hearing to listen

When you interact, are you hearing to listen? Or hearing to respond?

A month retrospective, travel-style.

New York, New York

Dance on Camera Festival, Batsheva/Ohad Nahrin’s “Last Work,” Mr. Gaga.

February started off with a big bang in the Big Ap.

Though I’ve never seen Batsheva perform before, I already knew of the magnitude of influence the company has on the contemporary dance world. What I didn’t expect, however, was the massive crowd and concert-like atmosphere created by protesters, ticket buyers, audience members, passerbys outside of the BAM Opera House. Chaos pre-show made the entire vibe of the evening electric, vibrating with a sense of eager, edge-of-your-seat kind of sensibility. The piece was thoughtful, sculpturally brilliant, unlike anything I’ve ever witnessed before. Not to mention the gusto of the guy that legit ran on a treadmill upstage right for the entire 70 minute duration. Last Work was equally breathtaking and life-giving. A curious, multifaceted gift given to us by Mr. Gaga himself.

Earlier that day a documentary was screening at the Lincoln Center Film Society that delved into the life of Ohad Nahrin, founder of gaga technique and the current Artistic Director of Batsheva Dance Company. A man of many layers, this piece peeled back a history on his life, revealing truths both personal and professional that make him who he is as a dance maker, a mover, a creator of a form. If you’re into it, you should read the list of best quotes from the film. Here’s a goodie:

“What is unique about gaga is the demand to listen to our body before we tell it what to do and the understanding that we must go beyond the familiar limits on a daily basis.”

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Troy, New York

EMPAC, Okwui’s Poor People’s TV Room, late night snowfall reveries.

A piece of unique, poignant performance art in the context of a large, beautiful venue… I came away from this performance with more questions than I thought possible. My perspective on the disjointed, often sporadic nature of the way I receive information from the media was highlighted. My understanding of the “Bring Back Our Girls” campaign enacted by Michele Obama was broadened. I suddenly felt there was so much I didn’t understand. I am ignorant to the full story in many ways – as are the majority of us these days.

Keene, New Hampshire

Dahlia Nayar and Redfern Arts Center, Rockin’ Road to Dublin at the Colonial Theater, several hours worth of coffee shop book reading.

A good pal from college is now touring with a part-rock concert, part-irish dancing show and I had the distinct honor of witnessing her new life on the road. Irish is an area of the dance world that I’m also proud to say I know absolutely nothing about. Aside from my vague understanding of River Dance, my knowledge is remedial at best. All I gotta say is, this technique, this world is unlike any other form of movement expression. I think I also appreciate it so much more from the insider view of observing Moi through college – countless trips to take lessons on weekends, competitions – the dedication it takes to pursue this particular craft is astronomical.

After receiving the suggestion to attend from work, I witnessed Dahlia Nayar alongside another dance artist and a musician, explore the ideas of home. What gestures, sounds, memories, movements remind them of the precious sensations that only belong to home. After an hour of being drenched in linens, socks, clotheslines and clothespins, my own memories of folding laundry with my mom in the farm house family room and running free through the pine grove began to surface.

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Frederick, Maryland

Half marathon prep, saying hellos, saying goodbyes.

Speaking of home… President’s Day weekend brought familiar faces, smells, sounds. I wonder when the next time I’ll spend more than a few days here will be. I ponder how hard running a mile to the end of the park used to be as I pace past the bell tower – my old end-of-run landmark. I think about where we’ll all be once my Peace Corps joining friend returns from her assignment. I think about how long and short two years seem. I think about solitude. I think about community. I think about gratitude.

Albany, New York

Young the Giant, “Cough Syrup,” and other movement mentions.

A work pal introduced me to the work of Young the Giant, where I quickly assimilated back into the world of young peeps, of concert life, of the raw and stirring energy that a crowd full of fans brings. My mind wandered to how it must feel to write music that means something to you, then months/years later play it to a crowd full of people that know every riff and word. Chills. As the lead singer riffed through the lines of the ever-popular “Cough Syrup,” and “My Body,” the simple waving of arms side to side brought the whole crowd together, in sync. United by movement.

Beacon, New York

Dia:Beacon, Glass Blowing Lessons, a Jazz Trio, rounding out the evening at Roundhouse.

A magical 24 hours in a quintessential small town along the Husdon. Admiring the gorgeous, large scale work of visual artists in the endless rooms of Dia, and simultaneously dreaming up what performance art and dance might look like in that space. Come to find from a book in the gift shop, many big-name choreographers thought of this brilliant idea before me…rats. A girl can dream. The beauty of this day was in the moments of quiet, of listening, of ingesting and seeing as opposed to projecting and overriding the experience. Roundhouse is potentially one of the most beautiful spots to sip slowly on red wine and brew over a day’s experience. The takeaway: visit Beacon.

Williamstown, Massachusetts

Dorrance Dance, Big Lovely, The Blues Project. 

Friday night. Williams College. Experiencing some incredible musicians at the ’62 Center. Dorrance Dance, if you don’t know them already, is comprised of a group of ultra-talented movers. Tap dance is at the core of the group, but what you see is much more than the genre can describe. They are innovators, they are careful technicians, they are some of the best musicians I’ve ever heard. My respect stems largely from their self-fed feelings of responsibility to be true to the roots of the craft. That’s where The Blues Project comes in. A show that honors the traditions of both tap and blues music, the sense of gratitude, of humility, of passion, was absolutely palpable.

When you experience art, dance, music, people, situations, conversations… are you experiencing to respond? Or experiencing to listen? To learn? To grow?

 

 

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