Poetry and Movement


This past week a friend of mine invited me to a poetry project / dance workshop with Yoshiko Chuma.  It was amazing, we danced, we wrote, we choreographed – everything felt very natural and spontaneous and an expression of each of our individual damons.

I have never been a dancer or particularly interested in dance. I remember as a young girl thinking that the other girls who were interested in dance were not very serious. (This was probably an accurate assessment).  This was also my issue with theater, and to a lesser extent, singing.

In the past few years I have been very interested in dance. It originally started around 20 years ago when I started to practice yoga.   I started to focus on how my body moved and become more deliberate.  I practiced different kinds of yoga, and then kung fu.

I  had self diagnosed myself with workout ADD (I have since thankfully recovered). But workout ADD manifests itself as boredom in the repetitive movements of the workout. I was able to recover in finding nuance in the movements themselves, and also getting lost in the repetition (the repetition becoming a mantra or meditative in their repetition).

However during my period of workout ADD I started Kung Fu. Kung Fu was fantastic because you were always working on new forms.  Most of the other kung fu practitioners were dancers. What struct me about them was their ability to remember moves and their ability to touch other bodies.

I do feel like my kinetic knowledge (or somatic knowledge), is the least developed of all my knowledge systems. Although like any area of knowledge, I do believe it is possible to improve on this and I think I have improved especially through my work in Yoga, and then Kung Fu, Tai chi, Ba Gua, and other athletics (kickboxing etc). I was always athletic and in many respects there is overlap between athletics and dance when you remove the competitive aspect. The motivation is perhaps what changes. It becomes less about winning and more about the practice, about the action and the ritual.

I have become in recent years more interested in dance and movement, as I mentioned before. Not just “dance” – like fine art dance, but dancing party dancing or just dancing around the apartment with my kids.  I think the seed was planted when I read Gurdjieff in my early twenties – but i dont remember why or how or what Gurdjieff even talked about with relation to dance – maybe something about whirling dervishes.

This workshop was beautiful and fascinating in that we were all creating our own language. Dance is a language.  Gesture is a language.  I think I have written about this before.  There are, of course, unconscious aspects to this language – movements that we make automatically or unthinkingly -and then there are conscious movements.

Our movements carry signatures of ourselves. It is in many respects the most unique and personal of all languages. In this workshop everyone came up with their own dances based on the same prompts and everyone had both their own unique way of moving but also their own unique way of perceiving the original prompt and drawing meaning (creating a translation) from it.

I could connect this to sensors, translation, transduction, somatics, meaning making … But I’m just going to leave it as is.

Also I have a new newsletter – It is about the relationship between computation and our perception of our inner life (the psyche) and how this relationship expresses itself in every day life.

It launches tomorrow.