Dance Occupy! @ #occupyboston

Callie Chapman of Zoe Dance called dancers and musicians to collaborate in an improvisational installation at Dewey Square this evening 5-7 pm.

Photography by Brendan Gibson & Tanya Palit:

It was with some trepidation I made my way to Dewey Square this evening. The intense negativity strong-armed the previous night on an already empty transitory urban fiduciary space seemed disappeared when I stepped into a light-filled warm day full of humanity buzzing at the encampment and the throngs of weary business folk making their way home. I didn’t quite know what to make of it. Still, I felt safer and more and more bold seeing the incredibly organized and homey makeup of the #occupyboston site.

Reluctantly settling on a space directly in full view of a police van (due to the farmers market), it took a bit for all of us to settle into ourselves and then begin to negotiate movement with each other, so I am glad we had a two hour play time.

I believe we started incredibly strong. I took on the persona of someone walking to work but slowed my movements down to butoh pacing. The other movement artists ebbed and flowed around me. This went on for quite a bit. It was interesting how the pedestrian traffic would flood into the street with the traffic light timing and how we all have to literally dance about each other, and since we were the oddities, we were like objects to avoid. At some point however, a woman beelined passed me and I immediately “snapped out” of my slow movements and joined the pedestrian flow out and into the crowd.

The second part for me involved working with the other performers in duo. I generally worked with mirroring and light support play. Some interesting moments were decidedly the times just after some prolonged contact and pulling away and maintaining the energy flow between my partner and me. At some point, I remember making myself make eye contact with passersby and bracing myself to the inevitable awkward space of being looked at in between visibility and invisibility – where the onlooker would look at my body and just past my face. This is forced acknowledgement full of tension. Not surprisingly, few people returned a solid gaze.

The third part I was literally tight-fisted and my arms were hinged at my sides at all times and I worked really hard to make meaningful eye and gestural contact with my partner. In the end, letting it play out, I became more and more tight-fisted. It was incredibly restrictive but interesting for me to sit in that space for such a prolonged time with multiple people… we almost executed a tableau.

I think more of this form of free style workshopping can help people develop some synchronicity. The addition of theater games Boal style might help us really get into movement work based on character and force us to acknowledge each other in character. A bit of a challenge when most of us are strangers, but well worth exploring.

The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, answered, “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

Here are the details:
Segment 1: Dancers/movers surround Dewey Sq. like pillars. For one hour they simply move.

Segment 2: Attention is directed toward one dancer in the circle/semi-circle and everyone in the group (including protesters) repeats that dancers movement until he/she passes along to the next ‘pillar’ until the circle in complete.

We also need musicians with non-amplified instruments (per City permitting laws)…If we have enough, one c…ould be at each ‘pillar’? That would be really striking!

We will meet by the Arts and Culture tent at 4:30 for everyone to have the opportunity to be familiar with the score. We will perform at the end of Dewey Sq. (where there is a large open space, rather than amongst tents and people). This will give us more visibility!

You should plan on wearing RED. Preferably a solid color, but a print could be OK.