Small Moments/Small Breaths
Strangled by the separation of bodies in motion in shared spaces and the need to push forward in “uncertain” times I have finally come to a point where I no longer feel confident and secure in pushing forward. Sure, I have had to find the strength and courage to be there for the students and to be able to find the ability to keep on keeping on, but honestly, it has been a lot to carry and at times hard to breathe.
Once classes had ended I found myself a drift in these new spaces and new ways of figuring out what to do. Like so many, I struggled with not being able to be in the same space with all of these incredible bodies searching, striving and living the beauty of a body in motion artfully shaping space with incredible precision and grace. The lack of being present in the moment of transformation hurts the kinetic spirits of a community of movement. And no matter how much I am supposed to be brave, confident and courageous, alas I don’t think I am succeeding.
In many ways this is good to be able to recalibrate and ask so many necessary questions. I believe this as well as believe that in the end this will be a moment of courageous change and a necessary shift for the field and for how dance lives in academia. Truth be told I have never seen myself as a “company” kind of artist nor one that is constantly academically justifying outcomes in an art form that, for me, is all about the process of discovery.
Within the context of this time, how do we reframe the ways in which we see ourselves within the field, within the our process and within our dreams? When being a body in artful motion has been in many ways irreversibly changed, how does one continue to find the surface of the waters of darkness to just catch a little breath to fill the lungs of hope?
Of course I am moving! I still continue to share EBAS classes with folks from all over finding new discoveries and new ways of being in communion. Sure I take long walks with Beathan and find myself in motion on so many levels. Yet, my heart is broken by the inability to be in communities of movement artists to grapple with new concepts and ideas together while watching and encouraging play and exploration.
As many know I am very much an introvert but being in a classroom either leading or collaborating is the way in which I am able to find connection, compassion and a fulfilled heart. I must say being alone isn’t lonely when the work you do on a daily basis is in community and in the love and passion for your work.
One of the things I love most about teaching is the extremely intimate hands on approach that I engage in with my students. I have healing hands and consider myself more a healer than a teacher, choreographer or artist. Certainly more so than an academic. Be that as it may, when the ability to physically connect and create a space of sensorial exploration and transformation is removed from your daily experience, it is crushing and suffocating to say the least.
So now that having to put on my big boy pants and carry on has come to a close, I must admit I am at a loss now that even the smallest amount of connection to movement and students has dried up. Now it is a matter of asking questions and spending a great deal of time accessing new ways of moving and perhaps new ways of making. Yet, I am not interested in the many forms that people are suggesting and pretending that it is just the way we have to carry on. I certainly understand that we need to move forward and figure it out, but still my heart breaks at the love lost in the ways that have meant so much to me.
Truth be told I am not a dance for camera person. It is a great field and there is so much great work happening, but it is simply just not something for me. Many of the directions we are being asked to explore are not for me nor am I particularly interested in being a part of. There are so many wonderful artists already doing this great work and exploring those avenues. I am just not one of them. No, I am one of those artists that lives and breathes the body and craves the discoveries and all the wisdom that a body in motion shares in that process. Is it so wrong to JUST want to be that? Is it a crime to not want to pretend that I am desperately afraid of losing the kind of physical corporeal wisdom that I value above all else?
So then why is it I feel I am not connecting to all of these new ways and that I am just not capable of pretending to be “going with the flow”? While I mourn the loss of contact and the physicality and exuberance of training and performing, do I still have to pretend that all of this doesn’t matter? Is pretending that the heart is broken and still carrying on a healthy thing to do or can we breathe and ask ourselves the kinds of questions we need to ask in a more calm, rational and open space?
This is the thing about calamity, we turn into very reactive individuals trying to solve problems that we have no answers for but feel we need to do it in the first place simply because we are falling prey to the corporatization of academia, the field and the prioritization of outcome or product driven models of success. Wouldn’t it be the time to breathe and ask ourselves some deep seated questions about how to move forward while truly addressing issues in the field that have continued to be overlooked? Would it be nice to stop the train and have conversations that are necessary in having to actually work in community rather than work as individuals in a community cloaked in the very models of suppression that exist?
I would most certainly welcome the space and time to share and grapple with how we are all feeling and move from a place of empathetic understanding as the beginnings of discovering the kind of field that is necessary at this time and the kind of field dance has the potential to be. If we find ourselves coupling together in the energy of survival, how are we asking ourselves clear questions through the lens of creative change instead?
In my meditations I keep on hearing the body whisper “small movements. small breaths”. It is a recurring phrase that I hear but am not quite sure how to translate. The one thing I do know is it is suggesting small and conscious steps through conscious movement with conscious breath. I also think it is a response to the broken heart missing movement, connection and the joy of that collaboration. Perhaps slowing down into the present moment of every action with the awareness of that moment is the best way for me at this time to find the courage and confidence to breathe deeply in movement again.
Perhaps this is all I have to hold on at this moment as I figure out where I wish to go next. Perhaps this is the way of asking myself the questions of my intentions within the field and the kind of artist I wish to be moving forward. Perhaps this is the moment to question whether the kind of artist I am is viable at this moment or will the way I have loved working ever have value in the same way. Perhaps small movement and small breaths will be the way in which I am able to answer these questions finding a path the brings peace back to my heart.