Crimson Coast Dance

April 30, 2021: DANCING WITH YOUR ENVIRONMENT by Geneviève Johnson

It has been 6 weeks since my surgery and I am moving better and better.
So I started to dance again.
It is a dance of a different in-between than before:

  • because the restrictions are not coming from pain
  • they are followed intentionally, prescribed by the surgeon.

It makes for a hieroglyphic type of slow dance: a two-dimentional dance articulated at the waist.
At times, I imagine myself strangely moving in the midst of Egyptian-like characters posing
on photographies of Nijinki’s L’Après-midi d’un Faune

When I need a creative moment,
I go for a dance-walk outside mainly in my backyard.
I explore in movement the blooming of spring.
I bring this experience back in my small studio and move these fresh embodied images.

(I love floor work but since I am not allowed to go to the ground yet, I use my Pilates chair as a micro stage that brings the floor to me. You will notice in videos later…)

In today’s blog, I am offering you these dancing-walks
where you become your surrounding
and create in connection with it.

(inspired by Donna Redlick’s work www.donnaredlick.com)

Doodle Poetry, Geneviève Johnson

Connecting with The Surrounding

Go outside.
It does not have to be far:
my backyard works perfectly for me in the state I am and with time I have.

Observe elements around you
move with them, become them, let them move you…
Take a dance-with-your-environment walk.

Below, I am suggesting 4 different connective experiences of movement.

  • You can explore just one or all four walks.
  • You can keep them as separate poems in motion
    or mix them together.
  • You can mix after each exploration or at the end of exploring them all.

Follow what you sense and feel. Keep it organic.
If going outside is not an option for you
start from pictures, sounds and videos I post for each walk
and explore an imaginary walk.

Creating with Your Environment

As you walk, let images, shapes, textures, sounds, qualities, rhythms… move you.
Embody  in movement your sensations and impressions of your environment.

Let them resurface to make you dance.

(taking pictures or recording is optional – use them as support material if you want)

1. Landscapes

Choose (and explore with movement) 2-3 elements anchored in the landscape:
Become: tree, creek, building, flower field, ocean shore, boulder… and/or move with them as partners: close, far, under, over, with, against, away, in conflict with…
Take pictures of your selected landmarks.

Photos below: Geneviève Johnson

(Example of dancing-walk with magnolia tree and drift wood.)

2. Objects

Choose (and explore with movement) 1-3 objects you can bring back with you:
Become: pebble, stick, kelp, leaves… and/or move with them as partners: close, far, under, over, with, against, away, in conflict with…
If you cannot bring the objects with you : take pictures.

Photos below:
Top – Left: Ruane Dumler – Middle: Rachel Kirk – Right: Dirk Heydemann
Bottom All : Geneviève Johnson

3. Qualities

Choose (and explore with movement) 2-3 sounds/rhythms/qualities/textures:
Become (with movement and/or voice): tempo of birds chirping, rhythm of the ocean waves, sound of wind, steps in mud or rain puddles, quality and colour of the light, texture of the grass or clouds… play with their amplitude, effect and location in your body
Record or film them.

Photos below:
Top Middle: Heather McArthur – Bottom Left: Stefan Johnson
All Others: Geneviève Johnson

4. Pathways

Choose (and explore with movement) 1-3 pathways:
Become and/or Travel along: bridge, bicycle path, street lines, cracks on a stone or wall, intertwined branches… follow their trajectories in space or let their shape etch within you
Take pictures.

Photos below: Geneviève Johnson

(Example of dancing-walk with spiralling hose and string chair.)

During your walks:
Connect with the space and elements you choose in order to embody their qualities in yourself.
Move around and with them in order to remember them in movements later.

Reminiscing: Bodily Memory of the World

Then bring these bodily experiences inside:
in your home
and within yourself

To help you work away from the original experiences

  1. you can write about them
  2. look at pictures you took
  3. watch and listen to your recorded audio and video footage…

– One of my inspiration in my landscape walk was a magnolia tree.
Here is what I wrote after moving with it:

Magnolia awakening
hands opening into spring
a finger at a time
like Kathakali dancers
remembering Shiva’s slithering arms
travelling all cardinal directions of the world

For each of your walks:

  • Create a moving sequence from these embodied memories of the world
    landscapes, objects, qualities, pathways
  • Play with the order of elements within the whole
  • Then keep a final sequence you like and can remember: a poem in motion
  • Loop it over and over again for a while…

If you want to go further:
Put all these poems in motion together

  • Keep what you really like
  • Reorder sections
  • Add up from past explorations or imagination
  • Take away
  • Once again, create a sequence you can remember and loop.

Entering the Ecology Dance

Through these walks,
you dance your environment;
you connect with it through movement.
With your poems in motion,
you develop awareness about where you live and breathe:
the Earth.
– your own awareness by moving your embodiement of the world.
– others awareness by letting them witness your dance.

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