DP 8-28-08, Holyoke MA

September 3, 2008 by

again, many of the same questions are always emerging within this practice.

how do we act with our alloted time, what do we do with it. when does giving, as an impulse to create through emerge. what are the motives to create through – for us, for them…

this is a list from my notes taken during our second day of DP. 


asking permission

feeling watching

arrivng into deep state immediately

when we stay with one idea throughout

is this the right answer?

moment of entering in, ‘sensation takes me in’ – lindsey

looking for the feedback state

its not the ‘what’ that matters but the ‘quality of the what’

doesnt matter what you do, the action of the what is what reads

will committing fully in the moment yield the ‘right’ choice


reflecting after a deep session

reflecting after a deep session


3 Days of Daily Practice in Holyoke

September 1, 2008 by


Daily Practice

Photo of Christian by Lindsey.

It was a re-connection of sorts with a new friend and a practiced idea.  Guided by Christian we went to three very different parks over three days in and around Holyoke, MA.  It was thrilling to jump back into the Daily Practice structure with Lindsey and Christian.  Although it felt mostly awkward and discombobulating for all but one of the 9, 3 minute explorations I was happy to live in that awkwardness listening to my editing voice, and my patterned voice.  And like my three minute explorations, I also found the watching difficult as well.  My mind wandering while I tried to gain the focus and thought to be in the moment as a viewer and provide that important watching feedback to the performer/explorer/improvisor/dancer who was in the middle of their 3 minute practice.  A couple thoughts were brought to the surface during these three days.  Some dealing with how I felt about my 3 minute moments, mainly trying to understand when my ‘thinking’ mind is guiding me, when my body is guiding me and when they are working closely together.  Sometimes it is the little comments that spawn a host of other thoughts or epiphany’s.  I struggled to get ‘out of my head,’  and allow the rest of my body to have more of a voice in the choices I made.  And although a relatively simple and known idea I was most satisfied physically when I acknowledged to myself that the intellectual thinking brain is still very much a part of my body and not some separate entity from the rest of my body.  Instead of fighting to turn one off and another on I just allowed them both to be on and communicate with one another.  It might sound hippie/dippy but it started to work for me.  I felt a dialogue emerge physically and mentally.  Another performative decision I made was to use some of the mediation structures that I have learned and applied them to what I was doing.  One of the meditation ‘helpers’ that I used is to acknowledge thoughts if they enter my mind while meditating.  I should put a disclaimer first that I am by far a regular meditator!  When I do meditate as soon as I realize my mind wandering I would say to myself, ‘thought.’  It is a very successful way to acknowledge what the mind is doing and it usually makes the thought disappear and clears/focuses the mind.  I applied this during the 3 minute practices but rather then acknowledge thoughts, I was acknowledging craft, choices that I was making that have been learned.  When I noticed what I was doing I just said ‘craft’ and immediately my choice became apparent to me and I broke from it.

back to the work

August 29, 2008 by

back to the work in Holyoke, MA with Jason and Christian.  feels good to be embodying more of the practice again.  it had started to live in my head and we attempted some video exchange (more on that another time) which turned into a solo practice for me – but it really truely lives in the body for me and in the energetic exchange that happens with real bodies in the space both watching and doing.  this session I was fascinated with observing when it “begins,” where am I?  In some sort of feeling state that asks for a presence in the now and a sensation based starting point that allows room to take in that moment and the environment and energy in the room.  also intrigued by an observation of christians after watching me, this notion that “nothing is wasted”.  what is happening when through negotiating both the environment and the moment, a heightened presence allows us to find that continuity where every action “counts”. this feels like an interesting way to stay present but somehow also simultaneously requires being present.  nothing profound but as my body enters back into this work I feel as though I am observing a creature negotiating a familiar environment where things have shifted slightly but none of this is exactly new either.  it is that moment of getting in and then the system or secret for staying in that seems highlighted in this process of RE-connecting or RE-discovering this process and investigation.  and mostly it just kicks ass to be back working in this way with these guys finding this set of questions as they reside and shift about in our moving bodies.

Starting New

June 20, 2008 by

I started Daily Practice again in earnest today.  It is not like before.  There are some differences.  I am alone without realtime watchers, but I didn’t feel like I was doing a solo practice although I also didn’t want a real watcher.  I do want to share though…..

