Dairy 12/14/18 Dancing Again? Me?
My dance ‘debut’ at Oberlin last night was wonderful. My part of actually moving was maybe 3 minutes long but it was with a senior student who is finishing her second to last semester as a dance major. She and a class partner came to our Care Center to do Authentic Movement classes with compromised (or not) seniors. I was immediately certain I should go see what they were up to and was able to attend their first and last classes. In and of itself, the class was revelatory to see people who don’t talk much, or at all, responding to movement prompts the tag team offered. I loved seeing how using music and movements bypass the verbal confusion of those with dementia.
I connected with Martha, one of the teachers, after the first class and we spoke about how much I enjoyed their offerings, about dance, and my experiences over the years. She ended up asking if I would participate in a movement project with her. Because it was short, with me sitting on a chair in a movement improv style conversation with one another, I agreed. She made a recording of sounds walking around Kendal and she filmed our first ‘conversation’ in the room where she had taught, which is also the room where I lead my meditation classes. Last night with the audience of others in her class and lots of friends, she played the soundscape along with the first video of us moving together, as we did it live once more. She sent me a video that a friend took and it was fascinating to see how we moved in the moment against moving in the same time frame as in the simultaneously running film. She was pleased and grateful for my participation and I am so grateful to her.
For many years, losing my body feedback was a very gradual decline. Just choreographng my daily life of self care to house care with MS, was all I could manage. It seemed that orchestrating the nuances of physical demands of functional living took up all my creative energies. I exercised every day for years, no matter how limited I was, and worked with a PT every week. But the joy of self initiated movement for my own self reflection was too hard to summon. Now that Kendal takes care of so many of my daily needs, I have been a little creative fountain spewing out songs, poems, essays and now- some subtle inner dancing arises once more.
The byproduct of this inner listening and spontaneously breathing, sounding and moving is very healing. Now it is time to embrace my body as I am recommitting to living as fully as I can. The pleasure I am rediscovering is quiet, more evocative of allowing, and much less of any doing. It mirrors what my friend, Maiya, calls Body Wisdom. Deeply entering through the body leads to Silence with no body. This kind of self introspection has always been a doorway for me. Martha has agreed to learn some Contiuum tools from me; Continuum being the name of my last set of teachings in this arena of bio-spiritual work. I believe my current physical needs/limitations/knowings will open new doorways for discovery and I am so grateful to Martha for coming into my life at this juncture. A mutual delight.
Besides sharing our piece last night, I got to watch three others before it was our turn. One was created with a program of an articulated stick figure on the computer screen that mimicked the performer’s every move. Every time she took action, it also triggered elctronic sounds that she had preprogrammed. The potential for such a piece was staggering (and jumping, waving, stepping, and crouching) and riveting to watch. The audience itself was wonderful. These young people are full of the self authority of taking on the world, on the cutting edges, and because it is Oberlin, a hugely diverse group. The excitement of finals week buzzed and hummed and I am ready to pass on the baton to them. Please.
Part of Kendal’s gift is to have this exchange of elders and youngers. I have seen many other concerts here, but on this Sunday, an annual marimba concert from the Oberlin Conservatory comes to us and that is our buzz of our anticipation. It is the musical highlight of the year according to some. Can’t wait.