I recently read an article by Jan Erkert titled "the choreographic lens" and was struck by this sentence, "Our studios are clearly alive with making." As a dance-maker I am constantly moved to dance-make by all that goes on around me, but have always considered the actual "making" of my dance as something that comes from within. There is a pressure to conjure up the "making" like some sort of awesome magic trick. What if the "making" was instead this other-worldly energy not inside or outside of us, but in a new dimension all together. Each time we try to access it, we can never quite remember how to get there. We turn right instead of left, we go round and round in circles, until finally things begin to feel familiar, but we are never really sure. There will always be uncertainty and questioning when seeking the "making."
Meat Space Diaries #4: ODE premiered, finally, here in Portland, Oregon two weeks ago yesterday. I was pleased at the contrasting responses we received. Several attendees of the Body Mind Centering Association's first evening of performance works approached me with faces of utter delight and astonishment; others were wary about framing their responses in words; a few told me they were terrified or simply unsettled. Carla Mann, professor of dance at Reed College, wrote me that the piece was "wonderfully hard and soft." Could I be more pleased? Those who could hold the tensions did. Those who couldn't chose where to stand with the ambiguity and didn't look back. I think that's okay. I think my job as a maker of performance works that are, I hope, "worth a grown person's time," to quote Shelby Foote, is not to persuade my audience to see what I see, but to show them what I see, and let them look.
In my experience with raising pigs, a pig is remarkably suited to its own skin, and at the same time terrified by the imposition of structure on their soft, three-dimensional experience. How do I make art from that place? It's a living question, and there is no quick and simple answer.
Friday morning, I took my nest-cage down. Maybe it had to do with the unseasonably "cool" weather that day, but something inside of me whispered "cut the cord" and I heeded the call. This is the place the wildness lives, well... used to live. I stepped into my nest-cage for the last time Friday morning and devoured every inch of that wildness, soaked it up from the earth through my heels, into my bloodstream and the marrow of my bones. This wildness now lives within me. If she had a name, it would be something sultry or exotic like Tallulah. You see this wildness is new to me. I like to be in control, I follow all conventions of politeness, I'm buttoned up, reserved... all slicked back into a tight little bun without a hair out of place. This wildness has been suffocating, on life-support for the last 30+ years but this nest-cage gave her new life. Slowly but surely hairs fell out of place, and things began to loosen, until eventually the dam broke and this wildness, MY WILDNESS, roared back to life.