The idea is to record with video and post for Lindsey and Christian to watch and respond with their video posts.  It probably won’t or can’t be a strict ‘daily practice’.  Today it felt rough, not just because I was working alone in front of a camera but I was also starting again after 7 weeks of not wanting to do any moving or rehearsing or art making.  I unplugged into my thoughts as I tried to understand what I just did, what that meant and where I am now.  I guess I needed to recharge or maybe it is refocus or re-understand.  I feel more in my skin now since returning to New York.  I missed the place.  Now, I look forward to seeing how L and C respond and how successful a ‘daily practice’ can be configured in this way. It feels good to start the dialogue again.

on and off

June 14, 2008 by

on or off.

i am here in a far off location trying to remember my experience of the daily practice. obviously not the formal framework of it, that has been clearly articulated by j and l. but the rest of it – the physiological dimension. the memory dimension. the body fleshy dimension. the experience of coming clean with the truth of a particular moment or three minutes of moments strung together, our theater and performance.

were we on, within the experience of expressing a period of our lives. at times we succeeded and were real with one another and at times fell short and hid, perhaps just a little behind clever moves. going to the silent place of dance – as known territory, veiled in exploration. and many more times, beautifully articulating the raw state of ‘egg on face’. dont know what to do – AND – am not going to try to pretend i do – BUT – staying with you. the vulnerability can be palpable and then in an instant, complete recognition of the obsurdity of all of it. hysterical laughter. i loved those moments. not knowing and communicating not knowing. but i observed, and experienced, that only by doing that do you really have any control. and then something occures that tickles the soul dimension.

because really, its all over in an instant anyway. like a great photojournalist who can capture that one passing instant on film, we as performers also do the same – we read our environment  – and monitor our sensations – and report on our experience, in an instant – many instants in a row until times up.  thats it. 

having spent years perfecting my acting skills of illustrating being in control (often in white tights or sleek ass shorts as a classical/contemporary dancer), i see i am still a student at living within a certain dimension of my work. 

the performer practices saying – I DONT HAVE A CLUE (when they really dont have a clue). but in that admission, is everything.  that admission is truth, in most cases, but it is precisely that admission that is culturally denied, especially in presentational dance. 

 this two month long period of daily practice with j and l, was a form of ‘articulating’ the ‘i dont know’ – and celebrating that. 

its weird even to say it that way – “articulating not knowing”. 



May 23, 2008 by

to observe and then be observed, know you are bring observed, acknowledge it, accept it, start to feel comfortable in it; explore the boundaries and differences between knowing you are being watched and when you aren’t.  and with it is this heightened awareness of every movement, every breath and with that comes self critique of every action; the head might lead at first and then sometimes a change occurs and thoughts of structure and form, decisions and choices begin to be lead not from the head and not from the movement. the body as vessel and what is that state?!  that moment when the connections instinctually seem clear but you’re not in the head space to need to know why, because it just feels ‘right’; like tuning in to a frequency that is rarely visited.  and you know you are there because the daily practice changes. is it you or is it them? when the observer sees you tune do they tune as well?; it feels that way sometimes; I return to observing, but it feels different;  I’m focused; I see more; my thoughts clarify and the level of the daily practice increases with every 3 minute rotation and then we stop at the moment it feels ‘right’ with our imposed 1 hour structure and we change gears and go on with our day;

being present

May 21, 2008 by

I think I realized, probably for the hundredth time although I seem to keep forgetting this point – that being “in” is about recognizing your environment.  being IN the environment.  yesterday, watching, giving my full attention – I couldn’t help but observe the struggle to find it.  to find the thing or the moment where one can sink in, be in.  it seemed a bit like from the start there was that search, so then I suppose the search could be the thing, but not settling into that or allowing the search to be the thing or to just be the thing… one gets stuck or halted or stilted in some way… and stays that way as long as there isn’t an acceptance of that state of being.


taking in the environment…  being present.  which is so many things.  being present in ones body, we talk about that in technique class all the time.  not imposing or demanding but observing, accepting and responding.  being present in ones environment.  seeing, acknowledging, hearing, feeling, recognizing and responding – again.  but also being present in some other thing, that feels so much less tangible but it is so clear when I am in it.  some kind of opening to allow something to pass through the body and the moment and the improv… something unplanned, that requires being present pyhsically in order to accomplish, and requires being present environmentally in order to communicate.  but that does not come from a response, but rather comes from some other unknown or unnameable place, and then through me or the improviser it emerges… Hmmm… stated here like i know what on earth i am talking about.  probably exists more in my mind and practice as a series of questions.  maybe next time i’ll think about how to articulate that questioning through these writings more…  let them live here in words more closely to how they live in my mind and practice.

