Welcome to Dandelion Dancetheater’s first blog!
(For more info about the company, see www.dandeliondancetheater.org)
I will be writing here about experimental performance as spiritual practice, which is one of my favorite topics to investigate and reflect upon. It is a focus that has been at the heart of my work with Dandelion Dancetheater over the past decade. I plan on using this blog as a forum for developing, clarifying and experimenting, with ideas, perspectives and approaches.
To start with, I figure I should at least attempt to define my terms. I am using “experimental performance” to refer to performance involving some combination of movement, sound, theater, image, and/or installation that prioritizes new ways of seeing and understanding. It is performance that is continually questioning itself. It is performance that challenges conformity, tradition, rules, and any kind of “should.”
My sense of “spiritual practice” is a little trickier to define. At the most basic level, I see spiritual practice as a vehicle for deepening whatever one’s experience of spirituality is. In this sense, spiritual practice is whatever one engages in and calls “spiritual practice.”
More specifically, I see spiritual practice as a method or collection of methods used to connect with a larger sense of reality. I see it as an activity that we regularly turn to for aligning with some sense of universal wholeness–whether we call that wholeness by a name like God, Goddess or Buddha-Nature, or whether we identify it as Truth, Peace, Love, Nature, Oneness, Nothingness, etc.
I have had a spiritual practice drawn from Buddhist Meditation techniques for about 20 years. I meditate daily, complemented by an eclectic blend of Tai Chi, Yoga and Chi Gong. I have had an art practice (primarily dance-based) for 25 years. I have trained in folk dance, ballet, modern dance, visual art, choreography, music, interdisciplinary performance, and more. My art and spirituality have at times felt like separate pursuits, but more and more feel integrated. It has been a challenging struggle over many years for me to figure out how to bring together these two major streams of my life’s work. I feel great joy when I reflect on how my passion for experimental performance and love of spiritual practice have come together. And I also see how much more there is to learn in this area.
This blog is a way for me to illuminate some of the next steps on my journey. May it be of benefit to you as well.