Monday, April 16, 2012

Yesterday’s Performance

Thanks to all who came out yesterday. So many new faces! Iris Brown, Rafael Damast, Doug Herron, Michael Roberts... A special shout out to all my colleagues from Temple Dance! And special thanks to Karen and Deanna Bond, Jung Woong and Ari Kim and Pepón for your continuing support!

We were lucky to have gentle and supportive weather. The rain cleared early in the morning and the temperature was perfect.

The site, the falls north of Valley Green Inn, is perhaps the grandest of the sites we have worked in. The large rocks and fallen trees invited a different kind of balancing and contouring of the body as well as opportunities to meld so perfectly with the environments as to “disappear”.

As we settled into our spots before the start of the performance I looked for the dancers. Beau’s head and knees were barely visible from my high vantage point, probably invisible from most other spots on the West side of the creek. I could see Jumatatu’s branches leaning into the side of the hill but no Jumatatu.

I took a breath, looked within, and when I looked out again, there he was behind one of the branches! He had been there all the time! Pure visual magic!

Olive was twisted around one of the fallen trees and surrounded by the first audience members to arrive.

Marion was low, near the water, behind another fallen tree. I could see only the white of her pants through the spaces between the logs.

Harold blew the giant conch shell signifying the beginning. His didgeridoo, gongs, and conch shell carried well over the roar of the falls. He was like a shaman calling the elements and the fauna. As I moved slowly in the dance of somatic consciousness I saw a hawk approach and soar away, ducks stopped by on their way elsewhere, and various flying insects seemed to buzz around in harmony with the sounds. So much movement!

For me the challenge was to stay slow. Contouring rocks has always been challenging for me; I am usually confronted by pain along areas of the spine that have less flexibility, and the pain screams at me to

move away, and quickly. Balancing the branch provided a pathway into this dilemma, providing both a physical and focal counterbalance.

My task was to move smoothly and glacially from the starting rock , up the wall, and then to make my way along the wall to the edge of the falls. The greatest challenge was climbing the wall. I had practiced several times by moving forward up the wall, but one never knows where the body will find itself in this work. I found myself with my back against the wall. Pause, wait. My head was free. Pitching my head and weight back I was able to roll my way up. It was a struggle, another internal struggle constantly reminding myself to stay connected, to stay in the moment-don’t get ahead of myself, that feels thrilling to have accomplished. The walk along the wall was slow and treacherous. At one point the branch fell.

I waited in a squat and looked around: Juma was hanging off the two branches, Olive was balancing on the fallen tree.

No Marion. Beau was perched near the edge of the falls. I wanted to move toward him. I made my way slowly along the log that hangs right to the edge and waited looking into the rushing water so close below me, forcing myself to ground into the body and not give in to the fear of losing my balance and falling. Breathe, breathe. Harold signaled the end.

Photos By Gabe Osorio-Soto

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