Photo © 2009. Nannette Bertschy & Ann Moradian.

looking at the world and challenging our assumptions, definitions and creation of it through the lense of the body, movement, the arts and science.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Reflections: The Performer

You have to descend, down into the basement, to find the dancers who come from all over the world to perform at L'Espace Culturel Bertin Poirée in the center of Paris. It is a small and very intimate space, with its old stone walls and archways, and the curved ceiling not so high above. It is in this charming space the Tenri Franco-Japanese Cultural Association produces an ongoing dance series. It is also a space in which you can see every detail of the performer at work.

Sharoni Stern Siegel in Kan Katsura's 'Oracle & Enigma'
Photo by Beatrice Schleyer

The intimacy of the space served Kan Katsura's Butoh program 'Oracle & Enigma' well, because each of his dancers is very distinctly their own person and personality, and we had the chance to see this and study it in his work there. I found myself grouping the dancers into three categories: 'expressive,' 'pure movers,' and 'the undeniably present.'

The 'expressive' dancers tended to be actively and consciously performing, committed to conveying both the visceral and emotional experience of the work. The 'pure movers' embodied the movement rather than any overt intent, and allowed their dance, itself, to create our experience as viewers. I would say that the first group were filled with passion, that might remind us of our own. The second group expressed simple and exquisite beauty in their being and their dance.

Margherita Tisato in 'Oracle & Enigma,' photo by Beatrice Schleyer

As lovely as these performers were, it was actually the third group, comprised of Sharoni Stern Siegel and Margherita Tisato, that touched me most deeply. These two women were so fully present in themselves in the work that I found my world suspended as I journeyed with them into theirs. Their commitment to the moment managed to brush aside the questioning my mind is prone to (of meaning, content, form, construction, value...), and brought me back to the simple and undeniable reality of existence, where judgement has no role.

The cast was completed by Kan Katsura, Victoria Macarte, Vangeline and Vangeline Theater dancers Pamela Herron, Maki Shinagawa, Azumi Me and Stacy Lynn Smith. Music and sound effects were by Noriko Tomatani and Francois Tariq. The small array of lights managed to create a multitude of effects and moods, thanks to Margot Olliveaux, the center's inhouse lighting designer.

©Ann Moradian, 2011.
(This article has also been published by The Dance Enthusiast, a New York-based site.)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Walk Gently...

Walk Gently... © Ann Moradian. All rights reserved.

Walk gently
with feet that listen tenderly.
It is my body you mark with each step.

Know yourself by the feel of the air
as it breathes through the pores of your skin.
It is my soul you breathe
in your lungs in your blood in your heart.

Regard the weather well.
As you march through the heat that burns water dry
it is the dust of my skin you spit aside.

And when the rains fall, take care.
My muddy checks distort and slide.
And in between rain and sun, life takes root and grows
with a joy that veers toward ecstasy.

Come often, lest paths carved out overs years disappear.
Life shoots up any place it can.
Certain small deaths are necessary.

But walk gently, with feet that listen tenderly and give you strength.
It is my body that supports you as you mark it with each step.
It is my face beneath your feet at the summit
where the wind blows unhindered.

Ann Moradian, April 15, 2009

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Mine

The Mine © Ann Moradian. All rights reserved.

A cavernous journey into the mine
Cut off from the world
Cold stone walls caress warm flesh
And it chills
And in this cave of riches
Only me
And mine

I possess this heart of the earth
I possess the depths of her soul
I own her
None can enter
Rabbits are murdered for trespassing
Then they join me for supper

The jeweled ceiling rests above me
Like a turquoise crown
Set on silver tresses
And I - only -
Enjoy this beauty
Only me and mine

That the earth may rebel
May spit me back naked to the elements
That she might disgorge on me her fiery depths...
That she may --
Is but a nightmare that I sleep beside
And hope I do not trip on

Ann Moradian, October 1, 1989
originally printed in NYU's Gallatin Review, Spring 1990

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ahimsa : When Will it Work?

I have always wondered why non-violent protest worked so well in India with the British and has not yet succeeded in China with the Tibetans. It seems clear to me, finally, and probably should have been obvious all along!

Our human decency is called to account when we are held, and hold ourselves, personally responsible for our individual and collective actions. When we do not claim or accept responsibility for our own governance, we allow not only our human decency but also our intelligence to fall to the wayside. (This is clearly demonstrated in China, but also in the US where its citizens allow businesses free reign without recognition of individual responsibility for actions made on behalf of "business interests," and even, half-humorously, in French daily life where the statement "Ce n'est pas ma faut" ("It's not my fault") is quickly followed by outrageous accusations against the accuser.)

This personal epiphany of understanding was sparked on reading the Dalai Lama's statement in honor of the 52nd anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day this morning, and so I share it with you, here.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Karma Yoga

"Serve and love. Serve with love, because without love you cannot serve." (M. Sivananda)

This Sunday I will be teaching
Community Class at the
Centre de Yoga du Marais
11h30 to 13h00, March 6, 2011

Community Classes at the Centre are donation-based, and every cent goes to support those in need: 'Families for Children' is a not-for-profit agency that cares for over 600 destitute and mentally challenged children and women in India and Bangladesh. The organization is run entirely by volunteers from their own homes, so the money goes directly to the orphanages and schools that they have set up. The Centre de Yoga du Marais and its teachers have been supporting this organization for several years through regular and ongoing karma yoga.

Suggested donation 10€ - 50€
Centre de Yoga du Marais
72, rue Vertbois
75003 Paris
M° Reamur-Sebastopol, Arts et Metiers, Temple, Republique, Strasbourg-St. Denis

Reservation suggested: