Dance Therapy #3

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This week’s Dance Therapy (last Sunday)

I asked everyone (small session, only 5 people) the best parts and worst parts of their weeks, jotting a few words for each on a receipt roll and then ripped it up and scattered the moments, folded on the floor, announcing each as I picked up the scraps and read them, putting some in my pocket and throwing others back on the floor and doing a little movement for each until all were in my pocket. For those familiar with improv, this idea was inspired by the game Blind Line, where the audience suggests lines and then they are strewn about the stage and randomly interjected.

Feedback, the audience remarked on the unpredictability, would it be a good or bad one? and the phrasing, some movements were literal, abstract, etc.

After the session, one of the field members suggested to me that I try a summarizing sequence where I put all the moves (I can remember) into a dance at the end. I think I’ll try that.

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Moon Valentine

Moon Valentine is a performance piece I developed based on my own experiences with what some would call bipolar (read manic episode). It has sound art (live and pre-recorded), projection art, prop work, improv (I used a wireless mic for the first time), and audience participation.

 

Process

I signed up for another quarter of the RAW (Resident Artist Workshop) with SAFEhouse for the Arts in San Francisco. I created Moon Valentine inspired by my desire to process my psychotic break I had two years ago into art. It was also in January that I went to the Emergency Room and then the Psych Ward to begin treatment of a slow building shift from reality. In Moon Valentine, I portray this in 4 parts.

Moon Valentine

projection

The piece starts off with a poem I wrote based off of drawings that I made (in the projection art). Numbers are prominent in this poem. It talks about being 5 together or when I was 3 and you were 6. I like that it might imply age, but for me at the time of my mind going, I had come out to my friends as a plural being. Later on in the piece, I was going to talk about the 9 god-children that came out of my mental processes at the time, but I didn’t get there. I think it deserves more time and thought for mapping that out. I went to Ocean Beach to film the waves, particularly the sea foam left by the waves receding. I’ve been into using receipt tape rolls to write poetry on. They give a sense of length that remind me of journeys and how art is a map to a mental journey.

Spaceship

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I commissioned Cassidy to do an audio piece about my spaceship cruising and crashing. I made these forking lines on notebook sheets and laid them out on the floor. I also handed out small cups of rice and soft card protectors as sound props for the audience. I enjoyed the sounds of the people making noise around me while I was quiet.

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basking in the sounds

Jungle

plantingIn my story to connect the different scenes, the spaceship lands on a planet where I plant seeds (Styrofoam balls) in my home-world’s soil (scraps of ribbon I took home from work– I do ribbon tying at work and we trim the ends and these things usually go in the trash). My seed carrying case was a silver shower cap. There’s a part where I sing a wordless song. That’s a nod to when I went mental. I was inspired to sing a lot. I felt like it filled the air with meaning and beauty. The way I asked to go to the hospital was through song. This section is also about how I moved from Seattle to the Bay Area a little while after and I had to leave a lot of my things and friends at a time when I was very vulnerable and not all there.

I read a poem that’s mostly gibberish but also has little snippets like “theory one” and “they are” and “must not”– hinting at a dire line of thinking, trying to communicate– navigate– in a world where people tell you you’re not making sense and when you try to explain they just look at you with sad eyes.

The Institution

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In this section, I recruited two audience members (scientists), suited them with lab coats, and briefly demonstrated how to “diagnose” people. They cuffed (using a stapler) audience members with receipt tape with hand-written¬†words like “becoming” and “gift present” and “beauty sail”. The previous night I had diagnoses that were positive and negative. I talked to the diagnosing scientist afterwards and said that he did not give out the negative ones like “broken.”

Special Thanks

This was a “one-woman” show but by no means was I the only one on the team. Dmitriy helped with prop sourcing, Cassidy was the projector operator, mic dresser, hair dresser and make up artist and composer of a section of the prerecorded audio. Ben encouraged me to use the wireless mics to create some live audio (and helped me procure them). Cory was costume consultant. James worked the tech booth and a great thanks for SAFEhouse for the Arts, giving me an opportunity to create and perform.

