Saturday, August 25, 2018

Bahia Honda State Beach

This post was going to be about dance but instead it is about another passion of mine. Looking deeply into the nature of things. I took a trip across the country to visit the one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, so the sign says in the parking lot. I'm at Bahia Honda State Beach in Key West Florida standing behind a linked fence when I took this photo. This is as close as I came to stepping on the luxurious soft white sand. What I failed to take into consideration when I planned this perfect beach and snorkeling trip, is how impermanent Nature really is. I imagine it to be always there waiting for me, day after day, the same. Last year, Hurricane Irma hit the Key West Coastline and impacted this beach. I forgot that bit of news. So, here I stood, in it's wake, at a closed beach. Maybe that's why the hotel had this too good to be true deal.
Another important lesson learned is that a Hurricane, such as Irma, is a death sentence to the fragile coral reefs and coral life. For these sea creatures are territorial and stay devoted to their homes even with the warning signs of incoming danger. This area is a home to many species of sea turtles, and this tempest meant massive devastation for the sea turtle population. The sea turtles are too slow to get away safely and some varieties of turtles were only hatchlings when the tidal surge hit. Other species of turtles still had eggs laid in nests, pummeled, some at this beach. I share their loss in my body felt sense of connection to this planet, this home. Impermanence. It brings sadness, beauty and compassion for all.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

In View of Efva Lilja

I have been hurled forward thinking differently about dancing in my environment thanks to the work of Efva Lilja. Lilja is a choreographer, artist, researcher, and author. She writes beautifully about her movement experiences. At one point in time, she was awarded the opportunity, from the Swedish Royal Academy of Science, to be part of an expedition to the North Pole. She went on to explore movement on the frozen terrain, to document the somatic experience, and to keep a travel journal of the whole process that would eventually lead to a public performance. I was moved by her observation, "The Arctic is like nowhere else." Have I ever been brave enough to go somewhere else, like nowhere else I had ever been? How awe inspiring it is to realize the immense variations of environments on this home planet. Lilja oberves, "The cold forces us to constrain our bodies, to stop wasting heat." The darkness sets a different rhythm and the natural world makes its considerable resistance felt." I read this at my home in California, and what refreshing somatic imagery to have on this hot summer day. How can her research inform my dance pursuits? I am not planning a trip to the frozen landscape, and my environment seems rather tame in comparison. Yet, what if I were to switch the roles. What if someone, or some creature, who had only been accustomed to the Arctic life, came on an expedition to my land. This line of questioning puts me in another suit, something new to try on: to feel how my environment is like nowhere else.
Suggestions for Dance Making Watch Efva Lilja on YouTube: the Art of Dance in a Frozen Landscape Give yourself time to explore your own improvisational movement in a safe place outdoors, with a dance friend would be ideal! One can read the suggestions, sensitive to timing, and watch how the other one moves. Then switch roles. Or, if you are alone, read and memorize the suggestions and then follow them on your own timing and see what develops. -Close your eyes and spend time centering your mind and body - Feel yourself in your body, with your feet making contact with the ground - Continue with eyes closed and feel the light, then air, then energy around you. - Listen to your environment with your eyes closed. Allow your sense of smell and taste to be activated too. - Open your eyes and sense what is the first thing that catches your attention, what calls to you? - Let your first impression, surprise you, and follow your instinct to move!