August 10, 2012

Notes from the Performance Underground

Last night I had the sincere pleasure of performing A Dance on Yeats but not to at the Oak Bluffs Union Chapel on Martha's Vineyard. This is the second season I have performed at the festival but this year seems aptly special. I had made the trek out in 2010 to perform with my then partner, Joshua Sotomayor. As I performed last night, I had traces of that experience etched deep within me. This year, though, was a performance dedicated to the memory of Jenni Jenkins, the beautiful filmmaker who passed away late last year. 

Every time the warm lights slowly come up, I feel the warmth of the sun. That is when I start the mourning but that is also when I start the reverence. I dance this dance to carry with me the memory, the nostos that ancients wrote about in epic tales. This dance, which I will post as soon as I return, has a natural trajectory that begins quite subtle and gradually progresses until it reaches the pinnacle of feeling and emotion, the closing section is set to the music of Roy Orbison. 

Whenever I hear the drumbeats of Roy Orbison's Crying, my hair stands on end. I always feel like this is the moment I dance for memory and for feeling and yet the moment is what I encompass. I am the moment when that song comes on. I suppose that is the feeling all dancers aim for--- to feel so alive within their flesh and bones that there is nothing but this one moment. And that is the heart of Jenni Jenkins' memory, to me. I want to feel so alive that ultimately the moment is all that is.

And with this dance, I feel that.

Last night I drove through the winding roads of West Tisbury and listened to the the sounds of trees rustling in the wind. That is all. The sound of the car piercing through the air and hissing as the darkness encompassed me. I was nervous prior (and even throughout moments) to the late night drive. As I was driving on the beach roads that lead into the dark woods, I felt as though the ocean would amass me. I kept quiet, telling myself "You will be okay" in as soothing a tone as I could do. Putting on the radio helped. Somehow Led Zeppelin gets you home. Once I got the hang of the speed and the high beam lights, I was okay. I still had moments where I feared a deer would pummel my car or that a ghost would stop me in my tracks. But I saw the hostel sign not too long after and felt a minor victory within the narration of Melissa West's life.

I arrived because I put myself in the car.

This morning I write after eating peanut butter and jam on some toast. I love the slowed energy of a place like this. I go to sleep at ten or eleven in the evening and wake up by eight in the morning. This is all natural, I may add, because there are so many things to do one gets tired naturally. 

Tonight I dance again. My muscles are quite sore this morning but that is after taking a Horton technique class yesterday morning and after running my dance about 4-5 times. I have to remind myself to take it slow here. I planned to go on a run but I think that will have to wait. 

After having a conversation with an exceptionally cool fellow traveler, I have realized that I hold a lot of motivational blocks over myself. When I return to New York City, I have choices to make about what it is that I want from myself, how to better organize my time management, and how to make the most of my time here on this constantly moving planet.

I arrived because I put my shoes on (or took them off, depending on the perspective).


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