Author Archives: Paula Josa-Jones

the poem, the dance

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This is how I want to make dances.  This is how I want to teach.  This is how I want to be.

Thank you Mary Oliver!

 

 

Everything

I want to make poems that say right out, plainly,
what I mean, that don’t go looking for the
laces of elaboration, puffed sleeves.  I want to
keep close and use often words like
heavy, heart, joy, soon, and to cherish
the question mark and her bold sister

the dash.  I want to write with quiet hands.  I
want to write while crossing the fields that are
fresh with daises and everlasting and the
ordinary grass.  I want to make poems while thinking of
the bread of heaven and the
cup of astonishment; let them be

songs in which nothing is neglected,
not a hope, not a promise.  I want to make poems
that look into the earth and the heavens
and see the unseeable.  I want them to honor
both the heart of faith, and the light of the world;
the gladness that says, without any words, everything.

~ Mary Oliver ~

 

 

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touching Mamacita

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This is Mamacita, the formerly feral mama cat who now lives in my studio.

In my book (just released!!!) Our Horses, Ourselves: Discovering the Common Body, I devote a chapter to the nuances of touch.  Besides TTouch (developed by Linda Tellington-Jones), I explore how understanding the developmental stages of touch can help us to become more intentional and mindful with our touch, whether with humans, horses, cats, dogs, or your morning tea.

Those stages are, in order, yield, push, reach, grasp and pull.  They are the usual sequence in which infant movement develops in relationship to the world and what she wants to be close to, or bring close.

For the first six years of knowing Mamacita, I could not touch her.  She was very fearful, but also curiously connected.  We fed her, built an outdoor shelter for her, and then one winter, she decided that coming into the house might be a good idea.  That was probably year seven.

I spent a lot of time sitting and breathing and making myself less scary.  Touches developed.  Slowly, with frequent setbacks.

Today, Mamacita’s favorite human is one that is lying on the floor so that she can do her verson of Contact Improvisation.  I can lift her, carry her, roll with her, tumble with her.

This morning, I experienced a revelation.  Mamacita, I realized, was doing ALL OF THOSE TOUCH STAGES AT ONCE WITH DIFFERENT PARTS OF HER BODY!!! Her back yielded into my legs, her nose and head pushed at mine, her paws reached, grasped (claws) as she pulled herself toward me.

I love what I learn daily from my creature companions.  I love the wordlessness, the openness and the fullness of it.  I love feeling the reciprocity – the being touched as I touch.

What are you touching? How are you touching?

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Jose & Martha

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Today I spent a couple hours watching the surfers and the waves on Philbin Beach in Aquinnah, Martha’s Vineyard. I have no appetite personally for that kind of ride, but admire the focus and courage that it takes. Jose is grazing the island and Maria may follow.

Here is one video of the wave-riders:

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sublime

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I have just finished making Rabbit Hole,  a new solo for the exquisite Lorraine Chapman. She will perform it later this month at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire.

Lorraine is a master performer with an impressive resume and some serious ballet chops. She told me that she has wanted to work with me for twenty years.  I am deeply honored.

Making this dance was not easy. I ask that dancers leap into the turbulent, wild waters of the unknown, the mythic, the mystical.  That they give themselves over to the moment.  That they let go of what they know and step into the dark.

Lorraine was up for that challenge and what she has done with this work is dazzling. Watch for it!!!

 

 

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