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.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

"Thanksgiving is an action"


Just a reminder that Ann will be teaching Community Class this
Sunday, November 27th from 11h30 to 13h00 at the
Centre de Yoga du Marais, 72 rue Vertbois, 75003
M° Reamur-Sebastopol, Arts et Metiers, Temple, Republique, Strasbourg-St. Denis
Suggested donation 10€ - 50€

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 practice.

Reservation encouraged, but not required.
Contact: pranastretch@yahoo.com or call 06 89 70 23 58

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Old Man with the Lamp

In the ancient Indian scriptures there are many stories worth recounting. One I especially love is about an Old Man with a Lamp. It goes something like this:

There was a man who, not so long ago, stepped out of his house into his garden at that magical time when light and shadow meet and merge, when night and day are for a moment one, and the air is quiet and full with its secrets.

Photo © Ann Moradian 2012.

The man breathed in the moist air deeply, and widened his eyes to take in the beauty of the leaves and flowers and grass in his half lit garden. As he gazed across it all, his eyes came upon the coiled form of a snake. Now snakes come in all kinds, but in India it is often the deadly cobra that makes its home in such quiet gardens.

The man cried out in fear and panic "Snake! Snake!" trusting the night watchman to come with his pronged stick and thrust the poisonous creature into the fields or out into the river, far from the idyllic home he had worked so hard to build.

The old man came with his nightstick and his lamp and, as he moved closer to trap the snake's neck in the fork of his staff, the light revealed a coiled rope that must have been left out that night by the new gardener. The two men had a good laugh!

In another version, the old man has fallen asleep in his chair and his lamp has gone dim. The man pushes the old man aside as he rushes in to kill the snake. Only after he has exercised all his adrenalin destroying the thing does he realize it is only a rope. And it is only then as he turns, slightly abashed, toward the fallen elder that the man realizes the old man is dead beside him, his neck broken from the violence of the fall.

Swami Satchidananda says that this time of "twilight is the most dangerous time," because in the full light of day we can see clearly what is there, and in the dark of night we see nothing. But when the light and dark meet in that half-light of either dawn or dusk, it is then that we can confuse a misplaced rope and a deadly snake. He goes on to say that Yoga is neither for the enlightened nor for the ignorant, but for those in between, to dispel ignorance and to refine our discernment.

Ann Moradian
November 17, 2011
(updated March 17, 2012)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Opportunity Updates

Kresge Foundation Invites Preliminary Applications for Arts and Community Building and Artists' Skills and Resources Grant Opportunities.
Deadline: February 1, 2012 (Preliminary Applications)

Theatre Communications Group Announces New Leadership Program for Theatre Practitioners.
Deadline: various

Breakthroughs in Gerontology Initiative Invites Proposals for Research Into Biology of Aging. Two-year awards of up to $200,000 each for pilot programs leading to transformational discoveries in the fundamental biology of aging.
Deadline: December 15, 2011

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Reflections on Performance: Christina Towle and Orin Camus

©Ann Moradian for The Dance Enthusiast

The large metal door opens by itself so slowly I have to slow the city rush in me to wait. But it is worth it. Paris is full of magical courtyards, and this one feels like entering an old country village with its cobblestone and moss. It feels ancient in contrast to the urban press of the highrises that make up the 20th arrondisement. The studio theatre here at Le Regard du Cygne seats just over 50 people. Indian summer fled last week so we were happy to gather in the small gallery splashed with abstract grays and yellows.

© Le Regard du Cygne. All rights reserved.

The premiere of Christina Towle's AIRTIGHT begins with the sound of her breath as she blows up a very large white balloon. She fills it completely -- you can't help but wonder if it will pop -- and when she is done, she lets it go. We see it, hear it and feel it expire as the air leaves. All of that breath becoming nothing but the limp shell of the thing-- death and the life that was.

AIRTIGHT, Photo © All Rights Reserved, Guillame Bassinett

The entire piece is made up of the sound and the movement of Towle's breath and the balloons. She is focused almost entirely on the torso, the lungs and the abdomen, leaving the limbs inarticulate. I don't see it as dance but, rather, conceptual art expressed through the medium of the body. She ends standing on her head with the declaration "I am here." One of her airtight balloons has popped.

Circle Moods, Photo ©, All rights reserved, Mickaël Arnal

Orin Camus begins his solo, Circle Moods, standing on his head. Well, that's not entirely true. There was a long stretch where I was thoroughly entranced by the minute movements of the fingers of his right hand. His body is more like an athlete's than a dancer's, and it moves from one incredible contortion to another. He has the same sense of sculptural form, sensuality and power that we see in Rodin's work. The quality of his transitions and timing are so deeply imbedded and his body is so strong that it feels like we are watching living, breathing, feeling sculpture that is made of bronze, not flesh.

Circle Moods, Photo ©, All rights reserved, Mickaël Arnal

Video images by Mikael Arnal are projected directly downward into the circle of light that is the work's central space, creating shadows of wafting smoke or a pool of blood that rings outward when Camus lands in it in a full bodied splat. The rough edges of the street keep pulsing through the work. This is dance as visual and visceral urban poetry. In this work the city is not only Inescapable, it is in our blood.

--
am

Christina Towle and Orin Camus at Le Regard du Cygne, Paris, October 15, 2011

AIRTIGHT (premiere)
choreographed and performed by Christina Towle
Assistant choreographer Laurence Pagés
Sound by Karl-Otto Von Oertzen

Circle Moods
Collectif CdansC
choreographed and performed by Orin Camus
Lighting by Sylvie Debare
Video by Mikael Arnal
Music by Orin Camus and Mikael Arnal