dance ecology

“With everything having life, breath, the power to teach, breathe, and guide, with that in blessing shall we live.”
(River Junction Curly)

Dance ecology is based on the principle of equivalence.

The 4 key principles of my dance ecology work are as follows:

  1. contemplate the potential equivalent value of all things;
  2. re-member the invisible;
  3. remember that we forget (and then what we forget); and
  4. engage in spontaneous acts of responsiveness and reciprocity

see blog entry: ‘vulnerable authority’: how we make choices whilst maintaining openness with the world

With Zach Raffan Lake Burley Griffin, 2011

With Jim Denley, Monica Brooks, Dale Gorfinkle, Floating Land, Noosa, 2013.

Re-genesis, Lake George 2003.

With Claudine von Neiderhausen, Ellie Youdale, Angela Badolato, Sam Keenan, Ruth Clare Pickard; property of George Gundry, Willeroo, Lake George.

Think as one with the tree.
It will communicate.
You are tree, and also human.
Your body will dance but your eyes will change.
You will decide things differently.

Choreography is not the function of this work.
We are learning to use our whole bodies to listen.

The land holds you, the rhythm of the air supports you.
The elements say welcome and want to hear you as well.
You are moving/being moved.

Recovery: Tidbinbilla, ACT, 2004

“If you do not acknowledge the dusk, do not dance. The changing light, the coming of the birds, the changing temperature of the air…; if you do not acknowledge these, there is no point.
You will be issuing a violation.”

Claudine heard the colour of the sky. She began slow, a minnow waltzing to the clouds.
The wind began to churn, her body whipped with the dying of the light.

We felt relief, after all the others’ efforts and superimpositions.

Sutherland National Park, 2002.

You can be immobilized with injury and still have dance within you.

“We have logged hundreds of exercises, but it comes down to a way of thinking.”
(Herbert Blau, European theatre director)

Freedom in the body reflects a state of mind. If your concern is ecology, state of mind is far more important than technique.What is the body when it hears Snake in the grass? It is a tool of reaction, it changes breath, it becomes still. You hear each other breathing. Snake respects you; the grass relates to both of you. You are fully there.

In this kind of dance, one comes to question the self, question right action, question outcome. What is one in such a moment? Everything and nothing.

Whilst working in a National Park, the group had a few hikers pass by.
One of the hikers tried to pull away her son. But Mum, he said, they are beings. He was not frightened, needed no explanation.

The child, the child-like, lives in a state of potential, of play. The depth of dialogue involved in play can change the way we negotiate the world.

Re-genesis, Lake George, 2003

  1. Once I heard a tree, in the country, tell me it was dying. But it was also vibrant, alive. I stretched to look up its magnificent trunk of 50 feet. Its branches punched the air. Its noise was exhilarating. I ran all the way home.
  2. George tells me the trees in this paddock were all planted at the same time. Hence, they are now all dying at the same time. The soil is now poor and cannot sustain saplings. He doesn’t know what to do with the paddock, watching the trees all die.

My dancers were not getting the right idea. They were dancing from their preconceptions. I had to show them what I meant.

Although still recovering from a very serious injury, in which my pubic bone had separated, I stepped in to dance.

The main point of the dance is to be in communication—in as responsive a state as possible. Yet the dancer is not subservient. She dances from a state of equivalence. Thought to sensation, body to land, molecule to molecule. Respect your skin, the ant, your breath, a shadow.

You will note I am not bending low, or stretching out my legs, as at that time I still could not; but there is communication throughout the whole of the body. This is what matters—that the information flows: receive, direct, release, respond. The wind is a child who wants listening.

The dance lasted five minutes.

At one point, my ancestors walked in. Europe’s feet crackled the dry grass. You can see the old dark crone, growling her memories. She left as quickly as she came. Everyone laughed. There is no possession.

I walked away from the space. The arena amongst the trees met me more fully than anything else I had ever met. But I heard it deeply as well. That is the reciprocation.

Participants on this page: Claudine, Hellene, Ellie, Geoff, Patrick, Zsuzsi