Today I learned that I had been awarded a Connecticut Artist’s Fellowship in Choreography. A friend suggested that I apply and so I did. The news was wildly unexpected and appreciated. A blessing and a strong beam of light pointing forward.
I used to depend on on raising money from foundations and corporations along with bookings to support my dance company. Fundraising was a constant, teetery dance, a bizarre mazurka with changing partners and alliances, all danced on an uneven floor. It was also a contest of endurance, persistence and grit. Then the economy tilted even further, shifting away from public funds for smaller, independent artists, moving toward the safer zone of funding big companies and institutions. I was tired of expending so much energy on the fundraising, and proportionally less time making work, along with the politics, and what could feel like the creation and maintanance of relationships for gain. I am speaking for myself here. I am sure that is not everyone’s experience. Real friendships did bloom, tender roses in a field of weeds. I still treasure those friendships – all of them rooted in a deep passion for dance and respect for the dancemakers.
So why the galaxy image? Initially, I thought that this picture was of the Andromeda Galaxy, but it turns out that it is something called a flocculent spiral – a stellar nursery – which “plays a pivotal role in the evolution of galaxies and it is also in the earliest stages of star formation that planetary systems first appear.” I like that because it is about beginnings and what looks like cooperation.
So I am thinking about relationship and inter-dependence and cosmic support and stuff like that. I am thinking about John Cage, chance and quincunxes (fated events). And I am feeling how the small events, like receiving this blessing, are part of a bigger phenomenon that holds us all together as we grow, each in our own unique and meandering way.
For the past three days I have been working with my autistic godson Jacob. Because my new grand baby daughter Laila has been visiting for the past month, I have been revisiting the developmental and systems work of Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen.
Body-Mind Centering® is an integrated and embodied approach to movement, the body and consciousness. Developed by Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, it is an experiential study based on the embodiment and application of anatomical, physiological, psychophysical and developmental principles, utilizing movement, touch, voice and mind. Its uniqueness lies in the specificity with which each of the body systems can be personally embodied and integrated, the fundamental groundwork of developmental repatterning, and the utilization of a body-based language to describe movement and body-mind relationships.
I have been using touch and movement focusing on the fluids and on awakening some old developmental patterns that are missing in Jacob. The results have been breathtaking over the past three days. Jacob has started to be much more intentional and specific in his use of focus, much more deliberate in the way he walks and has begun to modulate the speed with which he moves. It is like seeing the sun come out and illuminate the landscape in new ways.
The other half of this is that it requires us – his parents and me – to be softly and clearly intentional and aware of what we are offering with touch, voice and movement. So all of us are awakening to ourselves in new ways – a beautiful,breathing, improvisational reciprocity and opportunity moment-to-moment. An invitation to see thing from a different perspective and invite ourselves more fully into the dance. Thank you Jacob!
Sometime during the rehearsal I felt it happen. I did a sudden snapping movement with my leg and my knee hyperextended. I stopped and looked at it. “That’s not good,” I thought. It didn’t hurt, so I kept going.
It wasnt good. I ripped both the lateral and medial meniscus and popped a big cyst out the back of the joint capsule. My knee doesn’t bend. I can’t climb stairs. One of my dancers watched the performance of my solo and said she wished I had included some movement on the floor. I said that I would do that as soon as I could bend my knee.
My osteopath looked at me yesterday and said, “You are being tested.” What is being tested? My patience, my endurance, my resourcefulness, my tolerance. And more.
In my studio, I tried doing some of the movement. I noticed that I initiate much of my movement with quickness, which at the moment is unsafe for my poor knee. Quickness is my “lane,” my “wheelhouse” in the language of American idol. It is how I get my body places that it otherwise doesn’t know how to go.
The point of all this is that I have to find some new ways of moving while I am healing. Linda Tellington-Jones always says “isn’t that interesting” when she encounters something problematic in a horse she is working with. I am looking for that attitude – curiosity instead of frustration, willingness instead of fear. Learning to try new things, looking for other ways of seeing and doing. Being improvisational. Not waiting for the end point, but being in the journey, one step at a time.