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!

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