Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Kinestetic Story Telling

Our bodies tell our stories.

I limped my way down the stairs. "What's the matter?" One dancer called out to me, almost a flight away. I shrugged my shoulders and rolled my eyes. "Same stuff" I replied, referring to the ligament damage in my ankle that seemed to flair at the same time each year. I modify movement in class, cross training and rehearsals, ice and take anti-inflammitories, and elevate my foot and "rest" when I can. (Yes... While writing. Grading. Reading. Researching. Observing.)

In my travels, I'm reading some fiction and non-fiction work about military life. In joking (?) military friends and I have reflected on the similarities between the dance world and combat training. Have you ever broken a bone? Well, yes, but I didn't realize it at the time. Endured extreme physical and emotional training and discomfort? Yep. "Lived" in your clothing? Yep. Ate limited rations? Yep. Had little sleep? Yep. ...

But. I'm an artist. You are a trained protector. There's a sociological difference. A political difference. But if we sit over a cup of tea and talk real, honest goals and values, we're not so different. You protect life, but realize there is a sacrifice that might come with that. I strive to provide beauty to life and know the personal, physical, economic, and emotional danger. But. We both understand that the body is the place where we experience life - joy, fear, anger, pain, happiness, sadness, excitement...  

As an artist, I might view the world in different colors, but I still see and feel the pain. As a dancer, I ask, "What if we could understand the language of our bodies?"

I've been invited to many non-dance classes to "speak". In an exercise, I ask my attendees to pay attention to the non-verbal movement of a partner when telling a story. I ask the partners to repeat the MOVEMENT of the storytellers. I ask the storytellers to reflect on the movement of the partners. Who is the storyteller... really? What is being said by the body that verbal language can't communicate? How are the perceived mind and perceived body telling the same or different stories? What is the REAL story of the storyteller?

What story does your body tell? 

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