Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Labyrinth Project

Yesterday I had my first site rehearsal for the Labyrinth Project with two Mendana Productions dancers. We used the labyrinth at St Paul's Episcopal church in Seattle as it is open to the public and we mostly had the courtyard to ourselves. And, in true Seattle fashion, it did rain on us, but only a little bit.

I am relatively new to labyrinths. I went to a labyrinth workshop earlier this spring and learned about how this concept stretches across centuries, across cultures, across religious traditions. They are meant to be a meditation practice, a personal journey into the unknown, a time for self reflection or soul searching. Then, last Saturday, the labyrinth was introduced in my birthing class as a metaphor for going into labor. (Perhaps I will write more about that another time!)

Now, I am bringing the labyrinth practice together with my dance practice.

In rehearsal, we played with the InterPlay concept "Dancing on Behalf Of". The invitation to the dancers is to hold an intention, a question, a concern, while moving. This gives us something bigger than just ourselves to relate to while doing what we do best: dance. We danced on behalf of our own question. We danced on behalf of each other's questions. And we ended by dancing on behalf of the abuse of power in the world. These intentions give our improvisations a sense if immediacy, a way to relate to the world and each other in our abstract expression.

Please share your own labyrinth experiences. What kind of questions do you hold as you walk a labyrinth? Has it been a transformational experience for you? Have you learned something new or gained a new insight? This project is in the very earliest stages of exploration. I would love to hear your labyrinth stories!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Contemplative Dance Practice

This morning I went across the street to participate in Contemplative Dance Practice at Joan Hanna's barn. This is a form developed by Barbara Dilley that begins with seated meditation, personal warm-up time, Open Space (during which participants can enter and exit the circle, as they feel called, improvising movement) and finishing with time to write or draw in response to their experience. Today, there was a children's camp happening in the space upstairs above the dance studio. Here are my reflections on my experience:

Contemplative Dance Practice downstairs. Young boys masquerading as elephants upstairs. I smile as I realize this is what my future holds. ENERGY. What do I choose to do with it? I begin to dance. And I surprise myself with more than I thought possible. More stability and balance on one leg. More quickness than I expected. And the solo becomes a duet, then a trio. And I have a brief moment of sadness that I cannot roll around on the floor like they can, like I'm used to. That I cannot take weight and do partnering like they can, like I'm used to. But the jealousy is brief because look at how much I can still do/move!

Is the baby still while I am dancing or can I just not notice the simultaneous dance? He was so busy during my stillness, like the boys over my head. And it makes me think about the phrase "Movement as a primary language." My baby moves. Some days I think he is swimming, diving off the high board, turning tricks and landing in the pool below. Other days, he is an acrobat in the circus. By moving, he is letting me know that he is there and he is healthy and I am grateful for the language of movement. Like I am grateful for the trio of women, moving together, sharing touch, creating a dance together without words, sharing our common language of physicality and movement.