Category Archives: improvisation life

tell me something

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This was a big year for Paula Josa-Jones/Performance Works and for me personally. For one thing, we successfully birthed River/Body.  That project was in some ways like the baby that did not want to be born, with an ambivalent mother.  Let me be clear.  I love the project and love the river in ways that surprise me –  I had not expected to feel such an emotional and potent sense of connection to this body of moving water.

So what was the problem?  In part, trying to gather $$$ support felt a lot like herding feral cats.  People are busy, or they “don’t get it.” What is this dancing in the river anyway?  Why would you do that?  What’s wrong with the theater? Again and again, I found my nose pressed against that hard wall.

I get it.  I know that there are a thousand worthy, incredibly urgent causes.  Syria, Yemen, Central America, the looming climate catastrophe, animals that are suffering, children who are hurt, girls who are not being educated.

But I feel that we each have to find a place of inspired action within this chaos.  In this moment, mine is the river and its connection to global waters. I want to share the stunning fact (thank you Andrea Olsen) that within 16 days of living within a particular watershed, those waters literally make up the 70% of your body that is water!!!! Your relationship with your fluid neighborhood is not abstract — it is cellular, immediate.

My other place of inspired action is the horses, and what they teach us about being human.  So I am making a video documentary of the new work I am developing with horses:  Conscious Touch, Conscious Movement.  It too is connected to this fluid theme. We are 70% water, as is the horse, which in the horse translates to 770 pounds or 96 gallons of water for the average 1,100-pound horse. Conscious Touch, Conscious Movement engages the body’s fluids to open a moving connection or flowing water dance that unfolds when we shift our awareness from muscles and bones to cells and fluids. I love this new work, this subtle, potent way of dancing with horses, and I love sharing it with clients and students.

So tell me something:  How can I better reach and connect this work with others?  What are some inspired, perhaps unexplored fundraising ideas?  What is important to you in your own work and outreach? I really want to hear from you!

Thank you!

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finding flow

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This weekend I had the pleasure and privilege of teaching an Embodied Equine Experiencing workshop with two lovely women from Toronto, both of whom equine facilitated educational programs in Ontario.. They had found me through my book, Our Horses, Ourselves: Discovering the Common Body.

The focus of the workshop was exploring how deepening and grounding our own movement practice can nourish and expand any aspect of our work with horses, whether competitive, therapeutic, or educational.  Both are students of Somatic Experiencing, the trauma recovery work of Dr. Peter Levine, so themes from that body-based work wove through the two days.

In much equine-related work, I observe that instructors and students are eager to, in the words of Linda Tellington-Jones, “turn on the lights” in the body and mind of the horse.  However, the lights in their own bodies are turned off.  Airlines instruct us to put the oxygen mask on ourselves first. The same thing applies to working with horses.  Awaken and enliven your own body first, and then take that illumination and awareness to the horse.

Yesterday we worked with connecting our own fluid bodies with the fluid body of the horse.  We are, after all 70% water.  The results of finding flow, and supporting fluid connection with our equine partners were stunning.  With Amadeo, we could feel the lack of fluidity through his lower legs and feet, and by bringing more softness into those parts of our own bodies, were able to feel a profound change as he released his braced contact with the ground.  Working with Capprichio was like pouring ourselves into a warm river.  Fluids joining fluids.

This is a different way of experiencing “body work.”  It is not about fixing or doing, but rther listening and joining.If you would like to learn more, you can contact me HERE.

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horses helping horses

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Here is some new information from our website about how I am working with horses, riders, and equine-centered organizations.

Horses Helping Horses is a program that uses performance and educational programming to raise awareness about compassionate, mindful equine practices rooted in the shared language of movement and touch. Paula Josa-Jones/Performance Works works with equine-centered organizations of all kinds to develop compassionate outreach programming that expresses the heart of the horse. Working with equine partners as both teachers and performers, we offer a wide range of programming options, including:

If you are interested in any of these possibilities, please Contact Paula.  

You can also make a DONATION to support this work — Your contribution helps us to make this work available to more equine-centered organizations.  Thank you!