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[Personal experiences]

Journeys into and through my body

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d a n c i n g

My experiences in the workshops

Each week I performed the 5 Rhythms (Flowing, Staccato, Chaos, Lyrical, Stillness) in a variety of contexts, embodying particular feelings. Every single moment told a story. A story of my bodily performance experiences. A journey of feeling, a journey of knowing. A journey into a way of knowing. In the absence of words I am a profound performer, organically sculpting my body, spinning, twirling, acrobatic. In this form I can express joy and sorrow, frustration and chaos, fear and defense, and embrace the unknown. Dancing in this way required full involvement, full engagement with my body and emotions.

I was hesitant at first, due to the newness of the environment, structure and theory. My body had to find its way into this slightly unfamiliar setting. How did I want to perform in this setting? Which part of 'I' do I want to perform? What sort of performer do I want to be? These were questions that my mind asked. This time though, I allowed my body to decide, to lead the way through its voice, its knowledges. To transform this knowledge into movement. As I felt my way into my body, I felt that my journey of movement reflected this connection with my body's voice more and more. I came to connect with the many dialogues of my body in a raw profound interconnected passionate way.

Once I came to understand the depth of what I was dealing with I became very focused in my explorations and decided to use this to deeply explore myself as a performer. Each week I would either come with a particular intention/focus in mind or one would present itself to me in the journey.

As time moved forward, I began to absorb the value system that accompanies the 5 Rhythms form. I found myself tapping into knowledges stored inside my body that related to each particular stage.

"Where does fear live in your body? Where's your anger? Your sadness? What does your shape tell you about how you feel about yourself? What do your hands want to do? Your muscles? Your skin? Your pores? Let them speak to you"
(Roth, 1989: 202)

Through exploring these pre-existing knowledges I allowed them to be heard and expressed. This was also a very cathartic experience that allowed me to visit, then release, built up emotional energy through movement. By fully connecting with my body in the different contexts I came to know more deeply how I experience. The other knowledge I came to know on a deeper level is how I perform.

One of the weeks I attended, I came late, arriving in the 'Chaos' of the situation. I felt overwhelmed and it was difficult to complement the erratic energy shifting in the space and the self-created idea that I needed to conform to the high energy. I realised that I needed to find my own rhythm in the situation. Fortunately I had creative and energetic reserves in me that I was able to tap into so I could realise this.

Weeks later, at another class, I had almost expended nearly every drop of my energy just to get to the evening. However, I completely surprised myself throughout the evening by my energetic movement and transformational process. I had almost detached from the fact I was so incredibly mentally exhausted and moved in a way that was free of any mental and physical limitations. This is a powerful space to be in, to realise that even though boundaries can exist in the activist environment, it doesn't mean that I cannot move in a way that chooses to feel uninhibited. At the end of the session, a part of me felt uplifted/energised and I had shifted much of my fatigue.

In recent weeks (October 2006), there reached a point where I wasn't just dancing the personal anymore but weaving the rhythms of the world into my forms. My focus had shifted from intensely internal to taking in the external. I was connecting deeply with the world around, expressing my relationship with it, bringing to life movement that came from both within and externally. I had shifted to intimately explore the type of performer I yearn to be and the type of performer I am.

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