If you have (or you give my mother-in-law) water, flour, salt, and beef, you (Ms. Marsha, I mean) can make a really mean breakfast of southern biscuits and gravy. Ms. Marsha is a skilled cook. She can take almost anything (including gluten-free flour) and with a little effort and time, can create something delicious. Like Ms. Marsha, it takes a skilled choreographer to create something visually delicious out of time, space, energy, and bodies. (Metaphorically delicious. Do not eat the bodies, please...) And it takes a lot of time, patience, and practice to get to the point where one can create something visually delicious.

I think Ms. Marsha spent a lot of time dumping and burning and making mistakes in cooking, throwing things out, and trying again. I am reminded that, again, it takes a lot of time to work out a system of understanding your tools, whether they be flour and water or bodies and space. Neither is an easy challenge.

So, thanks Ms. Marsha... pass the gluten-free biscuits.

Recipes to follow, soon!