There are so many details to look after in a piece like SoMoS, so many elements, so many people involved. It demands enormous attention, coordination, and effort. After three, 12-14 hour days in the parking lot, my body is tired. The temperature continues to drop, is everybody ready? So many things can go wrong. No use worrying, I choose to trust.
I don't think. I don't warm-up. I just start. Stepping out of the summer tent we are surrounded by audiences. No way to move to our opening spots. I realize immediately that everything is new, chaotic. Its unnerving. Nothing to do but do what we do. Do the practice. Slow down. Connect. Accept the moment, the people, their reactions and behavior, the technical glitches, the cold. People's cries of delight fill the air. Whatever is going on is OK. The audience is with us, delighted. It is a carnival! I've achieved my goal. Yes!
|SoMoS Oct 12, 2012|
After several minutes the video finally comes on. OK, the tech people are taking care of problems. I see Lauren Mandilian by the projector. No sound yet in the fall area.
|Fall: Megan Mazarick, Ellen Gerdes & Merián Soto|
|Summer: Elizabeth Reynolds as the mermaid|
The audience has stepped away and given us the space. Kariamu's laughter rings out regularly in the distance or closer throughout. I notice constant traffic into the summer tent.
|Jumatatu Poe under a pile of branches|
My impulse is to leave my group; I want to see the piece. I need more space. I move away from the projection and look to frame the action from afar, moving into areas of light. Its my piece, I can do what I want, so I go for a walk. I watch Jumatatu for a while, and then Olive. They are the only other dancers I can see besides my group. Winter Spring and Summer are in their respective tents.
This connecting with the audience becomes a new thematic action. When the group finale comes around I run straight towards groups of people. I am amazed that they hold their ground, totally unafraid of a person hurtling at them with a huge branch. I get close to people, very close. I remember once again my sense that this is a practice of peace. Obviously, this is transmitted to the audience, they trust us. The group is connected despite the sense of disorientation from the cold and the masses. We hold together, we hold the score. We find the end. Together.
I'm surrounded by friends. They are excited by the work, they want to talk but they need to get out of the cold and scurry off. I'm freezing; I look around for Michael. I don' see him so I move around the site looking for my blanket, checking that everything is ready for the next performance. Finally, Michael brings me a blanket. Five minutes to places! I'm not ready to do this again.
We begin again. The audience has thinned out a bit, its quieter, less chaotic. We can move into the score immediately. We connect. Slohhhhhhw down, down, down, take turns, follow the shadow plays. Fear creeps in at moments as the wind picks up (I don't want to get sick; I don't want anyone to get sick). My body drops low to the ground several times looking to move away from the wind. Nothing to do but commit, go slow, stay connected.
I see that the dancers are tired, they are ready to end this. I see the video still has several minutes to go, its not yet time! I too want this to end but I need it to be right. I slow down in the turning and fall into a zone. I fall into a prayer for clarity and inspiration for everyone here, of thanks for the fulfillment of my vision. I see dancers stop one by one as I continue to spin spin spin spin. Finally I stop, dizzy. In moments it clears. I release the branch and catch it. I gently place it on the ground. I step back. The end.
All too quickly we disperse looking for warmth in our cars, in layers of clothing. Its over. Everything must come down.
All photos: Lindsay Browning Photography