The Elements Project: Flocking in Wind

Posted by on December 30, 2010 in contact improvisation, dance, group dance, improvisation, Karen Nelson, performance, space, tuning score, wind | 3 comments

SCORES with WIND & SPACE

Like a lifetime friend or family member, like our homes and our body itself; we often take The Elements and the vital role they play in our lives for granted. This past week with the full moon, lunar eclipse, winter solstice and a 4 day retreat with the Grandmothers to practice deepening our connection with AIR; I was reminded of the profound debt I owe to all of The Elements; but especially to AIR. I do not know any being who has given me, and all humans, as much as AIR. Just think that our life itself would not be possible, no atmosphere, no breath, no motion, no sound, no voice. If we lost AIR, even for 15 minutes, nothing as we know it would BE! Grandmother encouraged me to think back upon how air brought me to where and whom I am now. I envisioned the windy storm that brought my Irish ancestors headed for New York off course to New Orleans instead and led them up the Mississippi to begin farming in the mid-west. I remembered that it was “Spirit Wind” that led me to find Butoh when I was painfully forcing myself to complete a Broadway track theater MFA at an acting conservatory in Florida. I honored the relentless and unnerving gales in Port Townsend that blew me back to live on Whidbey Island where so much richness, healing, knowledge, love and balance that is my current life would never have been possible otherwise. I could not have flown through the air on the great metal birds that brought me to Japan, New York, Costa Rica, Hawaii and so on. If it were not for the motion of the AIR all of my travels and transformations would have stagnated.


I owe a great debt to my relation the AIR for sure. Grandmother asked my proposal of how I would take responsibility for that primary relationship. My answer involved daily dance, prayer and meditation practices recognizing and offering to The Elements AND….this project, the YearOfCo11aboration with MomoButoh Dance Company because it is one way I can publicly uphold and celebrate my lifetime commitment to love, honor and cherish The Elements with my words/thoughts/actions, till death do us continue to intermingle.

Last week at Centrum in Port Townsend, I attended the annual 3 day Contact Improvisation Jam. The spaces, events and company to dance with all day and night were so refreshing. After a good long lab session about the techniques of falling with grace in partnership, we scooted out to catch the wind and last rays of dusk on the bluff overlooking the Straight of Juan de Fuca. This Flocking Score was very spontaneous, totally not rehearsed or even spoken of before hand–as you can see by our actions; that our director Michal Lahav called “Beautiful foolishness.” We were certainly influenced by the strong presence of the AIR in our shifting and waving flock going to and fro together as well as this vast venue of unbounded SPACE. The music was added afterwards as the wind sounds on the film were deafening and the dance matched so well with this live jazz.


Music: Ethiopiques Mulatu Astatque’

After the group flocking, I celebrated and gave thanks to our unseen partner, the WIND, with a short solo/duet just between us. It is strange how much enjoyment and love I feel for the wind on one hand and on the other hand my unsettled feelings with this very same wind that drove me away from living here in Port Townsend. I guess that kind of ambiguity and paradox is the nature of any long term committed relationship, and certainly with this one I have with the WIND.

3 Comments

  1. love it! thank you, dear momo, for the inspiring dance of flocking – makes me smile large with joy… wanting to dance with the flock / the wind… so beautiful!!

  2. Weeee!! this looks fun and contagious…thank you!

  3. Oh my! Dancing with a flock! Must do this! And the wind is a precious resource. (You all are so cute I could eat you up.)

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