Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Look at Her!

Look at her!
She was born
early on a Tuesday morn.
Her eyes are gray,
with a hint of blue
and her limbs are long and sinewy.

With mother, Elise
and father, Chris,
she entered the world
filled with bliss
and enough love to last a lifetime.

There is nothing like a newborn babe
to show us what really matters.
It's how we stay 
connected forever
sharing a love that nothing can sever.

Friday, July 18, 2014

The great "I Am" (from Raphel Lopez-Barrentes class in the Nelson Music Room on July 17, 2014)

Six dancers crouched down,
hands on the floor,
fingers spread like
taking in the breath of life 

Left legs are stretched out behind,
right legs forward.
"Hold a cantelope,
or a tomato
in your right hand.
Let it go!
And let out the breath with
the harmonious  sound
of lah..."

Singing "lah,"
six voices form a chorus
of soft sounds.

Then voices rise in a Zambian
Chords integrate.
I concentrate 
on the sounds
that merge into
fluid movement,
creating a blessing
for this place,
or anywhere, really.

The harmony is
this space.
"Your duty as a performer
is to connect."

The sacred sound
from the heart of Africa.
The benediction.

And love.
Love the power.
give me power
and a love
a love 
a love
a love
a love 
that lasts.

IV.  Class ends and I thank Raphel for allowing  me to observe.  I mention that I hadn't done my homework by reading about him, but he's unconcerned.  He is Spanish, and gracious to allow a stranger in to experience his class.  I have no context for what I have witnessed.  But in time I will understand.

Friday, July 11, 2014

"Dynamic Possibilities": from Stuart Singer's Modern IV class at the American Dance Festival, 2014)


The teacher
greets students by name.
The two Emmas,
Emmanual (from Montreal, originally from France),
then Kayla, Johnny, Ruth, Kay, Carolyn,
Dylan, Angela…

"And I'm Stuart.  How are you?"

He connects with each student
as class begins.

"Arms, pelvis, skull,
how do these parts harmonize?'


"Get closer to each other if you want
and look closer at this body.
Point the pelvis downward and notice 
a sense of energy.
Cultivate the long,
dynamic torso and think
about how it feels to connect your pelvis with
the floor."

The teacher lies straight down,
then thrusts one perfect leg into the air --whoosh!

s-p-r-e-a-d out…
no need to be touching
but it’s ok to fall asleep!"

Forty-three bodies flat on the floor.
Not judging.
Just paying attention,
letting go.
Listening to details
of wrist bones,
smoothing out the curvature of the spine.

What does this mean to me?
of purpose.
The body as a wonderful machine.

The teacher circulates,
then hesitates
by each dancer, to touch,
to correct, first asking

And I think of my yoga mat
and how with that,
I could participate,
and cycle my right leg out and feel
the weight of my femur,
and other body parts
that start
to ache in this kind of weather.

The exercise concludes.
The music ends.

Dancers on the floor again,
music begins,
and forty three bodies reach and extend,
right legs crossing over, bending,
curving, blending.
Their bodies work well.

Long bodies, satisfied to be 

Now pelvises are on the floor.
Legs rise, then come down with
such force
that I shudder.
Legs pulsate like fish out of water,
and I wish
that I could do this!
Expanding, faster,
the piano chords rise,
reaching up to heaven,
then back down to the ocean's floor.
Feet start circling, then hands,
legs are shaking,
gelatinous and loose,
and soar!
Let it out! Sigh.  Scream!
The music is magic.
Voices, percussion.

Jungle heat.
We sweat.
Bodies are wet.
Finally, a breeze
as the harmony starts.
Music from Africa,
drumbeats, with voices wailing.
It's all original.
bringing out animal instincts.
Power to the pelvis!

The teacher speaks:
"Find the tail bone on your partner.
Press in.
Now walk!"

It's a rapid walk through
unexplored territory.
With power and momentum,
these bodies
march,  propelled by the pressure
on their tailbones.
A Tlingit chant cries out 
above the sound of footsteps.
A coyote howls,
an eagle cries.
The drums get louder.



I concentrate.
And let my imagination flow.

Forty three dancers, fully wired,
watch as Emmanuel from France
Stuart, impressed,
tells her she’s hired.

That’s it for today.
I stay
And chat with the teacher.
Dance matters!
Students swarm him
with questions on technique
while I seek
to pull myself away,
back to the real world of traffic,
and cops and courses.

And a good book on
the history of dance by de Mille,

before tonight’s performance.