Francois le Roux is also know as the HA!Man. His website states that "Ha! (is) the breath that reconciles body and mind, opening a third dimension..."
Kun-Yang often speaks of "what happens in between" when he's coaching our movement and energy during rehearsals. Sometimes he is referring to what happens in between time and space. Sometimes he's referring to the delicate interaction between the dancers in the space. Sometimes he's referring to the magic of the silence - the silence that is not still but rebounding in dynamic. Breaking a barrier of consciousness. Of another dimension.
Last year, I had the opportunity to see "Ha! Breath of Life" at the Polynesian Cultural Center in Hawaii. The youtube video states it's a stage spectacle. And that it is, but there's an element to the mythology that stuck a cord in me and the work that I do with Kun-Yang. The Ha is the breath energy. The flow. The force that connects us all. Since then, I've been processing these philosophies within my own dance practices, my performance practices, and my life practice.
Sunday. November 20th. 3:30pm. Chi Movement Arts Center. ExHale. (Yes, in accordance with InHale). After 45 minutes of an intricate solo performance, Francois pauses. He's gripped the soul of the cello. Danced across an electric keyboard with his fingers. Whistled. Chanted. Layered his music and his body over. and over. and over again. Peering into the audience, he asks for questions.
"Where do you get your inspiration?"
He turns his back to his inquisitor, sticks his thumb out, and points to his sacrum. At first, I think this is a joke. From speaking to him before the show, I know he has a sense of humor. But he's not pointing to his butt. He's genuinely pointing to his sacrum. Well, a point just below his sacrum. And responds, "From here. From my core. That's where I get my inspiration."
The academic in me that spent two years researching Tantric Hinduism and the chakras is reeling. (See earlier posts to catch up). Seriously. This is from where one grounds. Without grounding, further movement, enlightenment, understanding, health, relationships.... cannot occur. And he's acknowledging this physical place - or this energetic place - or whatever the space in between is. It's the place where researchers have located one of the important grounding energetic sites. This is where martial artists, professional Western athletes, dancers, runners... are trained from which to move. To act. To listen and respond. It's not just artistic... Francois is so (unforgivably) clear that this is from where he moves and creates. From his core. (and it has nothing to do with his stomach or strengthening with a giant ball).
He speaks about listening to his surroundings. To staying true to the moment of the work. To creating as a form of awareness and response. Of paying attention to the self.
He talks about times when he had very little money and played on street corners, but remained true to his art and his voice. He talks about the practice of showing up to the discipline. He talks about years of classical training. He talks about allowing the relationship between the individual and the training to engage in continuous practice; but to also allow for another factor to enter into the relationship of the practice and the practioner. The space in between.
As fate would have it, Francois came to KYL/D as the company is continuing to discuss our practice. Although, I'm not sure that fate and listening to the universe are separate elements. It is reassuring to see the importance of artistic practice, of listening, of being aware, is not unique, but a universal human truth. I witnessed this in Indonesia with Miroto and the other artists performing at JIPA. And now again with Francois who is on tour from South Africa.
Thank you, Francois and thank you KYL/D for the opportunity to share and experience.
A few links:
Francois's home page: http://www.hamanworld.com/
At work: http://www.youtube.com/user/kyldphilly#p/a/u/1/RNxBnomwROs
Improvisation and paying attention: http://www.youtube.com/user/kyldphilly#p/a/u/2/Iw0Qvw9oEEY
Polynesian Cultural Center: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADdDVsIYbls