Wednesday, April 26th 16 minutes
And so begins my daily practice of writing. I am going to try and be disciplined about this practice. What has happened so far, what am I noticing? I am feeling my feet on the floor, my sitz bones on the chair and I am noticing my impulse to want to lean forward, and I am trying to be aware of this forward propelling through space and taking a moment to lean back, to find the back of my sitz bones to feel more of my pelvis on the chair, to let the back of my pelvis come to the chair in order to let the front of my body release more, that when I lean forward, the front of me, especially my hip flexors has to be over engaged. Over engaged, under engaged, what is the right amount of engagement - how does one teach students to be engaged? What does that look like?
I know that in repertory and research the students are doing deep performative research, I can see that in their performance, I can see how each experience is different, that they are showing up in the work each time and in slightly new and different ways, I can see them finding ways of experimenting with performance. And I wonder if that is something I fostered or just the students I have in the room. I know that I have proposed constant experiments with the work, try this, try that, what if you thought about this, and perhaps it is that modeling, that paying attention to how they are performing the movements that has encouraged that level of commitment and engagement. I am beginning to realize how invested I am in how movement is performed, how to speak through the body and that the repetitions of the movement is so important in figuring out what they are, in understanding their flavor, in understanding what movement can do to the body- how embodying these different physical textures and tones can actually shift my experience of the world, how it can shift my being in the world, how the work can literally take me places, into new territory, into new ways of functions, living, embodying, showing up. I dance because it allows me to experience the world differently, to find out.
Nowhere to go received a terrible review but somehow it didn’t bother me because I was confident in what the work was doing for me. That the work allowed me to transform, that the work took me to a different time and place and reality and I couldnt, didn’t want to, leave it. And that I need that world, I need a space and time where I can mourn. I need a space and time where I can feel the weight and significance of this event in my life and my body, because the rest of my life doesn’t afford me that opportunity, I don’t have a place where I feel comfortable or able to express those parts of myself, I don’t have a time that is appropriate to mourn because life just keeps on going, it doesn’t stop, it doesn’t pause to allow you to recover, it just goes on. And I have a habit of moving forward, of taking each step without looking back, of ignoring, of not processing, of throwing myself into the new, and dance provides me the space to slow down, to feel, to really feel deeply, to listen, where in our lives is their time for deep inner listening? and how is this inner listening charged in performance?
I am working on my ability to drop in. To any and all activities. What does it feel like to be fully involved in every aspect of your life? What does it mean to be focused, tuned in, showing up in every task of your life? I learned how to drop in with dancing- while improvising and I am slowly zooming out now. How can I apply this process, this state of being, this invovlement, this commitment, this state of flow to other aspects of my life? While bowling? Or while typing, I used to think that I need my physicality to get to that place, that in order for my whole self to be involved my whole self needed to be active but I am learning how to apply this process of showing up to other tasks and it is not sustainablele for a full day, this pin point focus is not possible to maintain but being in the place is satsfying, being in the place feels like play, it feels easy, comforting, calming, satisfying, it is a sense that I am here in the now rather than being distracted.
What does being distracted do? When is being distracted healthy? Productive? Is it about being on task or is about how you are showing up in the task?
I took a long pause and it is becoming more difficult to sustain my writing- my body is starting to ache a bit, or perhaps I am beginning to feel more connected to these parts, that I am bringing them into the whole and therefore I am beginning to hear them. there is a difference right? Pain shows up because you are showing up, you are listening so things that have always been there are beginning to be heard.
I am constantly wondering what do I have to offer- and I see that now but I don’t know how to write about it- I don’t know how to articulate it so that I can publish it. and why publish? What is with this impulse to compose. And that is the difference, I have had a lifetime habit of free writing, but now I am beginning to have an impulse to compose my writing, but I feel as though I don’t have the idea, I don’t know what to hold onto to compose.
April 25, 2017, 15 minutes free write
. . . censored writing . . .