daily practice notes may 19

May 19, 2008 by

daily practice became such a consistent part of this past winter.  in part it was this rain or shine, sleep or none kind of consistency that became important to me.  the same way that we would move for 3 minutes and then alternate out to watch for 6 and then move for 3 and watch for 6 and just rotate seamlessly in and out of those roles, regardless of where I was at on any given day in any particular moment – watching or doing – my role was defined and the parameter was simply to find a way to be present in that role and see what would reveal itself.  showing up in short.  well what i miss, among so many other questions and discoveries from our winter daily practices, is the regularity of it.  

so here i am back in nyc, jason is in toronto, christian is in holyoke (i might be misspelling that) but i want to reestablish this kind of consistent practice, or some other kind of consistent work.  before we started daily practice it was yoga, and i’ve tried to maybe go back… but that somehow never works, as we all know.  so I need instead to build on this and go on…

well today i had my first experiment with going forward…  for the time being it seems that working solo, in unusual spaces, is going to have to be the way that I enter into this practice again.  until i can organize a free space to work in regularly and until jason returns or i decide to invite someone new into the practice.  dp today took place at the park near our house, with the public as witness.  it is amazing how differently one “performs” or dances based on the attentiveness of one’s audience…  christian – here’s one of your “ism’s” – “my performance is only as good as my audience”.  the park made me “work” so much harder – in order to try to intrigue someone to unknowingly become my witness.  to “invite” people to watch… and then sometimes I felt the opposite happen, where I would go so inside so as to almost have such a personal/intimate experience in public that I gave myself permission to say “please don’t watch – I just need to be here doing this”.  the park here is so different from the arboretum in ann arbor.   here it is a small, mostly concrete park / lots of people swarming over playgrounds and basketball courts – typical nyc neighborhood park.  the arboretum had some sense of privacy to it, where the passerby was an event because they were isolated and less frequent than constant.  here there are always many people, not just nearby, but in the space with you…  I think that finding a sense of real “presence” and honesty in this environment will actually heighten the challenge that I felt in the safety of the studio with the comfort of two witnesses who I knew where always watching and attentive but never judging.  as odd as the scenario actually is here, in some ways it is heightening/or bringing to the foreground some of the questions about the nature of performance and what it means to be “on” and honest all at the same time.  how to interact with less knowing or informed witnesses – might after a time feel like it is no longer an obstacle, or might after a time feel like it is inhibitive for the real explorations to happen – but for the time I am going to stick with it a bit and see where i land, or don’t….

old ramble

May 16, 2008 by

unpacking, finally, and stumbled across these old questions in a journal from this past fall…  jason suggested maybe I share…

making new work.  looking for what i am making.  unsure of a desire to make neat dances that are organized and that i understand.  that same old constant struggle with uncertainty, of not getting it.  not knowing. or not knowing the answer or making the “wrong” thing.  of not being able to articulate, to name, to understand..  

physically, intuition makes so much sense.  dancing/moving i am so keen, so ready to let go of that need to name and to understand.  as an improviser and a dancer  – turning off the mind and trusting the body.  can one choreograph with this same visceral intelligence.  as choreographer is there a way to just do. to not judge, control, think.  can i watch from outside a work and not think or analyze but feel and experience.  does the very idea of choreography necessitate these ideas of control, thought, an analytical approach.  if the work is considered, which i am pretty sure i think that it should be, what does that mean in relationship to this mind/body connection that flows so well as a mover or improviser.  leading.  following.  with the mind.  with the body.  OBSERVING with mind.   a thinking dancer who is making choices. trusting in the physical intelligence that our bodies posses. removing control or contrived movement worlds.   is the answer as simple as body following instinct when moving and mind leading observation when watching.  and than staying connected to those other ideas by keeping a balance in the process between time spent moving and time spent watching/thinking. then as soon as i ask are watching and thinking the same thing.  i answer to myself, for now, that i don’t think that they are.  do i have to answer the questions or is it more important to be asking them. exploring them.  i am interested in questions and in letting go of the idea that they need to be answered.  it is this search for the answers, or possible answers, that intrigues me.


In retrospect a bit of a ramble, not so sensical at times, but at the heart of this old journal entry is what i think daily practice became about for me.  the space to move and share and witness, the asking of questions in a given moment, be them our own or those in the practice with us.  


April 30, 2008 by

Daily Practice: 4/30

– today dp was class taught by Lindsey.  I had a slight epiphany when thinking about the skin as organ a CBism and then it occurred to me that the body is constantly in motion.  Slightly obvious yes but we never really stop, we are constantly moving; and going for stillness is actually more of a state then reality even our bodies are moving in constant decay as we get older.  That sense of movement and motion internally drove my phrasing in class as I worked through the physical directions I was given.  Lindsey also reminded me that Thought is Action.  Don’t forget!