SLUMPING

Performed on October 6, 2017, at the grounds of The Vermont Arts Council, beginning at 5pm.

 

Directed by Erika Senft Miller and developed and performed in collaboration with dancers

Holly Chagnon, Mireya Guerra, Sage Horsey, Mia Pinheiro, Lydia Kern, and Navah Stein.

 

Entering tree time.

Seemingly still on the outside,

Cellular and fluids - lots of movement - continuously pumping, flowing, rippling within the tree

In tree time rhythm.

Photosynthesis - a mutual exchange

Give and take

In tree time rhythm

Tapping sweet sap in spring - boiling down to maple syrup

Fueling us

Us fueling the tree

In tree time rhythm.

 

Like trees, bodies are always in motion, even when still on the outside. Our breathing muscle, the diaphragm, moves up and down inside our trunk/torso with each exhale and inhale. Ribs move up and out like bucket-handles in order to make room for oxygenated air and then recoil in the exhale. Synovial fluids, lymphatic fluids, signals from the nervous-system, cellular movement and of course the pulsing of our heart; so many layers of movement all happening in their own time yet in awareness and loose connection of each other.

Inspired by trees fueling and supporting their branches and limbs, dancers are supporting and balancing limbs. Dancers are rooting themselves deep in the ground in order to support and balance. All that happens with gentle attention rather than strong force.

Simultaneously, while the dancers lengthen, align, breath, sway and support in sublime stillness, the season’s delivery of cordwood, enough for one family to heat all winter, gets piled up around the center stake. The utilitarian, repetitive movement is in contrast with the abstract movements of the dancers. When a delivery of cordwood is anticipated the site changes. A location of the drop is marked to communicate to the driver where dump. The wood pile will change the space, ground and pedestrian movement around it over time. Similarly, the addition of a person to a place the site has meaning and changes. The sustained  lying on the ground gives a different experience than standing. Later, when the dancers leave and the limbs are leaning against the wall - what do we remember? The dance has an Abramović-esque quality as well as inspired by Butoh where all seven dancers are truly pushing physical and mental limits - approaching tree time.  

Over the next few months, the pile of cordwood will slump: at the mercy of gravity, without inner movement, attention and breath, the pile will get lower, the water will evaporate and the space between each piece of wood will slowly diminish. The slight movement of the pile might  remind us of our body slumping over the computer after hours and hours of work, when we feel tired and heavy, when we have lost the connection to our breath. For us that happens after about 20 minutes in one position, the pile of cordwood will slump in tree time. Follow the process by observing the stake in the center of the pile over the next few months.

The most subtle shifts in our attention allow for the new to appear

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