Showing posts with label DOWH. Show all posts
Showing posts with label DOWH. Show all posts

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Women's Circle: 'Dancing an Unwinding,' Summer Solstice 2009



direct link to Dancing an Unwinding

Dance is an ecstatic, uplifting, enlightening experience. I hope this little video imparts some of the warmth and joy of the connectedness that occurs during these wild and nurturing dances. After last Summer's Solstice DOWH (Dance Our Way Home) session, some women kindly stayed to dance. The camera taped us for dance stills for an article I was writing. The footage was so sweet, however, that I created this little videopoem. You can read the prose poem here: Amaterasu.

Dancing Women: Erica Ross, Laura Nashman, Angela Greco, Jade Niemczyk, Linda Robinson & Brenda Clews. Event: Dance Our Way Home (DOWH), June 20th, 2009, at Dovercourt House in Toronto: danceourwayhome.com

Background music from *Collection Hapa* by Keli'i Kaneali'i & Barry Flanagan: mountainapplecompany.com

Videotaped, edited & prose poetry by Brenda Clews: sites.google.com/site/brendaclews 

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It's important for those in the entertainment industry to create smart, cool, sexy, funky, daring, glitzy videos to be noticed, to make a name, to become famous.

I'm not trying to call attention to myself except as one of the participating women; I have nothing to sell; I am not attempting to make money on this; I am not trying to impress anyone.

I'm promoting the creative self-expression of women, ordinary women, in unfacilitated dance. No choreography. It's all about feeling comfortable with who you are and flowering as yourself.

This video was shot on a tripod with a democracy whereby no-one got close-ups or special attention. No cuts were made to the footage, the music is uninterrupted, but some filters were added. The stop motion filter, for instance, was done frame by frame, about 7 hours. It took probably 20 hours to produce something that looks like almost nothing was done to it, that's perhaps slow and ordinary to the eye used to action and special effects.

Makes me think of Wordsworth's language of and for the common man, or Courbet's determination to paint the ordinary, stones, roads, fields, farmers.

An aesthetic: the beauty of the ordinary. How the ordinary is dreamy. How enlightenment flows out of the ordinary. How what is truly marvelous is the unassuming, the everyday, expressions of joy in everyone simply because they are. What is most surreal is the real. I hope to convey some of this with the way I chose to show the footage.



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Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Reflective Face

As masked women in the circle, we wear our secrets and our feathers. Bird-wing women. Masks represent ways we hide our feelings. We dance. Spontaneously a masked woman enters the circle, slowly or spinning or high stepping. At the moment of uncovering she removes her mask to reveal her reflective face. As woman after woman enters the spotlight of the centre of the circle dancing and strips her mask, we cheer. Vulnerable without what hides us, sweat, and crease, and laughter, we: flash glitter dancing glyphs; we: body poetry.





The Reflective Face, 2009, 13"x16"; 33cmx41cm;
India inks, oil pastels, acrylic & dried leaves on archival paper (on right, earlier version; on left, finished, with leaves dried nearly to veins, gloss, and more paint added -click on images to see larger versions)

I didn't like the finished painting, so have played with it in Photoshop. The original is varnished, very high gloss.







A poetic response to one of the exercises Erica Ross facilitated during her Dance Our Way Home session, 'Honouring Your Feelings,' the second session of the Nest & Nourishment series, last Saturday. She offers the same class each Wednesday evening.

I wished to write about the dance of the masked women and thought to paint a feather mask to illustrate this post. Because of the way the paper buckled with the wet paint, and the shape of the neck, I think it is a man angel. I call my masked man, or perhaps beneath the mystery of the mask, woman,  The Reflective Face.




A woman's sanctuary in the heart of Toronto.
Location:Dovercourt House, 3rd floor

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Where Butterflies are Born

When my own dance began, oh, it was hard. I lay on the floor, like a grub. I crawled forward following a line of sun that fell across the floor. I crawled forward and was pulled back, again and again. On I struggled, slipping back, pushing on. I fell off the path. Defeated. I pulled myself with pain, effort back to the track of sun. In the whole dance I made only an inch of progress, until I gave up. Almost by levitation, I felt myself rising. As if strings were attached to my arms and back and head. And those strings were pulled by higher forces and I began to dance like a marionette, shaky and wobbly on the floor. I was uncertain, but felt guided by unseen masters. It was a happier dance than the hard journey on the floor had been. I jumped and writhed and flopped and flounced like a puppet on strings, only I distinctly felt that I was achieving what I most wanted to achieve, and I only achieved it by letting go, and trusting. It was a strange, ecstatic feeling, perhaps like a newly emerged wing-wet butterfly trusting inborn instinct, rising and flying.

I'm writing about last Saturday's dance, 'Honoring Your Feelings, in the DOWH Nourishment series that Erica Ross offers. She is offering the same class this Wednesday evening.



A woman's sanctuary in the heart of Toronto.
Location:Dovercourt House, 3rd floor


At this point in the DOWH session, we were partnered and I was dancing what I was feeling while being witnessed by my partner. It is surprising what insights emerge in dance, isn't it. We bare our souls; we find kinetic metaphors for where we are on our life paths; we move through huge issues, blocks, grief, things that seem immovable. Like many, I couldn't live without dance. On the dance floor we support each other's processes. We give space to our intertwining energies. We enjoy our mutual beauty.



