Thursday, June 01, 2006

a return to the new (5/18/06)

I just came across an article about Alexandra Beller:

I really want to see her work.

I think I may have seen her dance with Bill T. Jones when I was in South Africa.

Among the many outstanding quotations from critics is:

"built like a burlesque queen, moves like a goddess" (!)

(to say nothing of:

"a lush and hurtling force of nature with a brain"
"strong, deft, emotionally resonant theater", courtesy of the NYT !!)

and, as an entertaining side note, one of the quotations on the press page is from the Columbia (Daily) Spectator - the year after I graduated (and thus resigned as theater editor).

Here comes the stream-of-consciousness section of this e-mail:

I've had several conversations over the last week about the meaning of the word "amateur" in French and how that relates to my own experience with expressive movement/dance/gymnastics and artmaking in general. My imminent trip to Skidmore reminds me of my Duncan days (my teacher/choreographer, Jeanne Bresciani is a Skidmore grad and had numerous residencies at the college). Then something about Beller just got my juices flowing (well, not in that way...okay, maybe a little in that way too ;)) more in that direction. In a couple of days I'm going to sing with the HaZamirniks, my singing companions from my teenage years. I've also been in the midst of this kyogen/noh class - a whole new form to me - and relishing the freedom that comes with giving myself permission to be a beginner and not have any expectations...In fact, I had no idea what I was getting into when I started on Monday.

So I have this big sense of returning to a space of openness and joy and eagerness. A space of safety and freedom at the same time.

As I bask in simultaneous nostalgia and forward-looking excitement, I want to share two photos that I've found. They're both on the Isadora Duncan International Institute website.

vintage Davina (circa 1988)

That - what's in those photos, some essence of something (not to mention those calf muscles) - is still inside me and I feel it coming out of hibernation. My time in San Francisco has been a slow, steady alarm clock, sunlight peeking through the window, breakfast in bed, the occasional cold shower, to help me reawaken it. When I look at those pictures, they don't seem to have been taken so long ago. I can remember exactly where I was in the room. I can remember the music (but I don't think I can tell you what it was - I'm going to guess something by Chopin or Shubert). But when I think about the fact that it was almost 20 years ago, I feel sad.

I take comfort in the fact that I energetically launched, and survived the termination of, a previous incarnation as a political scientist (and various things related to the field of political science, at the very least)...but long before that, I had a more joyous and apparently more resilient incarnation as an artist (and as an open, receptive, energetic child!). And with this training this summer and the imminent move and joining Equity, I feel like I've made a commitment to returning to ... the new...or the old in new forms... or some other thing that is perhaps better expressed right now in movement or images or media other than e-mail.

Thanks for reading and, more than that, thanks for supporting me, sharing yourselves, and coming along for the ride. And, for what it's worth, I want to ask you, as my Board of Directors and friends, to think about whether there's something that you used to because you loved it, but that you stopped doing. Did you stop because you felt you weren't good enough? Did you stop because you felt there was something else you *should* be doing? Did you stop because of injury? Economic necessity? The demands or perceived demands of your environment and the people around you? Because, perhaps subconsciously, you didn't believe that you deserved to feel that powerful/beautiful/free/happy/wild?

Do you miss it? Let yourself do it again.

Some more photos, just 'cause:


2) Taro Kaja, the Kyogen Servant and one of the characters I explored Tuesday:


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