Tag Archives: dance

Reflections on ‘Liberator’


Porlock Vale

During infancy, before we use words, we have only physical senses and conscious awareness. Movement, vision, sounds, touch, reflexes and emotions become the sum total of our experience. For most people, their earliest memories start from the age of two, when they had enough words to make simple statements. Words allow us to express, judge, store, and repeat the experience for later use. Those who study Human Development know this early learning phenomenon as learning from Bottom Up, versus the way adults learn, from Top Down. Adults use their past experiences to recognize, categorize, and make sense of new ones. Infants don’t have a filing cabinet full of past experiences to compare with, nor language to describe with and file in retrievable order. For babies each moment is untainted, unprejudiced, and pure. Each experience contains a powerful impact.

Those who attended Liberator experienced this bottom up style in the performance, a dance/movement production which made that same powerful impact – an emotive and unforgettable event. Watchers found that no script was written, no direction given by word, no linear guide of what they should understand, think, feel, or believe they were witnessing. The audience became a part of the act, equal as trees and grasses that stroke the wind, or as earth and water that breathe beneath the sky. Each person had freedom of opportunity to employ their own interpretation of the dance, the movement, the music, the emotions expressed, raised, and felt. Each person was deeply touched and moved by seamlessly woven story-in-action.

The dance/performance Liberator is based upon a real past event – an airplane that crashed during WWII over Porlock Marsh – as remembered by an old man who witnessed the scene when he was a boy. The boy certainly had language, but with little experience of the world, how could he make sense of war and death and devastation and hope and love and all the implications and feelings that encompass war? For him, witnessing that plane crash was a Bottom Up experience. For us, Liberator was a chance to participate in our own act of creativity as we watched the beautifully choreographed and emotively danced and played performance.

wings   plane

Liberator

A man and his long armed jacket

Whose arms become wings

Spread-eagled over the land we call Home

Leather helmet and goggles

Speaking of a time

Of a movement of people

Of armies, forces, guns, and planes

And a war to end all wars

Of three boys and a girl

Running through woods

Hiding in marsh grasses

Playing beside skeleton trees

In the shelter of a stone barn

Fiddling with radio knobs

Their innocence seeking music

But receiving the voices of battle

Of victories and losses

And a snare drum rat a tat tatting

As air-ripping sounds stream down from overhead

Bullets strafing the stone walls

Skudding and thudding the marsh mud

Children hiding under the radio table

Shuddering in terror

Running outside, following the pilot

He who flies for their freedom

Who leads them to safety

Whose movements encourage, embrace

Who thrills and instills a passion for living and loving

For the joy of being alive

Man body entwines with boy body

The knots of family and country

He who guides them to classrooms

Who teaches them strategy and planning

Who tries to stop them from straying into danger

Who suffers their innocence lost

Who dies in the marsh

And shows them the face of death

How it does not move

How it stops loving arms from holding them safe

He who remains still

And useless

Leaving only war and the hope of peace behind

Melts into earth and the setting sun

In a cauldron of flaming clouds

Snare drum playing a funeral beat

drrrat… tatttt… tatttt

Horn crying Taps in plaintive single notes

The Last Post – Day is Done

Sixty onlookers walk in silence

Following steps of those gone before

Having once learned the history

Yet only now understanding

That history is just

His Story

Our Story – our shared experience

And our silence

Bleeds

Just as they who went before us bled

From a desire for freedom

Like a living, breathing animal

Like a bird that soars

Like a helium balloon with paper planes tied to its string

Rising to the heavens

Like a note that never stops playing

A drum that is never truly silenced

A movement, a dance of life

In the meadows, forests, and marshes of this earth

A voice, a cry of hope

The human condition

A Yearning for

Liberty

Raffy 2015

Liberator was nothing less than an act of devotion. It moved me to tears many times over. The devotion showed in so many ways; it came from inspired individuals, some from this community and others from elsewhere, and it grew into a greater community of people honoring the past with their passion for art, their creativity, their skills, their time, their presence, each one sharing in the freedom of expression that many of us take for granted – until it is lost  – or stolen.

