Crimson Coast Dance

January 8, 2021: BUILDING AWARENESS & SUPPORT THROUGH DANCE by Genevieve Johnson

In August 2020, Holly contacted me to create a poem in motion for Overdose Awareness Day.

I started exploring how performance and creative movement can help us go through certain events in our lives: creating support,  awareness and empathy…

It became Lifeline: a live performance and a short film. (performed in the sculpture "Standing Figure #10" by Troy Moth)

A dancer entangled in a red elastic

(Lifeline photo from video: Sofina Johnson)

Creating Dance from A Caring Heart

It is my mother’s heart and the fear of a gloomy future for my kids who could end up in the street, drug addicts, struggling with mental illness, and dying of an overdose… that caught me.

I care.

Human life is fragile when unsupported. As social beings, we need each other to go through everyday obstacles. We need connection. Unfortunately, when something does not look “normal” or easy to deal with, a lot of people turn their back away

We have to start by caring… for others, the space, elements of nature, living creatures, the planet, ourselves.

Creative Movement Spawns Connection

Performing movements and witnessing movement performances

  • focus the attention,
  • change the point of view,
  • offers new feelings and images to be lived,
  • makes us perceive ourselves and what surrounds us differently.

With its open meaning, it can resonate with and relate to anybody.

Creative movement relates. It send threads that offer possibilities of connection. Witnessing movement and moving creatively create bridges.

Moving creatively makes me feel.
Looking at someone moving creatively brings forth strong emotions in me.
Moving makes me see and sense the space in a new way.
Looking at someone moving creatively in a space makes me discover that place differently.

Creative movement makes me connect and care.

Connecting Here and Now through Movement

Rain or shine, moving creatively outdoor, in contact with nature really energizes me. It makes me feel better, think better, act better.

outdoor
imprinting in my body
threading out and in
natural link
connection with
space
air
earth
trees
textures colours odors sounds
people
reaching
into my fibers
finding my place
moving through
poetry of nature
skin to skin
surface to surface
transformed
by relationships
to the world of sensations 

This connection, in the present moment with the immediate surrounding, is happening within me and within the audience during a performance and when participating in movement workshops.

The connection offers a change in point of view to create changes in movements and optimally a change in how we think. When working around a social issue, the performance (or the workshop) is bringing audience and participants to see the problem from a different angle:

creating connection

and

caring hearts

How we perceive the world is how we move. How we move is how we perceive the world. Changing how we move changes how we perceive the world.

Rudolf Laban (quoted by Donna Redlick)

(Lifeline excerpts: camera by Sofina Johnson, edit by Genevieve Johnson)

Reconnecting with a Safe Place

During the creation of Lifeline, I first danced outdoor in an empty beautiful field, under majestic trees by a gently running creek. I felt connected and protected in that site.

I felt safe.

A spark lit up: When immersed in a problem, our connection with the world is lost, or diluted. Especially our connection with the beauty of the world. Connection with Nature. With a safe place.

Can

  • connection with nature around,
  • dancing the world,
  • letting loved objects move us
  • and moving in relationship with others…

bring us back into the world and in ourselves, in the HERE and NOW?

Can

  • connecting to bodily sensations, from inner to outer world,
  • bridging with a safe place of beauty and support,
  • building an inner world of embodied images to be danced…

help people entangled with a social issue reconnect and sense from a different point of view?

Reconnecting with what is around, being part of an ecosystem again, moving in relationship with obstacles, transforming these obstacles into things to lean on, spring from… allows to be present.

With ourselves, others and the world.

In order to reconnect, we have to re-marvel at the world around - from new angles, different point of views.

I believe that poetry in motion, creative movement fed by our embodied images of the world, can realize this connectivity with the world, ourselves, our story.

Blackout poetry by Genevieve Johnson

(Blackout poetry: Genevieve Johnson

Exercises to Connect

My poems in motion come to fruition from mental images that make me reminisce embodied elements of the world. I choose images and locate them in my body. From there, they awaken fragments of memories which sensitive qualities and impressions are translated into movements. 

Creating movement from images connects to an endless inner landscape that, when bridging outside, connects with the audience’s personal emotive images.

Poem in Motion Walk - Creating Your Landscape Under Skin Theatre

In an outdoor place you love – Walk around without a set destination – Allow your senses to absorb what is encountered – Imprint in your flesh, nuances of

textures, colours, sounds, odors, tastes, sense of your body within all

Embody these encounters into mental images

Then close your eyes and reminisce in movement these new sensations – Let them surface one at a time

  • How is this precise texture makes your fingers move?
  • How is the feeling of the odor makes the skin of your face vibrate?
  • How is the strength of the wind pushes up or back on your body (your whole body or a precise part)?

Bring forth in movement the sensations you experienced – Keep your favorite ones and create a short poem in motion of the sensations.

You can keep them minimalistic or move them to the biggest extreme… play with variating the amplitude. Then:

  • Write a list of images you just explored
  • Write a list of images you experienced in the past (1 week ago, 5 years, when teenager, a kid…)
  • Write a list of imaginary images (in quick sand, in a black hole, walking on the moon…)
  • Write a list of images found in your favorite novel, poetry, non-fiction book
  • If working on a social issue: Write a list of images to connect with the issue (it could be real facts gathered or your own impressions, perceptions of the problem – empathy is putting yourself in the other’s shoes)

Move the images on your lists… let them move you... explore the "becoming-other"...

(Meduse: Genevieve Johnson)

Verbalized Images with a Partner

(I learnt this technique in Japan with Min Tanaka. I adapted it over the years to support my poem in motion creative process.)

In the verbalized images technique,

  • a partner gives you images in the form of words said aloud
  • and you allow these words-images to move you.

By awakening embodied memories, words generate images to be lived as bodily metaphors. They open up a space within for a secret dance where words are experienced various words qualities bring forth different states of being, of moving. Loaded with their different meanings, words reactivate your own perceptions of the world resurfacing in poetry in movement

Your partner is a caring sculptor and you become their everchanging sculpture. Elements of surprise and let-go play a great role in this: abandon yourself to the words. (If you don’t have a partner, record yourself saying images and then move with the recording. You can use the recorded images of the video below.)

(camera and edit: Genevieve Johnson)

Send Us a Message

Which remembered, explored, or imagined images moved you the most? How? Which senses allowed you to create the strongest embodied images to be moved? Film your poem in motion and share micro-excerpts of it on our Facebook or Instagram...

(Scar Study #5 photo montage: Genevieve Johnson)