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Blackbird

To awaken to a colorful dream come true – the freedom to fly, heart spinning with joy, bravery in every breath, no more restraint, diving through water rich & clear and yet full of bright floating wheels to guide.  This is what I imagine fills the dreams of a caged blackbird.

On my fridge hangs a postcard of the exquisite painting, created by my friend Faith Sills, which inspired this vivid image in me.  It’s called Awakening, and can be viewed on her Etsy shop by clicking here.  This painting has served as a picture of hope to me these past 3-4 months while I suffered imprisonment in my own body because of intense nausea from pregnancy. 

But like my image of a caged bird dreaming, the impulse to dream was still alive in me too.  This little dance is my moving painting, my expression of this blackbird’s dream.  It is danced beautifully by Elinor Harrison Evans.  Enjoy!

My Answer

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love.

Christmas Eve was fast approaching three years ago in Toronto, where I found myself joining my husband as he worked there on a holiday show.  With ample time to myself, I ended up doing quite a bit of chewing on what it looks like to love well, especially to love my husband well.  I had recently been convicted of my failure in this department and not only did I want to commit anew, I wanted to express this to him in a creative way. 

My reflections led me to remember that loving my husband well means actively falling forward – choosing to protect and trust and hope and persevere moment by moment in actions and in words, and oftentimes in the withholding of words too.  Falling forward is sometimes messy and sometimes clean, but it never withdraws or turns back or attacks.

This dance was my gift to him that year, a moving illustration of my committment, of my answer to what it looks like to love well.  I re-created it  in the hallway of the offices of Brooklyn Presbyterian Church.  It is danced by the lovely Arletta Anderson; Music is by Sarah McLachlan.

Snapshots

of regret.  Pictures of moments from the past that appear before me at night to torment.  At first they seduce me with happy memories so that my heart is already caught up in looking, then they turn to the ugly – the seconds in time I’d rather not re-live, that I wish I could change.  Soaking in these scenes replaying in my mind causes my heart to drop into discontent, into self-loathing, into guilt…and part of me gives up.  After sleep finally comes and the sun arises, I find I am partly immobilized.  Is this like Lot’s wife looking back and being turned into a pillar of salt?  Is that what the lesson is…regret keeps you from moving forward so be careful how you look back…

The movement inspired by these thoughts is danced by Dana Thomas.

Writings Converged

Back in February I created a little movement sketch (Writings on my Mind) based on a dream I had, which was spurred on by revolving thoughts over my viewing of an art installation (Writings on the Wall) created by my friend Megan Prince.

Megan and I then paired up with our friend Tom Eaton, an animator, to re-record the dance phrase in front of a green screen, in order to create a digital collaboration of visual & performance art. 

Well, after a  bit of trial & error, another video shoot, much hard work by Tom and many thanks to another friend, Ryan Simms, for helping to make this possible – I’m happy to now share with you Writings Converged.

dancing by Ellie Harrison, visual art by Megan Prince, digital compositing by Tom Eaton, videography by Ryan Simms at Radio Tag, choreography by Arron Masters

Believe

I stand on the platform gazing intently down the empty track into the dark tunnel beyond, where the eventual light will give evidence of an approaching train…

I have no doubt a train will come…it may be two more minutes or two hours, but one will most definitely come…I believe it.

So why do I impatiently need to keep looking down that dark tunnel?  Why does my body seem to second-guess what my brain knows?  Why does looking seem to somehow keep anxiousness at bay…perhaps it gives my wait purpose?  or reminds me to hold onto -to remember  – believing?

I’ve lost four friends to tragic deaths during my years in New York City, one just this summer…so my thoughts turn to another – eternal – light I look for…the light of my true home, where my friends now reside. 

My method of looking for this light is also restless…my body often second-guessing what I know…but I know this light not only is coming, it has also already come…and I look for it to help me remember…to believe…

This movement sketch, danced by Ellie Harrison, was birthed from these thoughts.  I dedicate it to Julia & Audrey, Kimberly, Kirk and Beth.

I encourage you to take a moment to read some of my friend Julia’s blog – she is writing through her grieving – it’s beautiful and life-affirming.

http://dearmissaudrey.blogspot.com/

Sweet relief

Ah, it has arrived…the gratification of a fulfilled committment, a journey complete. Armitage Gone! Gala this week marked the final day of my five-month internship with the company.  Certain uncertain elements having gone smoothly, anticipation has given way to floods of joy and yes, sweet relief!  To top it off, I will embark upon my first true vacation in five years…to Cancun for one week…a perfect bookend to close out this season’s adventure and prepare for what’s next.

Relief! is danced by the terrific Heidi Brewer in my backyard.  Enjoy!

Seized

Alert!  There’s been an alien invasion.  Tiny, invisible aliens inside clear glass vessels, ignited with heat, suctioned themselves onto my legs and back.  After sending their beams beneath my skin to lock onto the unrelenting knots my muscles had turned into, they began to draw the tension out in an effort to restore blood flow.  I had welcomed this mission, led by my acupuncturist, wholeheartedly.  And as I lay there imagining restored energy moving through years of tightness like a river, a dance naturally popped into my head.  The dance of a seized knot inside a muscle.  Here it is performed by the lovely Heidi Brewer in my backyard.

P.S.  Please don’t be concerned, there were no actual aliens involved.  It is an ancient procedure known in chinese medicine as cupping.  You can learn more at my acupuncturist’s website:  www.essential-well.com