Sunday, November 25, 2012

Reflection and The Belly

I've had a few days off to reflect on my work at Dell'Arte over the past few months and visit some friends. I've really enjoyed this time. Already I feel like I've learned so much and yet I also feel like I am just beginning the exploration of my body as a tool for theater. Last week we did a contact improv engagement where a fellow ensemble mate and friend held my liver. It is called organ work and it was quite amazing. After lying on the floor for several minutes staying in tune with this organ in my pelvis, I then began to move slowly in space with all the movements beginning from that organ in my pelvis. The result was a discovery of what it feels like to move in space from my pelvis. It was a raw awesome powerful feeling. Every move outward with my appendages was not awkward or powerless as so often they feel, these movements were simply ripples, responses to an inward gesticulation. I am thrilled to have found this connection after weeks and weeks of looking for it. Who knew I would find it through my liver. I guess its her gift to me after taking a caffeine alcohol detox for two months.

The Japanese call this power one's hara. That is one's life energy. Connecting and working through one's hara allows for a replenished powerful state of being and moving. Hara-RAY for the belly as a center and source of power.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Ran across this today on Imagination is a thing. A big thing. They say that Qi is made up of three elements, breath spine and imagination.
Hmmmm. Chew on that with your turkey.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Information Man

If you've never been rocked back by the presence of purpose, this poem is too soon for you...

Been a long week. A fellow ensemble mate and friend shared this poem with me. I love it.

A teacher asked me this week what are the things I care about and urged me to use these things to make theater.

I care about my mother, and my sister. And my brother and my father. I care that wherever they are, they are whole and healing and growing and burning with a desire to be in the present moment in love with themselves. I care that I can do the same thing. I care that we have a beautiful planet to live on and I care to keep it that way. I care about innocence and about the sparkle of wonder in babies' eyes. I care about comfort and pain. I care about growth. I care that the world is made of contradictions and that I am able to congest that in and be okay with that. I care about love. I care about gentle touches and caresses. I care about the way people touch me and I care about the way I touch them. I care about warmth. I care about kindness. I care about laughter. I care about being able to laugh outloud in revelry for something that I love. I care about friends. I care about the warm feeling I have when I am in the presence of a best friend. I care about the warm feeling I have when I am in the sunshine. These two things, are quite similar actually.

I care about my health. I care about my body and the way it carries me through space. I care about its curvatures and the way it wants to move. I care that I am able to move it so eloquently through space.

I care about a lot of things. An awful lot of things.

I care about being a positive force in the world. Both a force and a positive one. I care about teaching and I care about learning. I care about making a small impact on nature and a big impact on the way we consume. I care about thinking and questioning our cultural structures and creating art that offers others the opportunity to do the same. I care about changing laws and policies that reflect what the majority of the people in the world want and not what rich corporate interests want. I care about doing this with joy and relentless love.

I care about an awful lot of things. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Embodying The Dance

This week was pretty intense. I felt like I was supposed to be a lot more prepared than I was. We had a guest dance teacher. He is very talented and understands how to dance in a way that is. Is stunning. Just so talented. So its hard not to hang on his every word. He knows something we don't. He is so demanding though. And it's pretty destructive. He just lays people out and steps on their egos. It's painful to watch. Even more painful to experience. The kind of pain, like roots being pulled from the ground. That's one metaphor he uses to talk about step. To pull the roots from the ground with each step. The foot a trunk reaching deep into the earth. Shoots of mud and rock fly up as you walk. This is the kind of power we are working with in our movement. However he spent most of the week telling us that there are no down movements. We are constantly moving up. Just like a tree really.

We worked on a dance piece he had choreographed almost twenty years ago. And it was just an amazing experience to be thrown into the middle of something like that, as a non-dancer. It's an inside pass to the life, and level of demand of a dancer. Just felt so small in that room. Just to keep up was a major boon. At one point he singles me and several others in the room out and says that we emote on our faces too much. The audience feels cheated. Wow. Ouch. And I can see that. I know what he means. No matter how painful to hear.

