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November 12, 2006

artist's way: week 9

by gl. at 3:15 pm

we had a very small group last week: one was a known quantity, the others had horrible misadventures. but i was pleased they all checked in with the group and let me know before the class began. since i had planned for a large group activity, this meant i could hastily pick a different activity for the two who were left, and since it would be a pair, i ended up shuffling the authentic dance exercise into this session. one of the other reasons why i shuffled this activity forward was because on the participants who attended will not be here when i had originally planned on doing this activity, and because she had shared a story about her desire to dance, i wanted her to have this opportunity. and at the end, the other participant said, slightly surprised, "that wasn't so hard!"

authentic dance is usually an activity i save for the next-to-the-last session, after we've done a couple of other expressive art activities. it's scary for most people. but again, i feel quite strongly about exposing people to a wide range of art in order to develop a larger creative vocabulary. and i am always gratified when i know participants would never do something like this except in a creative cluster, because it means they trust the process, they trust the space, they trust the group, they trust me.

authentic dance isn't really necessarily "dance" in the traditional sense. there's no choreography or specific movements you need to accomplish. you simply allow your body to move in the way it wants to move next. it's sort of like morning pages that way. if this means you're petrified and you can only wiggle your toes, that's fine. you have 10 minutes to figure out how your body wants to move. you work in pairs: one of you being a dancer, the other being a witness. the witness' job is to anchor you, to watch you as if to look away would cause you to disappear. watching a dance in this way becomes active rather than passive, and allows the dancer to know that only one person is ever really watching them (in a pretty intense way, but it means all your self-consciousness can be narrowed to one person instead of diffused among four).

i know when i first tried this myself i was terrified. i almost refused to do it. but by that point i was beginning to trust the process, and understanding that i had the option to not move at all gave me a way to try it without feeling (too) foolish. it was horrifying and liberating at the same time, and i never forgot it.

center (strength): what says strength better than bricks? unless they also remind you to tap your inner strength and ask art everything. a simple red & white candle pattern edges them.

music: peter gabriel's passion. each wished they had gotten the music of the other, as one segment of the cd was quieter and one was more "dramatic."

posted by gl. | November 12, 2006 3:15 PM | categories: artist's way