As I really start to dig in to planning this mini-tour to Mexico for the loneliest part of here is now, I can't help but acknowledge that I am at a critical juncture in my little life. Having so recently been rocked by an inspiring grad school process (which gave me a way in to more deeply explore dance/movement as social justice) I have for some time now felt compelled to do more- not in volume or even scale of production, achievement or variety... but just to do more meaningful work. The radical in me is hungry to feel the vitality of hard work. The kind of hard work that is hard not because it is laborious and tiresome but because it is mindful, transformative, eye-opening, heart-opening, dynamic... I want to be engrossed in and committed to process. For me, the loneliest part of now is a unique opportunity for me to dig in to all of these desires with others, which is by far the most satisfying way to shake shit up!
SO... the plan is something like this: Between now and January, Desiree, Chelsea and I will be in the studio working through their solos. We will build these dances the same way all of the solos for this project have been built: with conversation, journaling, reflection, improvisation, investigation and feeling. At the end of January, I will be taking off to Perú for 6 weeks of volunteer teaching and artist residency with a pretty cool group called Making Dance Happen in partnership with Peruvian NGO Social Creativa. I will spend most of my time in Chincha Alta, teaching dance to youth, making dance films, and rehearsing, with some adventures around the country and a little touring of the dances we've created there. I plan to use this time to craft my live solo for the loneliest part of here is now. Thanks to technology, I'll be able to work with Des and Chelsea from over 4,000 miles away! THEN... using the funds raised by our generous community through our Kickstarter campaign, I'll meet Desiree and Chelsea in Mexico City. We will have a few days to rehearse together there, then hit the ground running! We are scheduled to be in Puebla for a week of awesome dance experiences at Performática. I'll be teaching in the workshop and we will share the loneliest part of here is now as part of the performance component of the festival. I am working on developing some other performance and teaching opportunities for our traveling trio (if anyone has any ideas let me know). I'm not sure exactly how long we will stay- it all depends on what opportunities arise. But when we return, you can expect a sweet performance in April or May! Many specifics are still up in the air, but my intuition tells me it's all going to work out!
As I prepare for this undertaking, I've been craving some words of encouragement- a reminder that to be bold and courageous is imperative in this time that we live in. To be awakened and resolute is vital. To have faith that art and movement are deeply important to the wellbeing of all people is a valuable and necessary motivation in my life. That rather than get bogged down in the overwhelm of one tragic global catastrophe after another, or allow myself to feel defeated by fear that what I am doing is unimportant in the bigger picture of all of this suffering, I have to trust that my intentions are good and that the path needs walking.
I have found the little boost of activist artist fire that I need right now in a moving book entitled, Radical Hope: Letters of Love and Dissent in Dangerous Times, edited by Carolina de Robertis. The book "addresses the tumult and danger of these times, from the perspective of a range of leading novelists, poets, journalists, and political thinkers. The anthology offers readers an antidote to despair: it is a salve, a balm, a compass, a rallying cry, a lyrical manifesto, a power source, a torch to light the way forward" (carolinaderobertis.com). It is a motivating read and I plan to share many inspirational quotes and passages from it as I go along this journey. I recommend it to anyone who needs a reminder that we are, as embodied in the loneliest part of here is now, we are not alone in our loneliness. When we are affected by despair, we can rest assured that we are all connected and have the power to (re)write this story. I'll start with a passage from Cherríe Moraga's letter in this book entitled, "A 'Holla' from the West Side." She eloquently put to words what my heart has been feeling:
All this to say: I am fool enough to believe that storytelling matters; that metaphors make spirits sing; that only art can convince us- in its brutal complexity, in its myriad contradictions, and its nuanced portraiture of love- that we, as human beings, long for meaning in our lives and that this longing ennobles us.