Follow Your Instinct
At times we all get trapped into thinking too much… into overanalyzing the meaning of an artistic piece whether we are creating it or observing it from a distance. I had the beautiful opportunity to step out of that realm of thought, even if it was only for a couple of hours, when the Dandelion Dance Theater came to the Institute to do a workshop on movement and voice. “Now cross the room with your body embracing the fat!” This line resonates within me as I remember all of the bodies crossing the room at their own paces, with their own rhythms. I remember this from when the workshop leaders encouraged us to move across the room in a way that we “celebrated” the fat on our bodies, in whatever way that meant for each individual. This activity was probably the most memorable because we were celebrating an element that is so often shunned in our society. I was amazed by how simple the movements were, and yet how compelling they were to watch. Additionally, we moved across the room embracing muscle, bone, and so on. Before this activity, we had done some trust building activities. For example, many activities had started with palms touching like a pancake and the assigned “leader” leading the “follower” around the room with various movements. Some people expressed feeling more comfortable as the leader, but also mentioned the pressure they had felt making sure the follower was having a good time. Others enjoyed the opposite role more. Another favorite moment of mine was the vocal exercise which made me feel as though I was in a rainforest listening and interacting with many exotic animals. What was actually happening was a cacophony of Institute students voices rockin’ out. We sat in a circle (very ritualistic), closed our eyes, and volunteered our voices in whatever ways we felt compelled to do. It was wacky, it was soothing… it was definitely fun… The last thing we did was create little improv pieces, based on certain guidelines. We worked off the movements of running, walking, stopping and falling. Later we added the distracting, yet compelling “sound chair”. The improv pieces, although sometimes a little off focus, were so fascinating to watch and to take part in. Again, it wasn’t about the specific meaning you were supposed to get from the pieces. It was art as itself, not trying to be something else. And it was so alive, because it was spontaneous and because there was lively physical movement. I very much appreciated this workshop and am grateful that the Dandelion Dance Theater Company collaborated with the Institute, for the first time, this year. I hope that future Institutes will be blessed with this opportunity.