My grandmother loved to tell stories. She told and retold a set of stories over the course of her life which she slowly but surely embellished. I started to think about how those embellishments held lessons for us, the listeners, and also how she re-formed her life experiences to reflect the kind of person she wanted to be and how she wanted us to remember her. Vestige includes stories from all of our grandmothers woven into the tale of one woman by writer Andrew Arnett. It is a dance about memory, remembering, and being remembered.
Core Impasse (2005)
This dance started after a trip to Alaska in 2005. I was very moved by what I experienced in Alaska and two things struck me powerfully. The first was that we (humans) are animals that are rightfully part of the food chain. I had this realization when I found myself between two grizzly bears at very close range on a deserted beach in Lake Clark National Park. This experience reminded me that we are part of the whole- not separate from it. I was also aware of a certain balance between the number of people that lived in Alaska and the land. Something I had never experienced in the lower 48. It seemed to me at the time that we have removed ourselves so far from this balance and understanding of our relationship to the natural world that we are creating a great global disaster in terms of climate, pollution and overpopulation. The title “Core Impasse” refers to how we live and see ourselves, our core, and the environmental impasse that we must transcend to insure our own future.
Split Sense (2006)
Although many areas of my personal life were humming along beautifully in 2005, serious illness seemed to be at every turn. During the first three months my mother was diagnosed with a terminal illness and my aunt and step sister were diagnosed with cancer. Over the course of the next few months a number of young friends also faced serious illnesses. There is something about the way life zips by and we follow our routines and habits that is completely and utterly severed when news of serious illness or death reminds us of our tenuous position here on earth. For me things become clearer and more powerfully focused, friends and relationships pull to the forefront and assume what I believe is their rightful spot. Split Sense breaks the dynamic of relationship open and explores the power of vulnerability and trust.
Raven's Rapport (2006)
This dance emerged from somewhere deep in my subconscious. The image of a wolf came to me through a series of dreams and strange waking encounters, and the raven appeared just as mysteriously when I was looking through a book on birds. For me the raven and the wolf are symbolic of two aspects of our nature – the wolf reflects a deep and ancient predatory line that has powerful and wise connections to the planet, and the raven represents our ability to see beyond -our more intellectual or rational side. Their relationship is both vital and slightly dangerous. During the final completion of this dance, two beautiful wolves ran at top speed across my path preceded by their ravens - magic indeed!
Ley Lines (2006)
Ley Lines began when I started to think about maps which led me to broader questions surrounding how we find our way in the world. The curious thing about contemporary maps and global positioning is that they are both tremendously specific and utterly unrelated to one’s experience of place. A series of books that I read during the summer of 2006 began a fascinating journey of mapping and understanding where you are and where you are going. I ended this investigation reading about the Pemako region of Tibet that was one of the last unmapped regions of the world in the late 1990s. The region was mapped only on the image of a goddess- her body the features of the land. The juxtaposition of femininity, physicality and place was of interest to me. So I began to create Ley Lines. In this piece a woman who can easily locate her home, job and neighborhood finds herself lost and asks, “How did I get here?” Her answer and her ability to locate herself lie outside the realm of linear thought and require a subtly courageous journey.
Of Bones & Marrow (2008)
As our environmental crisis continues to heat up, we are constantly bombarded with what we should do and how we should live. These exterior mandates raised a question for me: why don’t we feel our deep relationship to the natural world every day of our lives? If we truly understood ourselves in the greater integrated context of life on this planet, we could not make some of the poor decisions we have made in recent history. This dance is a call to relationship, a reminder as the poetry written by Andrew Arnett suggests, that “I breathe you and you breathe me - we are together here”
I created Treadwreck during an intensely busy time in my life and I am interested in how our culture values and rewards this level of intense work. When I find myself handling extreme workloads, it is very hard to see beyond my own life and easy to become very self-centered. Treadwreck views this intensity from the exterior. The dance is structured in a tight spatial configuration that increases tension and moves towards the audience in a confrontational manner.
Sprout emerged from a dream that I have had from time to time whose content goes something like this: I am traveling a dark and treacherous pathway late at night- it is rocky and steep. I am afraid that I will fall. I am afraid that I cannot succeed- sometimes I am wearing high heels….then miraculously a mysterious dial turns within me and my perception changes. The path is simple and the resources I need are already present within me. I am filled with a child-like joy. The structure of Sprout is closely related to the music which I found incredibly gorgeous. Sprout is a dance that I hope will remind us in hard times that we can make the changes we desire in our lives - that the resources are already in hand and that the mechanism is very simply joy!
Covalent Bond (2009)
Covalent bonds are the strong forces that hold atoms together when they share an electron. I am endlessly fascinated by the science of small particles and the elegance of their interaction. This dance is a little exploration of our elegant interior as it may reflect outward in the physical world. The structure of the dance revolves around circling- creating a small interior world that is connected through the strong force of the Covalent Bond.
2008-2009 were certainly difficultyears for our country and we now face the results of our collective financial choices and the underlying greed that has pushed our country off track. I have felt terrible sadness around me as the scope of our situation began to unfold and lay-offs became commonplace. But I must admit, that despite the challenges I have been feeling a deep sense of the possibilities this collapse represents and the possibility of changing our course. I wanted to see what people imagined for their future - what would they change? I started to ask people what they would like to see transformed and then I began to work with the answers. One of the primary responses was a deep desire to get rid of the junk in our lives, and to increase our connection other people. I thought that perhaps these two ideas were in fact deeply related and that our desire for things had somehow supplanted our real need for each other. Shed is about returning to what matters.