Saturday, November 3, 2012

Continuing research - unexpected surprises from unexpected lessons

I'm performing "Notes from Unexpected Lessons" again tonight as part of the Etc. Series Season 6 opener.

The experience upon which the piece reflects occurred over the course of two years, but the lessons continue to reveal themselves to me. Sometimes, I believe that it takes time before we fully understand what we've been taught. There's the initial understanding. Then the period of reflection and germination where the knowledge sits and cooks and bubbles. These bubbles of reflection and distilled knowledge provide surprises of information that relate back to the initial lesson, but the knowledge changes as I change. The lessons keep developing as I'm learning more and growing more.

I have a tree in a small window that I planted when it was just a sprout. It grew leaves, and shoots. The leaves died and new shoots grew. Every few weeks, I think the plant is dying because the leaves are falling off, but it's just growing. It's getting rid of the things that it needed to grow, initially, in order for it to be able to grow more. I got/ get attached to the leaves (and every new set that emerges), but the tree doesn't. Sometimes it cries when I break of the dead leaves and a white sap will flow from the point of extraction. But the point heals and a new sprout grows from somewhere else. New leaves. Interestingly enough, there are no new leaves where the old leaves where. Instead, there are scars on the bark, reminders to me and the tree where it was, and that it's continued on before and will continue on again. The white sap makes me think that the tree feels pain in loss, and that's okay. The pain, the loss, the hardening of the bark, the new sprouts, are all part of its process of growth, change, and development. The new sprouts are exciting and bring me happiness, and the dead leaves and the pain bring me sadness but the tree reminds me that we can't have one without the other.

The beginning - just a small piece of a larger tree.

New growth - you can see where the old growth has hardened
into bark and the old leaves left their scars.

It's grown and transformed so much since its initial planting, but has reminded true to it's original structure. 

This lesson from the tree reinforces the lessons that I've learned over the past two years. The tree, the young dancers, and the lessons continue to surprise me with new information and reminders. With this work, I need to translate these experiences to my audience.

As an artist, I'm challenged and excited by the new information that these lessons continue to bring. And I'm excited to investigate how these new lessons will effect the performance. In rehearsal, I've modified the choreography slightly - clarified it as I'm understanding the work more. Differently. But it's still the same piece, the same lessons. It's my challenge now as an artist to translate that joy and excitement of growth into this performance. This dancing experience.

(More on the artistic experience later.. and what defines an artist and a dancer... and that they aren't different - in my mind).

And I am so grateful that I get to dance because I don't know that I'm articulating what I'm learning in a way that is efficient. The dance will provide the outlet, the medium, the language. I create the poetry, and the art, and the experience.

You can get tickets here:

No comments:

Post a Comment