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[Personal experiences]

Dancing into becoming the Change I want to be

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d a n c i n gl

I am the artist of this story inside me. Where is my art taking me today? What is my role?

My art, the centre of my performance activism, is moving towards a heightened conscious state. I am becoming more and more aware of my internal ecology and how to 'dance' with this and express it in a positive way.

What engages me in performance/activist practices is the search for the right path. This has been the greatest cause of metamorphosis in my performance endeavors, in that I have become focused on process and not on product. Although the product is often in mind, I don't let that blind me to where I need to put my energy and how it may need to be expressed.

I personally found that detached observation was the key to dancing the performer I intuitively embody. I move towards becoming a performer that is awake, aware of my "fixed forms of [my] unconscious mind" (Roth, 1989: 169), is alive and de-programmed. This is much easier said than done.

The type of performer I wish to be versus The type of performer I am

There are things that make this authentic performance difficult such as my ego. So often I experience my ego 'getting in the way' or holding me back from what it is I truly want to do. Roth encapsulates this well from her own explorations, she calls it the theatre of the ego;

"Identifying and separating from the ego is a very theatrical task. The ego can't stand to be exposed, or to be laughed at. That's why we have to pay close attention to capture its personas - their standard lines, habits, costumes, body language - and then blow them up into distinct characters"
(Roth, 1989: 153)

I resonate with this characterising of the ego for that is how I experience it. This ego has its own voice, varying personalities and plays-out different roles. A part of 5 Rhythms is essentially about knowing the ego as well and what causes this character to come onto the 'stage' and how it moves (Roth, 1989: 156). For example, sometimes I have observed myself moving as if I am the star of the show. The funny thing is, that's not the point of the 5 Rhythms (how dynamically or astronomically you can move your body), but in that moment, my ego thought so as it parades dramatically around the space oozing with 'look at me':. I can only laugh and realise that I can slip into this ego-driven style of performance and reflect on what has created its cue card. 5 Rhythms has encouraged me to explore the movements, feelings and origins of the ego in my body, so to better understand it and its many disguises! From this, I can more readily identify when it is my ego doing the dancing or another part of myself (true self/heart/soul). The same applies for everyday living.

An ego-performer is not the type of actor I wish to be in the world - at least not unconsciously. This is an ongoing challenge as the ego is always up for a tennis match, finding a sneaky way of jumping onto the stage. My ego on stage can be quite an energy zapper and a bit of a drama queen at times. Yes, you could say that I'm proposing that the ego is not necessarily a positive thing. On the other hand, it's more-so that I want to keep a close check on the colours it brings into my performances and whether it is a healthy and positive thing. More often, I've found that my ego is caught in a spin-cycle of old stories.

Dancing has also been about creating the new. I am a performer that is constantly metamorphosing as a result of knowing my experiences. Having relived some of my previous performances, my body has new knowledge, a new platform from which to perform from. Some of my most authentic moments as a performer have occurred during the 5 Rhythms journey. I feel as though when I move now (in the workshop), it is with a heightened awareness. The greatest challenge is carrying that awareness into my every-day performance. This is an ongoing journey.

I have come to know the wilderness of the body,

The terrain of my heart,

The pulse of my drive,

The texture of my sorrow,

The thunder of my anger

The echo of my joy,

The flowing river of my soul,

The rhythms of my essence...a story to be told.
A story to be untold.

A story without a full-stop