Liberator became a passionate expression by adult and child performers who dedicated more than skill, practice, and time by living and breathing Liberator’s soul in their hearts, minds, and bodies from early this summer to its evening culmination in autumn.

dance  rescued

Not a single thread of the Liberator was woven without love. Every moment of each event thrummed with intensity from the direction and choreography to the performance; from the designer, producer and graphic artist’s work to the providers of setting and space; from the makers of airplane fuselage and costumes to providers of period props; from the sound designer to the still photographer and videographer; from the production assistant to the behind-the-scenes crew who ran about, collected, dropped off, showed up, dug in and did everything they were asked; from the 1940s double-decker bus and driver to the creator of Delicious Feasts that formed and furthered more bonds of community; from the shared food, the laughter, and stories to all the people who came to listen, watch, follow and experience this dynamic Exmoor event.

   3 boys

The Liberator was born of a memory, an idea, and a desire for expression. In its production and performance it gave birth to new community, new memories, new ideas and a greater appreciation of the sacrifices that were made to preserve our freedom and the right to creative, artistic expression.

Well Done, everybody. Liberator was simply AWESOME.

For information on Liberator, more photos and biographies on all involved, visit the website: http://www.stackedwonky.com.

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Filed under Editorial, Poetry, Travel

This Is Who I Am


To be a writer

is like being two atoms that dance with one

Hydrogen playing with Oxygen

moving with scintillating, procreating fluidity

a disciplined yet unchained pattern

until the quadrille

slows down

and stands

with hardly a breath

transforming into crystals,

each one a unique expression

of water being frost

rock being mountain

or wind being ripples on river’s skin

like human being body, emotion and thought

like me, turning molecules of mind into words

dancing the rounds and rhythms,

pulling sounds and meanings like taffy;

stretching, tempting, and loving the sweetness

of post-rain petrichor, poetry and story-being-born.

Discipline is all it takes;

it’s only a matter of focused attention.

All the while my faucet drips

a metronome playing Chopin’s Funeral March.

It echoes against the cold hard tub: Dum Dum da Dum,

Dum da Dum da Dum da Dum…

A suitable march for somber scenes

or penned phrases that smirk.

Do you remember Mommy’s funeral?

When we weren’t supposed to laugh?

Suddenly, simple things such as a lady’s hat

black and wide

a saucer-shaped ride for snow,

turned resignation and sorrow into nonsense,

amplified our sighs into unstoppable giggles,

and hoots escaped from our throats

bouncing off gravestones

and falling like stars of grief-relief.

We stood there, two children hugging themselves

trying to appear with socially-acceptable sadness

behavior more suited to the tragic event.

We failed.

Laughter, glorious laughter

like a toad released in a classroom of nuns

shocked the mourners and freed us.

Mourners shifted in confusion

at our emancipation.

Surely we weren’t glad that Mommy died?

No more bed pans

No more sheets and laundry

Not one more morning of waking up wondering

if she’s dead

or still dying…

Is that faucet still dripping?

It is.

Handel’s Water Suite No 2

now skipping like tigger in my tub

bouncy, boisterous and… happy.

In the yellow pages under Plumbers, I find Scotty.

I call and ask him for a quote.

He knows my rented cottage

I forgot that this is an island,

a community of small and intimate

where no sparrow falls without everyone knowing

just as no bath leaks

nor pipes crack

nor drain becomes clogged

without Scottie fixing it

I need more than a washer, he says,

to stop this rhythmic dripping that disturbs my work.

Receiving his quote, I discover that words come cheap

but plumbing doesn’t.

His repair will cost me a whole chapter

including the edits.

Handel’s happy notes begin to grow on me.

Staying in the moment, I hear another pattern

an attitude – a practice of choice – an epiphany.

A drip or a sound need not be my nemesis

instead it is a setting; fire and fuel for my work.

I listen to the rhythms, inhale them, accept them into my being

Words commune and bond with water

dancing the dance of intention

while I, in glorious birth,

exist again and again and again

bonder of sights, sounds, heart and soul

in crystal-forming discipline

becoming what I already am

and so

I write

~

Submitted to Poetry Palace’s Thursday Rally:

http://promisingpoetsparkinglot.blogspot.com/2012/01/agreement-for-poets-rally-week-60.html

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