I am interested in teaching a course that looks at the ways in which dance making has the ability to effect change. How does dance provide us with opportunities to reimagine the world and why is protest so closely connected to those ideas for me?
Why is it that when I make a dance, I feel the most stable? When I am making a dance, I am making sense of the world. I am figuring out how to exist in this world. In many ways, dance has replaced religion for me. Religion was once the process that guided me through my life; it was where I turned to for comfort, for peace; it was what soothed and calmed me. Instead, dance has filled that void, moving, being in dialogue with others.
What is the difference between dialogue and discussion? I am beginning to see how these words are so important, these differences so important in describing my work. How do I teach, practice dialogue in a movement studio class? How does dialogue different in technique then traditional ways of working? How do I teach the students to value dialogue? How do I teach students to value other ways of working than an external force driving them? How do I teach students to intrisically care about the work? To be motivated from within? To create their own agenda? What readings / writings do I need to use within class to promote these ideas and how is this connected to strength / power/ skills that are needed and valued. In other words, how do I want to teach form in a way that promotes freedom, agency, and autonomy? How can form, specificity correspond with freedom? How can being specific about what they are doing and how they are doing still allow the space for them to be indviduals? What does specificity allow in dance? What does unison as a form do? What does canon as a form do? Why do these forms exist within our practices? So first perhaps it is a process of recognizing the value in these forms, unpacking why they may exist, and their strengths and powers within the form. And then after naming how they are useful, how they are serving the work, it allows us to see when they may be appropriate. When these forms may serve the work, live within the work and make sense, to be useful. I have a lot of questions about unison dancing, but I haven’t figured out yet how to make work without it. And I think that this is where watching work would be useful, looking for the unison and naming what it is doing for the work, looking at how other choreographers are negociating these ideas and also noticing and naming what other structures they have used.
I feel good about solos, trios, maybe even a quartet; it is the larger works that I begin to question what to do with the bodies in the space. And I don’t want to have the bodies leave the space, I want to figure out how to function together. And perhaps that is also a reflection of my life- I am good in small numbers, I know how to engage people in small numbers, but when it starts getting larger, when there are more people to mangae, to engage with, to socialize with, I begin to feel confusion. I get less enjoyment, or pleaure because I don’t know how to function within those spaces. I don’t know how to engage deeply, to have conversations that matter, to not be superficial. I have trouble deciding which convertsion to track or how long a conversation should last before I let that person socialize with others. So in many ways it seems like my discomfort with large numbers has to do with both my experiences in making and my experiences with life. Exceptions to the rule are when I made the site dance at San Jacinto College South - there was a clear external motivator for engagement. Students could make / explore their own phrases but be organized in the space -
I am beginning to see how watching other artists work could be useful- by looking at it within a specific frame work. This is the kind of thinking I want to promote in my students- an interest in something that drives their engagement. I want to teach them to think about dance as research- to explore what that looks like- I think I need to ask students to be more specific with their work- and I am getting there-
I was thinking yesterday about my idea that students allow me to learn more about myself, they do so because they force me to think more deeply about my own work and experiences. Students focus my attention in a way that I am not capable of on my own. By thinking deeply about how to best support their work, on how to provide them with feedback, on how to problem solve their questions / concerns, it forces me to thinking deeply about how I engage with dance. It providses me with clarity and allows me the opportunity to articulate what it is I am thinking about dance.
Once I know what is next I want to make it a priority to set some goals and schedules for msyelf. I miss writing and I want to carve out time each day for this practice. I am feeling exhausted, almost as if I don’t care if I get a job.... typing doesn't work because it is too easy too erase. It is too easy to press delete, to censor, to wipe out the ideas that don’t satisfy, the ideas that I am afraid of.
Dance making is a way of being. It is a way to know and understand myself and the world arrond me. It is a way of getting to know intimately another human being. I am asking my dancers to open themselves up in the process. I am asking them to be vulnerable. What does it mean to be vulnerable- it means to be open to change, it means allowing the world to permeate you, it means keeping the borders/ wall down, it means noticing resistance and questioning it. It means being available, present, it means saying yes to the uncomfortable.
I am good at making conversation, I am good at asking others questions about themselves. I am interested in their journey, because in some way their journey influences mine, the knowledge they have gained is passed on to me.
How can I cultivate myself as a whole person?
How can I develop the writing part of me, the part of me that desires to be published?
How can I believe more fully that these things matter?
Somewhere along the way things are loosing their fire. I don’t feel as fired up; I am loosing that energy, that thirst, that push….but at the same time the dreams are getting bigger, I am making space for my reality to expand. I am still driven, but the make or break it feeling is gone. The feeling that this one thing is the most important thing in the world. The feeling that every action is life or death. Is it because I am starting to deal with actual death? It the reality of loosing the living making me see more clearly or is it making me jaded?
I find myself holding my breath. That there is a tension in my lungs, in my ribs, a holding on, a holding on so tightly so that I won't fall apart, or that I am trying to keep it all in. I feel a deep exhaustion today because I think I had been holding it all in, keeping it all together, and today I am letting the seams fall loose, the adrenaline is fading and the reality of a new day is upon me.
Open wide, yawn. stretch the face. My face needs stretching, it needs opening I have been holding so much in my face.
What kind of book would I want to write? What do I have to offer the world? It is something about dance? Or something about living? Is it telling the story of my journey thus far? It is research?
I feel less likely to deal with others bullshit. I find myself drifting. Drifting as the . . . I can’t make it happen on my own. I can’t expect myself to hold myself accountable to doing it all. I need guideliens, parameters.
I think I need to start small. Type for 5 straight minutes without stopping, and then add a few minutes every day. To build my concentration is a new way is going to take time, take effort, to build stamina in any practice takes patience, determination, and perseverance. I expect so much from myself. why? Why do I expect the world from me? Is it because I believe I can do it? Is it because I want to have a full life? Is it because I want to feel like not a second has been wasted? It is because I am afraid of death? It is because I am happier when I am doing things?
How difficult it was to name what I did not see while walking backwards.
Walking through space and reading your writing aloud to yourself
No judgement. That has been a difficult space to get myself into.
I am doing my best to balance the physical with the theoretical, giving myself the time and space to listen to myself as a whole and the only way I know how to do do that is in dance, in moving, in motion. When I am still, I loose a sense of my physicallity. I feel disconnected to so much of myself and perhaps that is the task- perhaps the task is to dive deeply into this way of being no matter what I am doing- to be able to stay and return to breath, return to support.
I question giveness - that is such an important term- questioning is this the way it has to be?
how to bring these things to surface
there are things that I know, I know them with my whole self, I know them intuitively but how can I express them? How can I express this way of knowing? How can it crystalize and become more clear or become clear in another way?
I am trying to get back into my habit of writing and dancing.
Taking time to take care of myself, to cultivate msyelf, to use studio time as a personal housekeeping.
I think that is where I have made some mistakes in making, not all movement belongs on the stage. How can I be OK throwing stuff out, getting rid of material., not being so precious, not being se decisive but seeing what emerges?
I remember rolling and pouring, experimenting with ways of rolling with my arms and legs. Where do they go? How do I flip from one side to another? What do my limbs do? How can they make different points of contact? something about spiral is satisfying but also disorienting. Getting dizzy- why do children love that action so much. What is so necessary about a roll? Why do I want to roll continuously in one direction? What is my resistance about coming back the way I came. Visually, in the body, reversing the direction feels like a wrong choice. What is is about the speed of that activity? Moment. Surface contact. Feeling of weight, touch. Floor. What developmentally does rolling do?
Point of contact.
contained. fluid. skin. (episodes)
realm of possibility
to find out
This is a blog of processes. Through the sharing of media and writing I am following my impulses, teasing out and unpacking, translating, solidifying, and making concrete my investigations into something that can be shared.