February 21st, 2018

Washington Sq Park - Dèrive

I took advantage of the really nice weather and went to park to experiment with the motion-band and just see what happens to perform the sense-motion practice without the actual structure I previously had. I took my speakers and the band out and just started moving.

A man with a walking stick approached me and asked me what I was doing and if he could join me, I responded definitely and helped him to get inside the band. I suggested that he could close his eyes and by moving his body he could start visualizing how the flow of his breathing was within the different part of his body. I suggested that he could also represent the flow of his breath combined with the sensations inside his body. He told me that it was really interesting to approach dance in this way and asked me how he could get to move his arm because he doesn’t have a connection between his brain and the left side of this body, I told him to bring his awareness to the arm and think in ways of how we could move it. He was amazed within seconds the results he got with that. (I recommended this based on a Ted talk I saw about rewiring the brain with movement and dance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwkHK3rfKO0 )

While the man and I were dancing, a woman (Shira) came near us and asked what this was, the man told her if she wanted to come in and dance with us. She started dancing with the chair. When I told her to visualize the flow of their breathing between one leg and the other one, Shira got out of the chair and started dancing with us while standing. I was really surprised and happy about her reaction to the band. She told me it was the first time she was moving this much in six years and that I inspired her to move more. The man got tired, but Shira stayed with me for almost an hour. What she doesn’t know if how she actually inspired me to keep doing this practice. She kept telling me how her situation was so hard and that she wanted to move how she used to, I suggested trying to avoid saying that it’s too hard but to acknowledge what she has and how she can learn to approach it in a different way. I proposed her to try to move for 15 mins every day with the music of her preference based on her feelings and sensations.

Shira invited a deaf-mute old lady to dance with us, she suggested her to use one of the hangs of the band. My attempt was to perceive what comes intuitively within the participants, without my interaction as a first part of the communication. It was definitely challenging to get people into participating, but I speculated that also depends on the time I spend during the place.

During the performance, I kept reminding myself of not only the space that is created within the band but the space that the background of the band creates (people who were watching us and didn’t join). I said to myself that I didn’t want to invite people to come but that they will start participating as they become/integrate as part of the group and space. The space is created with the energy and how people perceive the practice.

For further practices, I want to explore both methodologies for people to feel welcomed to join without saying it verbally and that the approaches of the practice include people in a more holistic way. Journals with braille, different languages. How can I think of the band in a more inclusive way? How can I communicate the welcoming with colors? Materials? The structure of the piece itself?

After this performance, I started thinking about how the the motion-band allows the interaction between distance and closeness. 

* Images captured by Germán Castellanos and Lía Sued / text by Ana López