Two rectangular beams – wooden pillars, create a 7-foot wide 7-foot tall transition between two rooms in my home. I have a very intimate relationship with these bodies. I know their smell, their texture, their hollow places that give a bit; the sounds they resonate when I vocalize, bang or brush them with my body; the places I can hang, hide, stretch and slam. I feel them support my weight and give me balance as they encourage my full-bodied activation/attention and reflect my breath back to me. They have left their marks on my body, released muscular tension, and aided in alignment information. I enjoy exploring my range of movement qualities, testing my innovation with these ‘unchanging’ partners (I use this word awkwardly as the humidity, the location of the dog, the possibility of neighbors seeing me changes them for me) and I relish the somatic cognitive feedback I receive from the action of touch, focus, stillness in relation to them. I watch my shadow dance by candlelight.
My private practice this week existed mostly with these pieces of wood, though I did venture outside in the wee hours of the morning to dance with the trees. These were two very different experiences. First, I notice the depth of field for my focus and awareness expands greatly as I move myself outside. It feels quite different to be internally aware in the expansive space of wind and moon and shadows cast upon me by streetlamp light. Second, I did not attempt to repeat or recreate the pillar partner exploration with the trees, in fact I hardly touched them at all, which was odd. Finally, I find moving outside is much easier for me, maybe because there’s so much feedback that can influence my exploration. I feel more (gasp) authentic – improvising among the natural elements that exist before me already in movement and rhythm. I feel an unequaled intimacy with the dripping sap of the trees, the moss that creeps along the trunk, the etched forms of the bark – they amplify my senses and attentiveness to movement and relational effect/affect (…in the parlance of our times).
It is this kind of intimacy and knowing that I seek when dancing with humans.