Saturday, April 26, 2014

WE ARE THE STUFF OF STARS: Commingling Artists and Community and Contemplating Change

WINDOW INTO THINKING DIFFERENTLY. Just what is The Goat Farm Arts Center, the place where this image was taken? It is worth finding out! What is Glo Atl? Is it just an awesome performance company? Or does Glo Atl breathe and pulse in that beguiling twilight, dust from exploded stars sifting through the cosmos? Perhaps the Goat Farm Arts Center and Glo Atl are windows into ourselves...for we are the stuff of stars!(photo by Hallelujah Truth)
Hallelujah for COMMUNITY! Hallelujah for the ARTS embracing the COMMUNITY! Hallelujah for ARTISTS who ask their COMMUNITIES to journey with them in creating and making meaning. Lauri Stallings is one of these ARTISTS.
A LARGE BODY. Lauri Stalling expands beyond her physical body. She is the stuff of stars, the cosmos, and yes our world! Here she is speaking to ME, Hallelujah Truth (and others), on Saturday, April 19, 2014, at an Glo Atl "Open Session" in Atlanta, Georgia, at The Goat Farm Arts Center. (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
Lauri Stallings is clearly the stuff of stars--you feel the ancient energy from the cosmos pulsating in her BEING. Yes, I have met her twice and intermingled with her amazing energy. Atlanta, with its population of five-million-plus, sometimes seems such a small city when you follow your SOUL--relaxing and letting it flow with that star-light-n-dust. 
BUILDING NEW MATERIAL. Lauri explained to those of us, sitting on the side, how the dancers were working out "phrases" or "threads" to communicate ideas. What do you think they are communicating here? (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
The most recent time I "connected" with the BEING of Lauri Stallings was last Saturday for Glo Atl's first "Open Session," where people are invited to watch Lauri and her dancers build new material. And if I understand correctly, Lauri has always had an "open session" policy for her community. She said that people are welcome any time Glo Atl is there creating, rehearsing, or sleeping. 

 As my "mind" opens to what Lauri is saying, I fall fully in love with her philosophy of ARTISTS and COMMUNITY. What happens when the boundaries between the two evaporates and the they are no longer separate entities? Does change occur? And are both ARTISTS and COMMUNITY members impacted? I think the answer would be YES!

What would happen to us all if we listened and saw with our whole bodies as she instructs the dancers? Who might we be if we were open to changing and experiencing that moment in ourselves and others? Great questions posed by Lauri! I know that I am raising my hand to participate in whatever way I can with Glo Atl, whenever I can. I want to answer some of these questions and spend time with the philosophic and cosmic Lauri Stallings and her terrific collaborators.
COMMUNITY CIRCLE. We community members who showed up for the Glo Atl Open Session, were invited into the circle the dancers have created. While we were forming and reforming circles, Lauri asked us to imagine participating in a dance with masks or animal heads. "What would you be wearing on your head," she asked. "Alligator," I answered. (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
To conclude this blog entry I have copied Lauri Stallings artist statement that she has on her website because I thought you might like to read what she has to say about herself: 

"I am a choreographer who strives to experiment with new ways of delivering performance experience aspiring to stimulate the senses, provoke dialogue and activate the mind.  

I am obsessed with our perceptions of what we are when we are alone vs. what we are when we are together, and in my work. I try to reassess my views of what family is, offering other frequencies and mind spaces for us to communicate in.   

I do this by having dialogue with venues and collaborating with art forms.  Then I transpose these conversations onto living bodies and into a precarious installation atmosphere and state. 

Drawing on what I’ve experienced as essential ingredients of family- adventure, complexity, nakedness, ritual and loss, I offer the public doors into alternate homes conceived as interior events and exterior eruptions, positive and negative, without  opposing context. 

My intention is to offer a lens of the expanding, unfolding universe inside us, to find our explicit nature before being told what we think we are.  I often hold a mirror up to the public  to contemplate, “I know what this place is.”  Then I lunge deep into spontaneity, challenging people to think together, and this turns the work inside out. 

I make highly choreographed tableaux vivants and movement choirs that inflate the dance to various contemplative states of mind, asking “What does it mean to be  part of a community?” 

Place is a body form to me. I interpret how it’s postured in a community, what it feels, and like a breathing body, I suggest every inch of crevice and curvature has transformative powers. 

Through this endeavor for democracy I invite the public to become a collaborator, and family. I ask how far can we go together, in a world that oftentimes feels like it's wrestling us apart."

That's Coffee with Hallelujah! Soul blog with me what you think about the relationship between ARTISTS and THEIR COMMUNITIES. Have you experienced the dropping of boundaries between the two? What did you feel? Think?
GLO and HALLELUJAH TRUTH. Contemplating the beauty of ARTISTS and COMMUNITY becoming sifting star dust, large bodies intermingling, changing for the good, and being part of one another--experiencing our humanity in a deeper, more trusting way. (photo by my Chiboogamoo)


  1. Thank you for this thought provoking post, Ruth! You are blessed to be in a place where people both value art and community in all its forms and are not held back by conventions of either, feeling free to explore beyond the accepted boundaries of art and neighborhood. Your place has a rich history and past of doing just that. I do not feel so blessed, unfortunately, finding that artists in my community create are very caught up in competition and monetization of their work. This makes it very difficult to transcend boundaries and build community--even among artists themselves. Revel in your blessings and grow this vision so that some day places like mine will appreciate the value of thinking of art and community in this way!

  2. Ah Carol! You understand and long for this the way I do! I can't wait to meet you when you come to Atlanta. I understand your frustration about finding like-minded souls where you live. I am so glad we have met!

  3. I just want to 'repeat' what Carol wrote...Loved the blog and especially love the photo of you in the doorway..It is one of the best you have posted yet...Contemplating your future?...It will be rosy for sure.

  4. You are so sweet Darlene! I would love to learn from Glo Atl and from Lauri Stallings. What a great opportunity it would be to participate in a community performance.

  5. Great photo of you. Glad to connect with your beautiful blog. A few years back, I took your workshop at UUCA.