Monday, July 26, 2010

sunset prayers | a short film

I made this movie by myself just before the close of perfectly sunny day. I wanted to capture a bit of my process in it's true form, even though I rarely dance in public spaces with a camera in tow. I tried to let the camera be non-imposing and just move, so that it feels like it's just "binah in her zone". Most times when I am dancing, I am sending a prayer to someone, or somewhere. When the earthquake hit in Haiti, I went to the roof of the Kennedy Center to vibrate some love with my booty rolls and swinging arms. There is so much power in our bodies to heal ourselves, but to also transmit LOVE to the whole globe, the whole universe. This dance that I do with my body has infinite and inevitable effects on the world around me. All of our dancing bodies has this power.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I am | Visionary Space Activator

I am a visionary space activator. I translate and activate the energy of any space with my moving body. I paint the picture of the moment with dance; I interpret the vibrational frequencies of the moment and express it through movement. I am a barometer of the cosmic mood of the people. I can express all realities with my body if i so choose.

I self identify as a visionary space activator. i invented this terminology to articulate my truth. I fully own this identity and am happy to educate others about who I say I am. It is critical to me, my movement process, my life that I identify only with realities that are 100% aligned with who I feel I am. It took me several years before I found a title that felt right for me. "Choreographer" and "Artistic Director" never fully resonated with me. I had to keep digging through my genius, keep dancing through lots of life's experiences, keep trusting my evolving process to get to the gem of my truth: Visionary Space Activator.

The journey into my truth has been every emotion possible. Sometimes I'm scared, other times I feel like I'm on top of the world. But most of all, through everything, I feel grateful that it's ALL ME. That at the start and finish of everyday, I lived and danced on my own terms, with my own language, and have planted or watered more seeds of my own understanding.

This journey into knowing is ongoing. I am constantly growing and evolving. Such is the nature of this dance that is me!

Photos by Colin Danville 2010

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

new youth love

This is the title of a playlist on my ipod for a new group of young people that I just began dancing with. They are fierce, brilliant, beautiful, and full of fears all at the same time. In bits and pieces they are coming into their own powers, recognizing their awesomeness one celebratory sway at a time. I was so overwhelmed after leaving their space that I had to go dance. Dance off the rage and absurdity of some of their energy, decompress from the profanity, the violence, the constant cries for attention with which some sought to disrupt our class. And at the same time marvel in the majesty of the movement that, in spite of everything, the youth lovingly birthed in our tiny dance laboratory.

I ventured off into the chaotic frenzy of recess time downtown. The lunchtime crowds of the 9-5 tribe and the enthusiastic first-time-in-DC tourists all clamoring for tables to slurp their caffeine shots and down their microwavable nutrition provided the backdrop for this day's space activation. I felt like air conditioning for a change and went to the Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard inside the center of the National Portrait Gallery.

What awaited my dancing body was a surge of new movement material. I found a wide stretch of space to insert my dancing body and had a creative blast. The floor in the courtyard is also very smooth and soft to the soles of my feet, always a plus! I found myself soaring, mentally, emotionally, physically. I felt my body opening up into new rhythms and shapes. I was grateful to my youth muses for activating a new dance within me as I sought to process all that had happened in our workshop. In one class, we used nature themes as the motivation for our movement. I taught them the sign for "river" in sign language. Once they were comfortable with that, I asked them to "put the river in your legs, in your spine, in your neck...".

WOW! was all I could say after watching their movements transform their whole bodies. The textures and intricacies of their dance greatly contrasted the immature insults they were hurling just a few minutes before. They even began to celebrate each others creativity when they saw new movement coming from their peers. After the wind and the river, we became ice, and then we melted. The melting was a lot of fun. At first they thought I was weird of course for being so uncool as to actually melt into a puddle on the floor, but they had to admit it was a really fly transition. Soon after, a few of them began trying it out on their own, risking dust on namebrand jeans and possible scuffs on fresh kicks!

The result was a beautiful, organic dance sequence. One of my boys who had been mostly non-participatory jumped up and asked, "can we do a hurricane?". Sure, I said, and the group broke out into whirlwinds of arms and tilting torsos. They created the soundscore of storm, wind, rains with their voices and bodies. As I reflected later, I thought, hmmm, dancing out the storm is so healing. A constructive way to scream, shout, and release, and yet still be peaceful, (non-violent), and creative...

I love my new young people so much. They are inspiring a lot of growth and enthusiasm in me as a dancer but also as a movement educator. I look forward to the rest of the summer with them. Stay tuned for updates, I'm sure they'll keep me on my toes!

Photo by Caroline Angelo 2009

Monday, July 12, 2010

Rain Dance

Sometimes the rain comes just in time to take your dance activation to the next dimension. I am reminded of a sacred dance explosion that I surrendered to in a small village in Eastern Ghana seven years ago. Adalku, the place was called. And on a small patch of dirt in front of our humble quarters, the community made music with recycled metal parts. Old pieces of discarded technology made ancient rhythms that miraculously never grow out of style. The dance started in the sun but ended under shattered clouds and mud-soaked feet. One of the best dances of my far.

There is something liberating about letting your clothes get mushed into the rain. Letting the water penetrate your skin and be the dance on top of your already gyrating body. Can you feel it? Have you known such joy? Dancing in the rain is a sweet treasure of this human experience. We usually hide and protect ourselves from nature's wet escapade. We roll up the windows, prop up the umbrellas, cover our soles with boots and wait with a pout for the sun to come out and dry our world off again. Perhaps dancing in the rain is so fun because it's a chance to "break the rules." An opportunity to satiate that playful spirit within that loves being messy, that loves being on a first-name basis with mother nature.

So too is our free, unfettered dance. Our dance loves to be submerged in nature. Barefoot, comfortable clothing, or naked if you please. The dance just wants you to be you in your most unadulterated sense. Without the trappings of material dramas or societal rules, or ego-trips. Your dance is like a flower that longs to be watered with the freshest, purest spring water. Ask yourself: "Am I feeding my dance the good stuff? Or am I clogging the roots of my flowers with the junk of status quos, fears, and insecurities about my body? Your dance knows that you are the only source of its life. Your body has to be the moving force that creates its reality.

I digress. I admit, I am rambling, hoping my words spark the creativity needed to finish some work that's due tomorrow. The tasks at hand: plan two hours of dance and play for a teenage youth camp, address the editor's notes on my children's book, figure out photoshop... But I was inspired by my photo shoot that took a joyous and unexpected turn for the best when a rain storm came to add to our creative mix. It was so fun dancing in the rain, barefoot and not a care in the world. If you haven't had the pleasure of experiencing your dance in the rain, be sure to run out in the thick of it and shake your booty the next time it pours in front of a window near you. Go ahead and get wet. The dance belongs to all of us, all the time.