marginfades

The joy of movement. Words. Food & memory.

Posts Tagged ‘Odissi

A Quiet Place

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The place to find is within yourself. The athlete…in top form has a quiet place within himself, and it’s around this, somehow, that his action occurs…this is true in dance as well. There’s a center of quietness within, which has to be known and held.

“The Power of Myth,” by Joseph Campbell

 

 

Written by marginfades

May 8, 2012 at 7:27 am

Posted in Margins Fade, Motion

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Renewal (III)

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In the form of dance that I have the privilege to learn, there’s a philosophy of tension and release: various aspects of the body move in opposition to others – and yet there’s no discord in the display.

Rather, there’s the relief of overall unison: the body gliding as a whole across the bhoomi – not to mention a continual movement of those parts of the body, occupying the same space for a mere millisecond.

You might see it if you’re lucky, sitting in the audience, and choose to define it as a pause.  It’s not as important for you to see it (and if there’s too much of one…well, it shouldn’t really be there.  It’s meant to be elusive.)  It’s more important to feel it, as a dancer – and continually, not just in a moment of a routine or performance.

This state of being only comes with enough practice – studied deliberation – such that the body flows through its routine, without the brain minding it constantly.  With the body engaged, the mind’s free to make connections and associate, soar through a day’s worth of experiences, examine them, and release them.  This deconstruction continues far after the physicality of practice distracts the body and frees the mind.   There’s a depth of sleep borne of the body’s exhaustion that allows fragments of memory, flitting images, and snippets of conversation to piece together and remain if necessary, and dissipate if not.

When I awaken, after such a practice, I’m replete – and in spite of the harried day that follows, littered with the steely reflection of cars and concrete highways, the taste of bitter coffee, numbers and spreadsheets blurring together, I discover that I’m anxious to return to the floor, warm up and push through a practice, beginning with my personal warm-ups, a set of exercises, and steps both square and sinuous.  After my body’s already humming with exertion, I push it to sing, push out the day’s dross.  If I do this often and well enough, you may see the results.  I can only practice, and hope.

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Written by marginfades

May 6, 2012 at 1:41 pm

Posted in Margins Fade

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Renewal (II)

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The idea of slowing down the pace of life is hardly novel: there’s entire industries devoted to explaining to you how their product or service will truly give you the space and time to relax.  Vacations, massages, and cable television usually promise us a measure of peace – and yet we come home needing a vacation from our vacation, or unable to have calmed our mind during a massage, and exhausted from watching yet another marathon of a syndicated television series rather than anything that truly engages our interest, from a myriad channels.

What I found unusual in that brief moment in which we see the lady in repose in her friend’s old apartment is not its fiction and improbability (for that’s what it is: just a scene from a movie, with an actress whose best emotion is a projection of serenity).

I think of the possibilities that scene evokes.  Does the dream vacation have to be an exhaustive tour of a place’s most famous landmarks, with people I do not know to like?  What if it were simply a stretch of days in a place that nurtures and inspires me, instead?  (Must it be a pricey all-inclusive? )  If the idea of a stranger’s impersonal, practiced touch heightens my anxiety rather than releasing calm within me, is it what I need?  And is the oblivion induced by hours of an endless television series sooth me, really?  Music does: wordless, mellifluous.  (If I really want dialogue and action, I’ll choose it – with friends, in person.)

Elements of entertainment pervade each of these activities, though – and that implies a certain threshold of engagement on my end.  I can’t passively sit there and enjoy; I must research, and understand, and pick apart a nuance until every element is dissected and exposed.

This is important to know: what brings relaxation to most only keeps me primed, at full attention, to absorb and evaluate.  I remain in a constant state of tension.  I must pursue relief – and paradoxically, my path to it is studied deliberation.

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Written by marginfades

May 4, 2012 at 2:25 pm

“What The Body Remembers”

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One step, another – then a few steps together.

I learn to walk, anew.

The body did not remember this habit of movement, one foot in front of another.  There was no intermediate crawling, this time.  Dancing was hardly a distant memory: trapped inside, it had no outlet in a body that hardly understood that it could walk, once.

***

I had learned with such joy, such amazement that I could with a flick of a wrist and a tilt of my head, match a lilt of music with expressive eyes.  If the audience thought I was heading stage left, I was really moving stage right.  Push…and create tension – let go and pull…and it doesn’t end, this movement.  It keeps on going, push, pull, tension, relief – and they watch, mesmerized – and their wonder invokes Someone.

Such is the sacred trust created between an audience and an artist: follow me, trust me…and I’ll lead you a true way.

Forget an appreciative audience; true adulation comes from a guide, a guru: the satisfaction of another step learned, better executed than during the last round of instruction.  “Toe, step, brush…(hold)…step, toe, step and position.

And again, and again.  And once more, and again.  And repeat.  And practice, and step…until it flows.

by Vicknes Waran

The mind takes over, at some elusive point in the repetition, and it’s no longer a mechanically delivered from my body, but emerges quietly from within.

A saunter and a skip, a beguiling sashay: I walk once more, my arms swing free, no longer crutched in desperation. I sense that the dance is ready to emerge once more, and after another measure of patience, I can do it: a small series from no particular piece, just more and more complex sequences gilt with just a glimmer of grace, even less nuance.  It is all that I can muster – for now.  But it is, indeed, dancing.

Without thinking of it, my body has bent at just the right moment, just after the step, to create tension and to release – while my eyes slide and carry the audience’s attention away from where they want to take it, and right where they must take themselves.

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Inspired by a Scintilla 2012 prompt and Shauna Singh Baldwin’s novel.

Written by marginfades

May 2, 2012 at 9:01 pm

Posted in Margins Fade

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