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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Honouring Erica Ross Honouring Us

Erica Ross is composing an 'About Us' page at her website: Dance Our Way Home. She asked me to contribute. I share only to encourage you to go, browse and pour over her site, its beauty.

“I've known Erica for many years and witnessed her blossoming into the teacher she is today. Her dance sessions incorporate the power of mythology to give us direction in our transformations through the mystery and magic of our own rhythms, the creativity we call on in our lives. Erica's DOWH sessions are always well researched, and carefully planned with open dance, partner exercises, a flow between movement and resting while Erica guides our visions towards integrating a greater whole within ourselves, in the relationships in our lives, our harmony with the forces of the universe. It is her loving care for the gentle and deep nurturing of women, our often fraught and splintered self-images and connections in an ever-changing world, in a safe and welcoming space that drew me to her Dance Our Way Home practice. In this practice I have found compassion and a celebration of us, as we are, as well as support for who we would like to become, the realization of our dreams.”

Brenda Clews, Writer, Artist


Brenda Clews is a poet and painter living in Toronto, Canada. Born in Zimbabwe, and having spent a childhood in the jungles of Zambia, she embraces the dance of shamanic healing that DOWH offers. She is a developmental editor, a tutor, a certified Kundalini yoga instructor. Published in literary journals, her work shown in art shows, she is developing an aesthetic of multiplicities, of our beings as prisms, in which dance is a central metaphor for living and understanding our lives. Read Brenda's poem "Bramble Rose" and writing "Erica's Dance Our Way Home". A small videopoem she created after the Solstice Ecstatic Dance in June 2009 may be seen on her Celestial Dancers page of her website, Art & Writings.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Dancing an Unwinding after a Solstice Celebration


Dancing an Unwinding after a Solstice Celebration from Brenda Clews on Vimeo.
This is my first videotaping of dance, something I've wished to do for a long time. After the Solstice DOWH (Dance Our Way Home) session finished, and most of the women left, a few kindly stayed to dance so we could get some stills for an article, but I liked the footage and created this little video dance poem. You can read the prose poem here: brendaclews.blogspot.com/2009/03/ericas-dance-our-way-home.html

Dancing Women: Erica Ross, Laura Nashman, Angela Greco, Jade Niemczyk, Linda Robinson & Brenda Clews

Event: Dance Our Way Home (DOWH), June 20th, 2009, at Dovercourt House in Toronto: danceourwayhome.com

Background music from *Collection Hapa* by Keli'i Kaneali'i & Barry Flanagan: mountainapplecompany.com

Videotaped, edited & prose poetry by Brenda Clews: sites.google.com/site/brendaclews

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Bramble Rose

Petal edges
butterfly wings
blue powder.

Blossoming
from the hips.

Singing
hip-hop shaking
strutting
struggle with closed bud
of a cocoon.

Here to blossom.

A whole life
to unfurl.

Unexpected, that.

It never gets boring.

The unflown flying.

Petals in the wind, pink,
blue dusting to indigo.

This sun, this rain
never felt before.

Be the valley of women dancing.
Be the flowers, and the earth,
and the wind, and the moon.

Tattoo me on your skin.
Ink me in colours of the meadow,
a blossoming bramble
rose

As I dance the opulent
blossoming
of you.

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a little ditty written at Erica's recent "Blossoming" workshop.



Image of gorgeous dancing women - a stylized version of a photograph at Erica's Dance Our Way Home website.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Erica's 'Dance Our Way Home'

The theme was Amaterasu, Japanese goddess of the sun, a retreat to and emergence from our caves. In the slivers of mirrors we saw ourselves and we enjoyed our shining. We mirrored each others' beauty. Did we become luminous beings by the end of the day of the dance of the shining?

Our sun-wings spread like sun beams caressing the air and we flew as angels of light, I am sure of it.

Everyone's skin was fragile, luminous. Didn't matter what age we were, or size, or what life has carved on us.

Did our eyes shine delicately lit radiating out to illumine the world?

I saw the women's eyes shining; I saw them enlightening the world with their woman-wisdom, their wily smiles, their open-flowered red hearts. I saw their curvaceous dances, their plunging depths, the way they flung themselves into ecstatic states from which they would never emerge, never, if life was composed of the harmonious flowing energies of the dancefloor.

The unwinding from the tight to the relaxed was like approaching an apex and once you reach it you fly. With your feet, your hands, your twirling torso, your wildly swinging hips.

We flaunt it. Our tulle and taffeta and silk and microfibre; pinks and greens and purples and blacks; yogic symbols and alpine wild flowers. Hot breath; luminous, damp and streaming.

In the dance we are embedded in the broad sweeping swaths of sun as she revolves around the planet illumining the world as she goes, spreading rays of wisdom like falling petals of light from the crown of the thousand-petaled lotus that she wears.

We are. In our quiet ways. Or exhibitionist. Or wildly celebrating. Deep. Rich in our sorrow. Visions. Glimmering. Sparkling. Bedazzled. Radiant. Luscious.

Dancing at Erica's Dance Our Way Home (DOWH) is very sweet.




Many thanks...





Beautiful Erica Ross leading a prayer for peace at a DOWH session.


A video created during a short post-DOWH dance at Summer Solstice where my voiceover was this poem: