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3 Weeks ago at the river to now… rehearsal notes

September 12, 2011

Two weeks ago the Genderfantasy crew and I faced a conundrum. We had scheduled a 6 hour mega rehearsal to get in deep with the GF! material and workshop our process. When we met the previous Monday rehearsal we realized it was going to be the nicest week of summer. Conflict. Be inside for 6 hours or go to the river and sacrifice rehearsal? NO WAY! We just took rehearsal to the river!

We all met at my old neighborhood coffee shop in Goose Hollow, the Fehrenbaker Hof. We got some provisions and took off. I declared rehearsal was starting immediately and made everyone lipsynch for their life while crossing the 405 I5 connection driving out to the expo center.

We arrived to the park and made our way to the beach we set up our picnic altar and feast and thought we had found a secluded awesome spot.

1/2 way through our authentic movement warm up a very large russian family decided to camp next to us and start fishing. They gave us some curious glances but didn’t over react to two people watching two people with their eyes closed crawling through the mud and the water splashing and crying and singing and dancing…

Another group of fisherman dropped buy too and we kept going this time switching partners. I had my eyes closed and ended up carrying flowers into the river and getting in deep and not knowing which was was which… I felt safe though knowing if I was in lots of trouble my partner would jump in and tell me it was time to wake up.

In our rehearsal process we use a technique I learned from Tahni Holt when I was dancing in her piece Culture Machine. It’s called Authentic Movement. Basically you close your eye and your partner witnesses you and holds space while you do what ever it is you and your body need to do to be present and move and explore. In the studio that looks like us calling your name if you are about to kick someone in the face without knowing it, or calling your name if you’re gonna back into a light fixture etc. At the river it looked like paying attention to the families watching us, picking up glass from the mud and making we didn’t get to close to the fishing lines and lures… or drown. This sounds scary, walking or dancing with your eyes closed into a river where there may or may not be glass, fishing lures, boats or whatever but I didn’t feel unsafe. This practice (for me) is about acceptance, acceptance of our physicality, our limits, our imagination and it’s limitlessness, and trust in our partner to witness and protect us. I am forced to confront and accept the nature of the space I am dancing with. In this case the beauty of the sky, the warmth of the sun, the squish of the mud balanced with the stink of the mill, the possibility of glass and the stares from our neighbors.

We moved camp after that.

We needed a bit more privacy in our public rehearsal. We had been dancing for about an hour and then picked up our altar picnic moved it down the beach a few hundred feet and started again.

For the next 2 hours we experimented with breathwork, ecstatic improvisations, swimming, dancing in the hot sun, and had a lovely feast by the trees. I shot an interview with the cast about their experience with GF! so far and I will post that once I edit it down a little bit…

That whole day was magick. It was sweaty, it was gross, it was awesome it was fun. At one point I remember dancing with distinct sense that the ecology of the beach was listening to us. I felt that in my body like a million million little green cells bouncing and pulsing in me. I guess synesthesia is part of our process too! It taught me how to open up in the midst of conditions to listen to what’s behind the veil and hopefully catch a glimpse of what treasure might be received.



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