Wow, it’s been quite a while since my last post eh! There are too many things to do with so little time! The unsteady internet connection here is not helping either. But here I am! There are many things I’d like to share with you. I will divide them into several posts – so watch out for a stream of posts soon (that is, if things go according to plan!).
But first, I want to show you this:
The snow has started to melt away! I took this picture yesterday afternoon – it was such a beautiful sunny Sunday!
And now, in my last post I told you about the Bread and Puppet Theater who came to town and that I was volunteering to help with their show here. So here’s the story:
Me and my two friends were among the first VSC volunteers who arrived at the Lowe Lecture Hall. They were unloading – so we helped them a bit. There were a few old leather suitcases, musical instruments, a sewing machine, a few head masks, etc. Peter Schumann himself is a very unique, interesting old man in his 70’s. He’s so full of energy and ideas. His warmth and unpretentious manners are wonderfully embracing. There were only a handful of his crew there and you can tell from their appearance that they’re some sort of artists – they’re beautiful in unusual ways and they dressed in their very own unique way. Interesting people.
So, after all the volunteers have arrived – there were 12 of us – Peter gave a short introduction about his troupe and what we were there for. Turned out they were there not as Bread & Puppet Theatre, but as Lubberland National Dance Company! And guess who were to be the dancers? Peter himself with his 6 people and … the rest of us: the VSC volunteers!
It was extraordinarily fun and inspiring! The show consisted of 6 dances; and Peter explained the theme/meaning of each. The overall theme is basically political critic on the election… although it’s not always obvious. Then we started rehearsal right away… he gave instructions and showed examples of the kind of movements we expected to do, and we followed. It sounds impossible but we did rehearse for about 2 hours only and that’s it! There were a lot of freedom for us in term of how we ‘dance’ – although of course there were some directions that we had to follow, i.e. point your finger and move around, move your body gently as the followers of the Goddess of Sleep, prance about – run as if you were being chased, roll on the ground, freeze the moment the cymbals bang, etc. etc. I really enjoyed it! The atmosphere was so relaxed and playful and fun. It’s so liberating to move and dance like that! I loved it!
The first dance depicted the battle between the Money People and us, the people. We’re riding ‘horses’ – which were brooms held upside down. The brooms were made from sticks and branches like witches brooms. This first dance was really hard on my left injured knee and on my breath. I was relieved that the rest of the 5 dances weren’t that vigorous although still involved a lot of movements. There were very little props and there weren’t any costumes except for a few puppet masks.
After the 2 hours rehearsal, we all went to have dinner at the VSC’s Red Mill – this includes the whole Lubberland National Dance Company crew! Afterwards we went straight back to the venue to do a brief overview… refreshing our memories about which dance follows which. So exciting! By 8 p.m. the Lowe Lecture Hall has filled up and it’s show time! It’s opened with a unique performance by Claire of the Bread & Puppet Theater; she’s telling a story with a kind of sing song way – with a help of a hand-painted story board. It was hilarious! And of course political. Then it was the dance show: ours. I had a marvelous time! I surprised myself that I was not nervous at all! I enjoyed every moment of it! It was a success too!
(yes, the photos are blurry – I’m still waiting for the official documentation…)
I felt so happy! And I received unexpected high praises on my dance… For the next few days afterwards people kept on telling me how beautiful and graceful my movements were; how their eyes were just drawn to watch me amongst the rest. How I was so into it, how my face and eyes were so expressive. Many even asked me if I was a professional dancer! One of the newer writer residents who is a trained, professional dancer even asked me that. When I told him that I’m not, he said that my movements looked like a pro and that I definitely have it in me – that I should perhaps consider developing that, adding that to my work or something. I wasn’t expecting such responses… of course I was pleased but also a bit embarrassed at the same time. I’m especially pleased because the movements are mostly my own too! My mother would be very happy and proud when I tell her – she, the real dancer!
After the show they served warm home-made bread with garlic spread. So yummy! It warmed both our belly and our heart! At the foyer, they had postcards, posters and mini publications of the Bread & Puppet Theater and I got a couple of booklets for my step-daughters: How to Make Junk Instruments and How to Make Puppets – I hope they’ll like it!
Then… we rushed back to the Dance Party! Yes, the residents were hosting a Dance Party at the Kahn Barn Drawing Studio that night! It was so fun and exciting! The girls were all dressed up and made up their face – we felt so preeety :). I felt like I’m back in college years – with my art school friends preparing for the Fancy Nights… Oh good ole’ wild days! Jason who brought his iMac to the residency use it for the sound system – playing a dance mix from his iTunes. Such eclectic music to dance to… it was great fun! What a super wonderful Saturday it was!