photo by Keira Heu-Jwyn Chang

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pilot 55

The 55th Pilot Project at ODC will show on the weekend of November 21 and 22. Ara Glenn-Johansen is making a piece with four dancers, me one of them.

Several weeks ago we started looking for material through Grotowsky's plastiques-method. I enjoy oscillating between movement and imagery, so there were many happy and fun-filled moments for me. All the four of us are very different movers, performers and bodies, and I think that accounts for much of the interesting moments as well. We accompany and compliment each other on the floor. The next phase has been to carve the selected material into a choreography.

Seeing the process from the viewpoint of a dancer has so far been educational and liberating for me. Dancing is fun! I get to concentrate on one performance instead of the whole. At the same time I must remember to ask if Ara wants to hear my possible ideas about the piece. This crew has had good talks.

Last couple of weeks Ara has been working on a solo with me as well. I generated the material in one of the sessions, and Ara has guided me towards a set dance. I am happy and nervous at the same time.
This is a great chance for me to work with four lovely and talented people: Ara, Dominique, Em, and Jean. Come and see us @ ODC on Sat Nov 21 & Sun Nov 22!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Curving eyes closed

This morning, lying on the dance studio floor with my head in the hands of a colleague, a thought drifted from my body to my head. There are things your head "knows", and your body "knows", until they connect, and you finally understand the thing.

My fellow dancer lifted my head so that my neck made a large curve, and I ended up facing my own toes. Except  that my eyes were closed, and I didn't see the actual toes. Instead I felt every moment on the long journey. How the movement went on and on and on was a revelation. It felt like my body was smiling.
I realized I would not have experienced that had my eyes been open. With your eyes open every movement compares to the scale of your whole body in a different way as with your eyes closed. You see the world around you - and the world is big. How your neck curves is but a sigh in the universe, to put it nicely.

But what an important sigh it is: for the smile in me, and for the understanding of a human body.
The experiences we have "eyes closed" are revelations until our eyes are opened and we see how small they really were. How good that realization is, to put things in perspective. I also thought how valuable those moments of blind understanding are. For a moment we ride a big rolling surf, and the smile swells up in us. Those moments recharge us as creative, caring beings. The experiences we have with our blind body also prime us to understanding complicated concepts because thoughts want to connect to stuff that really happened to us.

Now I'm thinking about that pair of hands, and the person who was directing my head so gently. She did so much: held me, directed me, moved me. I kept my eyes closed and followed. I got to be the audience to my own movement, and the one who experiences at the same time. All I had to do was to concentrate and to release. How much longer the curve was thanks to her, is impossible to say. I guess a lot.

Thank you to Kira Kirsch who taught the class at Studio Gracia, and to Sam who worked with me, and commented on the same curve when we talked afterwards!