More than a year ago, I began my journey with InterPlay, and as "way leads on to way," I have found that major life paths have diverged and I am traveling a road "less traveled." On this journey, I have made new friends, and one of them a dancer, Lynn Hesse, invited me to perform in a "piece" of a larger body of her ongoing work. I said, "Yes"! And it is making all the difference.
Last night, we performed our piece that Lynn has titled "Love in Full Life and Length." Our performance took place as part of something called "The Field," a format in which artists workshop their ideas and get critiques. My role with Lynn lasted 4-to-5 short minutes, but we spent more than 15 hours developing it using a form from InterPlay called "Side-by-Side Story."
Our challenge was rehearsing shared memories about our fathers inside the "Side-by-Side Story," which is an improvisational form and supporting Lynn's 4-minute dance piece on behalf of her father. We had even "performed" our side-by-side stories twice in front of an audience, once for Asheville InterPlay in North Carolina and once for a "Fieldwork" critique in Decatur, Georgia. Our expressed memories preserved from our childhoods have evolved after each rehearsal and performance. What a "saving grace" dance is!
|SISTERS IN SPIRIT AND DANCE. Lynn and I posed for a photo before our performance at Core. As you can see the younger of the two sisters photo-bombed us. (photo by one of the sisters, Hazel and Stella)|
Last night's performance held at Emory University's Dance Studio at the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts challenged me. I still feel that talking about my family, my father is a private affair. How can I tote out the painful memories and wounds to a wider public than my family and friends? We had a full audience!
But working on this performance "Love in Full Life and Length" has made my experiences clearer to me. The immense complexity of LOVE is beguiling. The legacy our fathers gave us is, in part, what their fathers and mothers gave them. My father did his best for me all the while dealing with his wounds from his childhood, the Korean Conflict, Vietnam War, and disappointing outcome of a promising military career. Are a father's wounds, his daughter's wounds? My answer is a resounding "Yes." But I believe in the possibility of healing my wounds and in his too, even though he died 10 years ago. How?
Dancing on behalf of my father-daughter relationship repeatedly!
Dancing some of the good sacred memories repeatedly in developing material for our performance has already changed who I am in relation to my father and the rest of my life. Through movement and "re-storying" my past experiences, I have started to comprehend the love, courage, and good that my father gave me. I am now beginning to embody the many good sacred father memories while honoring his wounded body and soul.
When I move in this father-daughter dance, I also honor my childhood and the woman I am now. Performing "Love in Full Life and Length" with Lynn has been such an awesome odyssey. What a privilege to dance with another daughter in honor of our fathers, ourselves, and love. I believe that we can heal our wounds.
|Sisters/Daughters through Dance|
ACKNOWLEDGMENT: I acknowledge Lynn Hesse for her depth of spirit and how she goes about crafting her work. Although I was a novice performer, she invited me to co-create with her. During our collaboration, I was struck by her dedication and persistence. At the age of 61, she is a graceful dancer, one who expresses her ideas in choreographed poetry. Thank you Lynn for your loving guidance and nurturing spirit. It was an honor to create and perform our father-daughter dances together. Thank you for the healing that has begun as a result of it. You are my Sister now!