Tuesday, April 22

When I was 13 years old, my parents sent me on a coming of age quest. So I left suburban Massachusetts and was sent into the New Hampshire wilderness. I encountered there the woodland spirit-force of Uncle Otter, who led his energetic charges through our individual valleys and up onto a new mountaintop. We chose spirit names. I was Owl. (The first sentence I ever uttered, I am told was, "Owl flies.") There were other spirit names for each of the boys, and we made masks which showed our spirit. We reflected as we swam, and celebrated flying through the air into the water. We made a sweat lodge, a hot-house which we made ourselves from fresh saplings bent over in a frame, and heated with stones laid on sections of a once towering tall-standing, deeply-rooted one over a fire lit by fear-fire-fire-fear. Our old selves sweat and discharged their accumulated poisonous contents and we were born anew, naked in the cool air. We learned about honor. We learned from elders ways of navigating through life's stages. We heard how our elders had overcome their fears and built their lives. Uncle Otter and his adopted-son Wren modeled for us the correct living of the archetypes king, soldier, fool, magician and lover. We spent a night in solitude, with only the flicker of light in the leaves above us reminding us that the circle of men was still strong. At the end, we received our Excaliburs, and as we ventured forward we knew that we had many battles to fight.
Sylvie Guillem, Modern and Ballet dancer


Here Sylvie Guillem shares her philosophy of dance. It is important to doubt what you are going to do, what you have just done, in this way you share something of yourself. One can hide behind choreography, form, ideology covers over the vitality of a person.
"If you doubt, you portray yourself," and what more could be said? This is a stance of vulnerability and power, faith in the skill of your body wavering on its edge, pushing its way forward, forming something new out of a rediscovered honesty.

This piece is called "Wet Woman" The music is a bit strange, I recommend muting it. Listen to her voice from "Evidentia" perhaps. I especially love the juxtaposition of her fine form and the embodied resistance, her weightless pointed tips versus her strength as the water pours into her mouth, shoots at odd angles on her body.

It seems to reference Pablo Picasso's Woman Ironing 1904:

And here are some bits from a piece called "Sacred Monsters" by Sylvie Guillem, Akram Khan, Lim Hwai Min
Modern Dance Performances from China

This solo act is breathtaking. What is she telling us? Is she bringing us in or pushing us away? What has happened to inspire this?

I think that this captures the longing, camaraderie and story-telling of a good dance performance. The music is a bit odd, but the forms these women can make are amazing. You can trust and love these women, the weight and effort of their bodies carries their story forward.

there's a story behind bluejays which I have a hard time telling right now. But if you know it, and there are some who do, imagine sitting with me in a Gender Sexuality Xyz meeting, and watching as the Quaker campus minister stitches a finger puppet for her five year old child who she is raising with her female partner. As she adds the wings, the crest and the beak, it becomes clear that the light-blue felt is meant to be a 'jay.