Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Numbering the moments

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away." ~Anonymous

When I truly have a moment to dance - to let go of my insecurities, trust the movement and my technique, trust my body and the stage, I am fully experiencing life. 

In Nora Gibson's upcoming performance, 2^57,855,161 - 1, I feel like I am fully dancing. Fully living. Engaging in the creation of something universal and beautiful and timeless. 

The actual number "2^57,855,161 - 1" is the largest known prime number as of January 2014. We've been working with the concept of prime numbers since the summer and Nora's been diving into some serious number theory research. 

Me and Melissa. Photo by Nora Gibson

(This integration is awesome! Scientific! Bridging the STEM aspects and Art! Creating connections between seemingly separate but very interrelated concepts). 

As I do, I've been making connections between the work and my own, personal experiences.  

Prime numbers are divisible only by themselves and 1. They stand alone and cannot be further broken down. For me, understanding prime numbers is metaphorically like understanding the elements of myself. What are the basic building blocks that comprise me as a dancer, artist, and person? What are the elements of myself that cannot be further broken down. And in revealing these, I am able to be honest and vulnerable and free. 

In a recent Facebook post, Philly author and super smart individual Merilyn Jackson wrote, "So sorry to have to miss this. Gibson is brilliant, though IMHO, one of the least appreciated, underfunded artists in Philly. You may think the cerebral nature of her work is too abstract and has no emotion. But think of how happy you are when you have a wonderful, creative idea. Its the kind of emotion found in Merce Cunningham's or Lucinda Child's work -- the joy of doing something well pulls you right in. You, go."

As Merilyn writes, Nora's work has been criticized as cold, but, as I experience, it is so full of power and life and joy and struggle. Lewis Whittington is spot on in his piece for the Dance Journal, the work is rigorous and exact (full article). And that's part of what takes my breath away - literally and figuratively - about doing the work. 

It's hard. And in order to properly execute it, there's no time for anything other than complete present-mindedness. (Of course, that could be argued for many forms of dance and performance). That present-mindedness creates pure beauty and joy. 

So, please join me this weekend as the Nora Gibson Contemporary Ballet takes the stage with 2^57,855,161 - 1.

Behind the scenes. Photo taken by Michael McDerrmott of Mikronesia during rehearsal

I'm dancing with Amy Novinski, Gina-Marie Battista-Shifferly, and Melissa McCarten. The music is being performed live by Mikronesia and the evening is shared with Bryan Koulman. 

Here's more info:

No comments:

Post a Comment