“READY is the familiar, but on the verge of change. Before moving toward the new and unknown, we choose to take time and acknowledge our past and place in the present. We’ve danced together. We dance together. We are ready.” – Program Note, OWU Spring Concert
I like how the word READY connotes a place in between movement and stillness. Sometimes when we ready ourselves, we might brace for the worse, but we can also surrender to what will happen too. When coming in to set a dance in a short period of time (5 rehearsals), it’s hard to provide a cohesive and worthy subtext in which dancers can continue their investigations and discoveries into how they shape their own meanings/narratives inside of the piece. I find this difficult because I tend not to build dances from pre-determined concepts or stories, although I do try to consciously craft/bring attention to metaphors as they emerge. In this instance, I was working with a group of upperclassmen, and one professor, who were in various stages of transition in their lives, involving significant events/landmarks such as graduation, relocation, and in general moving from one very familiar environment to something more unknown. I started to notice the compulsions we have to reflect, retrace, and recall before moving on. In those moments of reflection, we create a place (space) where the past and future (time) provides a way of locating one’s self in the present more specifically (and poetically too?).
“I locate myself in a relatively open space — a low hill is particularly good, or a wide field. I relax a bit, take a few breaths, gaze around. Then I close my eyes, and let myself begin to feel the whole bulk of my past — the whole mass of events leading up to this very moment. And I call into awareness as well my whole future — all those projects and possibilities that lie waiting to be realized. I imagine this past and this future as two vast balloons of time, separated from each other like the bulbs of an hourglass, yet linked together at the single moment where I stand pondering them. And then, very slowly, I allow both of these immense bulbs of time to begin leaking their substance into this minute moment between them, into the present. Slowly, imperceptibly at first, the present moment begins to grow. Nourished by the leakage from the past and the future, the present moment swells in proportion as those other dimensions shrink. Soon it is very large, and the past and the future have dwindled down to mere knots on the edge of this huge expanse. At this point, I let the past and the future dissolve entirely. And I open my eyes…”
Spell of the Sensuous, by David Abram