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November 30, 2005

artist's way: week 12

by gl. at 6:43 pm

this week we did one of the hardest exercises i facilitate in a creative cluster: authentic dance. doing it well hinges on group trust and a willingness to take creative risks. i remember when i first participated in this activity i wasn't sure i could do it. i was positive, in fact, i wasn't going to do it until after i had done it. so facilitating it always makes me a little nervous because i understand how hard it is to commit to and how delicately it has to be handled. even people who have adapted well to exploring visual creativity exercises find creating art with something as intimate as one's own body is a challenging experience. the same is true for music exerices and using one's voice, and to some extent, the playback theatre exercise.

the tuesday night group had it a little rough. one of the participants was having a horrible night and though she began her dancing strong, by the end she was small: better than she had arrived, but not as transformative as last week's exercise. but the beauty of authentic dance is because it's not a performance but an expression of one's own body, not moving at all is still communicating something. authentic dancing is done in pairs, with the other person being your witness. having a witness allows you to remain grounded and pulls poetry from you even when you think the motions will appear to be meaningless.

the wednesday morning group really leapt right in, even the participant who looked at me with big round eyes as i explained the exercise. i could tell she was scared, but she was willing, and people often underestimate the power of being willing to try something in a safe space. and since there were only three of them, and authentic dance happens in pairs, i had to do it, too (and yes, authentic dance still makes me nervous. less nervous than it used to, but as the facilitator there felt like self-imposed pressure to be "good" rather than just expressive).

the wednesday cluster was having such a good time we actually got out 15 minutes late, which is unusual because i'm pretty good about getting them out on time, but some things can't be rushed. and i was surprised and pleased to discover that one of the participants has been influenced by sven, even though she's never met him. but his "witch" and "pajama dreamer" sculptures are hanging in the studio & she was thrilled w/ sven's new pegboard, and everyone asked for copies of "notes on making art." how delightful!

next week is the last week for these clusters. we've started to talk about how to continue artistic development once the clusters end, stressing the use of morning pages, artist dates, and finding supportive companions. after we stop meeting, i'll start promoting the next round of clusters that begin in february. promotion is one of my least favorite things ever, so if anyone has any tips or advice about who & where & what & how, please feel free to say something.


center (autonomy): a wooden cigar box filled with chestnuts, topped w/ a warm slate candleholder. a pool of silver & gold stars surrounds the box & the stone.

music: i began tuesday night with enya's shepherd moons, but one participant wanted something "angrier" for her so i dug around in sven's room till i found patti smith's trampin'. this morning i moved to enya's the celts, which has a little more body than shepherd moons but isn't as angry as patti smith. :)

posted by gl. | November 30, 2005 6:43 PM | categories: artist's way