05 June 2007

space between

oslund and co.

first taste of the portland modern dance scene a couple of weeks ago and I've been struggling with writing about it for days. when that happens, I make a list:

1. loved the ideas behind the piece sky -- exploring the spaces between people. still not exactly sure if that's what I took away from it, but think maybe that's the point.

2. was totally distracted by the music-- musicians who rattled chains in buckets and crumpled paper into microphones while a vocalist half-whispered/half-sang in random fashion. this sort of thing occasionally works but didn't really serve the choreography here. plus, that particular concept is, how you say? played out. which leads me to the next item on my list:

3. wish modern dance wouldn't always take itself so seriously.

4. found great comfort in: the sounds of feet hitting the floor, of bodies moving through space and sliding off one another, the sounds of heavy, even breathing. this is why dance is best experienced in smaller performance spaces-- you can hear bodies moving, you can see the dancers breathing. no substitute for that brand of intimacy.

5. really hate the word 'intimacy'.

6. felt great love and appreciation for the ambitious athleticism of the piece, which stirred up all kinds of feelings of aching and longing.

7. left the theatre feeling so ambivalent. struggling with why.

actually, the feelings of ambivalence are coming from a place that doesn't really have anything to do with the piece. I believe my head is a bit messy because I'm struggling with my place here and the performance left me feeling more lost than ever. I am farther than I have ever been from the world of dance and this absolutely terrifies me. in atlanta, I had a community-- students to teach, classes to take, choreographers who wanted to work with me. here, I am starting all over again. which is exciting for me in almost every other area but this one.

I think maybe I am trying to decide if I have it in me to start again. I think maybe I am scared of the answer, either way.


  1. Don't be afraid! Go for it. I think you're right about the whole "taking themselves too seriously" thing. It is what really creates that sense of inaccessibility. Dance is expression - express it!!!
    good luck!

  2. i love your description of the piece you saw (#5). i really love going to modern dance performances but i also have so much trouble putting my thoughts about the experience into words. soon, i'll be attending some of the adf performances, and i can't wait. your words here are beautiful and i wish you luck in finding your footing in your new community. all the best! shari

  3. the joy you've expressed surrounding your move has been overwhelming - but it wouldn't be a transition without some sort of struggle, would it? it's like birthing a new life, in a way.

    i do hope you find a place for your dancing in your new home. it seems, from what i've read here, to be such a part of you.

  4. I think a dancer cannot not dance. You have to dance; it takes you There. (I know There. You know There). It's just getting past the New Kid syndrome. Once you're back in -- not matter at what capacity -- you'll be bummed you ever stopped or questioned yourself.

  5. mmmm...i recognize myself in your words...in your fear...

  6. thanks for the encouraging words, all. thank you so much.

    anonymous, there are precious few choreographers that understand the whole seriousness thing, I think. but at least there are a few.

    shari, oh oh oh-- I'm so envious of where you live! hard to believe that it's been 10 years snce the two summers I spent studying at adf. *sigh* I think if I lived there, I'd always be trying to sneak into classes. I'd be getting into a whole bunch of trouble. good for you that you're going to some performances! what are you going to see? do tell! it's been ten years and I still check the site each ear, decide which classes I'd take and what companies I'd be most excited about if I was going to be there... lots of good dance there this summer... hoping to live vicariously through you a bit-- hope you'll share your experiences with me. :) gah! I miss adf sooooo much.

    emily, you are absolutely right on. sometimes I forget I've only been here for two months and that there are just certain things that take time. really appreciate your encouraging words here.

    d, never a possibility for me not to dance, not to move-- no matter how far away it feels from me and I love you for reminding me of that. because sometimes a person needs reminding. you'll be the first to know when I get There. just around the corner, has to be.

    michelle, sometimes it just helps to know that you're not the only one that struggles like this. thank you.

  7. Lovely post. I'm so feeling these thougts right now, in a different sort of context, but still relating. I hope you find where you fit in your new space, too.

  8. another Story to Add to the Pot:

    i arrived here back on Halloween, 2005 from ATLANTA. my stomping ground was in the ATL. i knew it like the back of hand. then, after 2 and a half years of dating this guy who hiked the Pacific Crest Trail the last 6 months of our relationship, we had high hopes of moving to the Great NorthWest together. i stayed in the ATL while he hiked and as soon as he was done, I would hop on a plane and we decided on Portland. sad thing is all the dreams, the planning, the multi-trips, the struggle being without him for 6 months, the job offer the week before he completely the trip, AND as soon as i told him i was going to resign from my job in the ATL, he flaked out on me. no explanation, just that he didn't want me anymore. the trail had changed him. that night, i drove home, locked myself in my room at my parents and the very next day, i sat down infront of my parents and said, i'm still going to do it. one way ticket, 2 luggage bags and me were off a week later and i wouldn't change it for the world. i lived in the hotel for a month before finding an apartment and ta da... my blog started a couple of weeks after my arrival in this beautiful city i now call HOME. so... with that said, we have amazing lives!!! and you have an amazing hubby and 2 children. i have a new circle of friends and a new life... and the last year and a half have been the BEST so far. sorry for the long-winded story.

    what happened to Number 3 on your list AND

    my wish is - that i wrote better. i wish i had a better vocabulary and i wish i could find a cute guy to date me. he he xo

  9. oh am loving the new to me look [i have been gone awhile, no?]

    you will find your footing [pun intended]. perhaps the way is just to dance [in your living room with ava] and the answer you seek will be there.


  10. my friend, this is my conundrum. so much change is on the table for me with work and yet, i'm inert with fear. fear of hearing no, fear of starting over again (after having already started again) and even if there isn't a need to re-start in new digs, i need to restart my internal button. and again, i'm inert.

  11. I don't know you or your dance interests, but I have been reading your blog since finding it by way of my friend meeganblue. I live in Portland and was ondering if you have seen anything by BodyVox? I really like their work and their sense of humor. I think they make dance accesible without dumbing it down and they don't take it so seriously that you feel like it is all concept and no joy. Just my two cents. Welcome to Portland!

  12. Your description of the performance is so vivid! Chick, I agree with Madness Rivera - you can't not dance. Its to much a part of you, ingrained into your soul...but I can understand that struggle and the anxiety associated with starting over. You'll find the groove again!


  13. what's that corny saying?

    do what you love and the rest will come?

  14. it's tricky stuff- watching art from the outside, and always hoping (at least i am) for a glipse of silly AND profound. hard to find, but oh! it's my manna.
    luck to you.
    -kathleen (atlanta)

  15. I have been thinking about this post for a few days now. I remember this feeling when I left San Francisco. I responded with a knee-jerk reaction like "no one is going to take away my chances of creating art - I have made enough sacrifices already". Of course our circumstances in this regard are different... At the same time I understand the fear. I was thinking today about how scared I have been the last few months. I told a friend recently how most of these dreams I chase after are pursued in the midst of total shaking in my boots fear. I encouraged her to name her dreams. I think you should as well. Just be aware that the fear may come and practically tumble over you like a sheet of waves on a beach and yet just try to withstand it and move forward anyway. I keep moving forward even when it feels foolish to go against that strong reaction and desire to flee. It's not easy. It definitely requires courage and yet I know you will find your place in Portland - fears and all.