Register Wednesday | June 26 | 2019

Take a Deep Breath

What do you think about in the first moments you wake up?

Sunlight, gusty breeze, beautiful morning. What do you think about in the first moments you wake up? Do you remember bits of last nights dreams. How does your body feel as you roll out of bed, what's the first thing you do? Bathroom, coffee, sit and stare?

I got up and am writing to you folks because today looks to be very busy. Drop of a videotape and pictures for a friend, go to class and then off to new phone job for ten hours of training. Aaahhh, my life is so glamorous. A month ago I was in Holland and Germany on tour and now I get to call and annoy people with questionnaires. The sad thing is I am a dancer with two gigs and a grant. Not writing this to complain about my personal situation, it is just the reality of being a dancer in Montreal. Most of us are going on twenty years of training and barely surviving. The only dancers I know making good money work for Celine Dion or have become strippers.

Don't get me wrong I know things are rough all over and that I am personally pretty lucky, but I get so jealous and angry at the airheaded zillionaires of pop culture. I can't help thinking of what I would do if I had a quarter of their means. But instead they capitalise on their sexuality, perform songs and create images produced by someone else and without an original thought in their heads. I know so many talented musicians, dancer and artists who are brilliant and original and can't pay their rent. It is the people doing derivative, tried tested and true who get the chance for material success and artistic freedom. I know popular art is manufactured for the masses but I think the masses could handle a higher calibre and some innovation. Of course there are successful talents but I wouldn't say they account for the majority of what is out there.

I think it is also up to us to stop recycling the fashions and styles of a couple decades ago and to actually invent new movements for our times. I mean are we going to rehash grunge in two years, what happens when we get back to 2004 - will there be anything new to revisit.

Man, I started off happy and ended up here. Sorry, it is the prospect of the looming phone job. But we all have to do these things from time to time. Know I am lucky to get to spend most of my time being physical and creative. O.K. so here are some thoughts from yesterday.

- make decisions quickly, be authentic, make the right choice in relation to others, every choice can be potentially right if you commit to it, be clear, listen, follow your own track, shift, contrast, stop judging, relate energetically, add, embody a qualitative state, imagine a narrow hallway dimly lit, remember the way the sunshine moved through the leaves that day, helium, rose petals, dust, source your experience for inspiration
*ideas from improvisation rehearsal last night with Katie, Shandoa and Ami

Heels into the floor, feel your tailbone drop away, reach out the top of your head, don't trust your physical perception of your body, aligned to you may be out, feel the break in the hips, your shoulders dropping down your back, let your bones fall in to the ground, breathe, relax, resolve the way you are going to fall through space
* thoughts from technique class

If you are a dancer you can relate to this and if you aren't I wonder what you'll make of it. It seems almost every teacher of movement has a different take on how to do the essentials of being a human being in this body. How to breathe, stand, walk, fall, see and think. Although, I am really enjoying what I am learning right now, there is a point at which you can't revise the way you do these basics every two weeks and still function. Right now I am looking to replace some habits that are no longer working for me and welcome a new approach, but have decided not change the way I breathe for everybody. Yesterday, from morning class, to yoga and then to rehearsal I walked through completely different aesthetics, directions for inhaling and exhaling and directives for being physical. One says to move from the skeleton, the other focuses on muscularity and the last the body's liquids. Do normal people worry about their diaphragm and try to feel their tail bone while walking down the street?

When I have worked with musicians what has struck me is how they are allowed to own their craft. Of course they practice to refine their skills, but they don't face the constant corrections that a dancer does. At a certain level you have to be given the space to master your tools in order to express something. At one point I stopped going to class because I wanted the time to connect to the information I had already and decide how I personally want to use my body. Right now I am loving the group energy and learning someone else's movement vocabulary but I still struggle to stay connected to myself at times in class.

Anyway, I am off to do it all over again. Feel the space above the top of your head and reach your sit bones down into your chair. Breathe in deeply and exhale............