Photo: Darial Sneed
I had the great privilege of performing the premiere of MAMMAL last weekend at the venerable La MaMa Theater in New York.
I first went to La MaMa around 1981 to see the brilliant Kazuo Ohno perform. Watching him slowly raise a single chrysanthemum into the air, his whole body a trembling stem is an indelible kinetic memory. It is also where I first met Eiko and Koma, who later, during a Delicious Moving workshop in the Catskills, dismantled and then re-calibrated everything that I had previously understood about all things performative. I had just finished the Laban program, and my body was full of spirals and space. I will never forget Koma saying tersely to me, “Just go down.”
Eiko came to my performance. It may be the first time that she has seen me perform. I was deeply honored by her presence, and by the opportunity to be dancing in this iconic space.
On the second day of the performance, while warming up, I suddenly felt the unmistakable presence of my old, wise stallion, Capprichio – in me, in the space. I felt his head, the weight of those bones, the mass of him. I remember thinking, “You can’t move like this.” And he showed me the quiver of himself, the wildness and the unpredictability.
I am reading Kent de Spain’s wonderful book, The Landscape of the Now. It is a breathtaking compendium of improvisational practices and reflections by the Big Ones: Steve Paxton, Lisa Nelson, Nancy Stark Smith, Ruth Zaporah, Simone Forti, Deborah Hay.
MAMMAL is a choreography, but it is also an improvisation, and much shaped by what shows up in the room with an audience and how deep I can drop into that well as I set foot on stage. It is about gaze and stillness and impulse. Connection and curiously, faith – that the dance is there, and that I can let it come to me as I also plunge into it.
MAMMAL and the other two dances from OF THIS BODY, THE TRAVELER and SPEAK are coming soon to The Dance Complex in Cambridge, MA. It is the world premiere of THE TRAVELER, a piece that has been more than two years in the making. You can buy tickets here: Of This Body
Come and see!