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Dance Therapy, 2nd edition

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This week’s dance therapy session. Asked worst and best parts of the week to my Field mates. Did a gestural dance bit for each one. I read the words out loud before each one so my audience would know what was what. I ran out of time and didn’t finish the last 4 good moments of the week. A few repeats because of politics. Best: Womxn’s march. Worst: Trump inauguration. One person was sick this week. I replayed that by lying on the ground for a longish time. They found their worst moments humorous in my retelling. I’m thinking next week finding a way to make it easier to read. How can I keep the text off the floor and handy?

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Live Painting at Morning Yoga Dance Party

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Did this in about 3 hours. I started with an orange and yellow base with movement lines I did at home. I painted on the color, listening to cool dance music. Improvisational painting. At first I was going through the pattern of creating circular modulating rainbows and then I started a different situation at the corner. Added some sparkle pecan (which reads as brown) and a black border. When doing this I was surprised (for some reason) that warm yellow and blue makes a muddy green. I’m glad I brought my different colors of paint, haha.

When I stepped back and looked at the painting, I thought it was intriguing. I didn’t hate it but I wasn’t transported to a good place right away. It gave me pause. It was darker than my usual work. I like it now. It goes well in my dark bedroom.

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The Field, Dance Therapy

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I’m doing another cohort of the Field (read: workshop where we perform and get feedback from each other). This time at Luna Dance Institute in Berkeley! Some of the group has changed. Some has stayed the same. It was great watching the others, some familiar pieces, some not.

For this run, I am working on a piece called “Dance Therapy.” In this group of seven, I asked everyone the worst thing that happened this week and the best thing that happened this week. I took notes on on a receipt roll and then laid it out on the ground and performed a gesture/dance movement for each thing.

Feedback: a couple of people thought it was too fast, one person thought it would be nice to know when it was their thing they contributed, one person said it was very literal, all of them expressed a gratitude for the experience, going through their week and selecting a moment, and also hearing from the group, it made the group feel closer to each other.

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Ep 5 and 6 of Art Destruction Art

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Ep 5

I made a bigger art than usual to rip up on stage. I used pastel crayons on a rice paper. I talked a little about how it was a big week (the election happened that week) and how it was my first autumn in Oakland.

Ep 6

I made a big art in September and decided it was time to destroy it. I used Crayola Brush Pens to create the work.

To see these episodes, find me on Facebook!

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Episode 4: The Label of Artist

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still from “trailer” (Left), still from Episode 4 (right)

Short form: I did a short live video where I am letting my facebook followers know that I am going to do a live video later on the escalator at Millbrae BART station (LEFT). I did a freestyle monologue about the idea of calling myself an “artist” (RIGHT) while destroying this work (BELOW). I went to each audience member and held a flashlight to the piece, let them hold it, and asked them about what they thought of the piece. I spoke some of their words as I ripped it and deposited the shards into a plastic cup filled with water.

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“Transparent Edge of Peace”

Feedback freeform

walking through the audience, as if you’re talking to yourself, what does the audience see? meta awareness of levels, inclusion of words, felt included, what is art? humility and questions ~~ the dark and the wider staging, resonated ~~ stool, flashlight, facebook, sense of intimacy– performer or just me– and mystery~~ walking through audience, my heart was touched more, got to see and touch the art, more personal, naming colors, wondering about the video, felt satisfied by the light out, what is beauty, what is work, learning the big themes behind what is art, ~~ ephemeral, nothing is recognizable, a screen world hidden, witnessing you’re someone being an artist, you made something of the process, miniatur-ism creates a sense of theatricality.

Comments on the Facebook Video (Anonymized)

~At first, it was really painful to watch you tearing up your art. Now, I’m kinda into it. I like how you blow open expectations of what art is or isn’t supposed to be.
~Wut in tarnation
~Very cool Video!

 

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