In addition this week, we were challenged to find a metaphor and put it up on stage.  On Friday, during our performance lab when we showed our metaphor performances, our clown teacher (and ironically the twin brother of the dance teacher, ahem) spoke of the need to embody the experience a metaphor gives you in a way that does not rob the audience of the experience nor does it illustrate the metaphor in such a way that the feeling is lashed down. This is a big aha moment for me in that I realize my assumption was that my feeling and the feeling the audience will have will be one and the same. Therefore our work to illustrate the metaphor I imagined would offer the feeling for the audience. But it didn't work that way and would venture to say in general it doesn't work that way. When we work to illustrate metaphor --it offers an image. It does not offer the audience a look into the experience and feeling in the taking of the metaphor.

The dance and the theater are one in the same that the job of both are to embody the feeling through the body in a way that allows the body to do the processing. That the mind and the superficial face gestures gets out of the way for the body to steer, as much as humanly possible. A good metaphor, if you will, seems to me to be the ability to harness a horse and saddle it, a wild horse. To be able to hear the horse and her needs and also to be able to speak to the horse, guiding it when needed. I sound like a drank the Kool-Aid. And maybe I have. But it is an endeavor worthy of undertaking.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Being Seen

One of the most difficult things about performance is allowing oneself to be seen. There is a vulnerability mixed with an openness that requires immense courage. I have become increasingly conscious of my habit of turning inward during performance. It is a defense mechanism to avoid failure however the act of closing myself off is in and of itself failure. It requires a constant reminder at every performance juncture. To allow for the messy parts, the mistakes, the wrong notes, the screw ups. And the exaltations, the touch with creative spirit, the beauty, the magic that is working through me. To allow all of it to be seen. What an elusive thing. But to be able to be seen. Is a rare gift. For those witnessing. Staying present and open. Energy does not compensate for this. Sometimes an overdo in energy is just another defense mechanism to avoid being seen. Not moving is another defense mechanism. Making bold choices that can sometimes feel fake or contrived, and doing it from a place of honesty and vulnerability, is being seen. More of that please. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Giants Waking on the Face of the Earth the name of the performance I am working on this week with a great ensemble. One of my ensemble mates shared this video as fodder for our creative process. Wow.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Free Write

Stream of Consciousness writing of blog to a random song on my iTunes. Knowing that I will post this,  hoping I have the good sense not to. This is the kind of thing we do in our writing class. I notice I am already editing. No more of that. David Grey sings White Ladder. This song reminds me of 8248 Latona Ave N. My mom. Jason. The backyard, Carise. Rupert. Carly came over for a visit. I was dating Daynatyah and Nathaniel. What ever happened to Nathaniel. What a doll. Torture soul. Smart kid. So many smart people out there. I wonder about feeling smart. People often say they are not smart. What do they know. What a relative thing. I hate this song. I never listen to it. It makes me uncomfortable. It makes me sad. It really brings me right back to that time. That house. My mom rented it. She had moved back from Bainbridge. Jason never lived there with her. He was in...where was he? With Dad I think. Carise was living in Bellingham and then also in Seattle. I was bouncing around from place to place. I am in Blue Lake California now. This writing exercise is really strange. I am feeling a bit totured by it. I said I would write until the song ended. The pages of text may not be free. I may not be free. That was proposed today. That I take my surroundings for granted. That I need to question if this sound I hear is really the sound of typing. And what exactly is that quality? What are other sounds that it reminds me of. No time to sit and listen because I have to keep writing in order to actually connect the quality. It sounds like a torture chamber clicking and clacking in the far off room. It sounds like shouts, it sounds like bugs chatter, it sounds like teeth chattering. It sounds like braces clacking as two teenager make out, in the back of a movie. It sounds like the life long profession of a woman from the nineteen twenties. Live is playing now. I alone. I think that accounts for the darkness. Of the images. I must apologize for my thoughts. They are not my own. I am a walking contradiction and incredibly apologetic for that. For being weird. Freak. So weird. And yet I am bleh in this city with all these clowns. Literally. A city of clowns. What a trip. I am falling from this precipice. If I sit for too long and let it come to me, I die. I fall off the surf board. How to feed the animal but get out of the way and let it steer.