Impermanence Made Visible

Impermanence Made Visible

My current favorite definition of the word “dance” is:

“Impermanence made visible.”

That seems to cover the immensity and the minutia of this slippery form.

I’m particularly in touch with impermanence as Dandelion moves into our premiere of Friend tonight. It strikes me as odd how performance is what I pour my most extreme efforts and longings and strivings into–and then it’s gone so quickly after it arises. This is particularly true in the experimental dance world wherein we often work for many months, seasons and/or years on a particular project and then perform it for one weekend (or if we’re lucky, two.)

Where does the work go? Where do our efforts live after we’ve made them? How does something that feels so important to me pass away before my eyes? I can feel it leaving even before we begin our opening night.

I do believe that the impermanence of live performance is the key ingredient that gives it power. We have to show up completely to make it work, and we ask the audiences to show up completely to share it.

All performances–but especially Friend which feels intensely personal–get me really excited as we move closer to the moment when “it’s time” to head to our starting places; and also stir up great sadness the closer we move to the final moments of closing night. Performance for me is like a blender that shakes, swirls, crushes, blends, releases and renews our insides. And depending on the level of vulnerability required to birth each piece, it’s a blender set on high, medium or low power.

Today as I start to get ready to head to the theater I feel great anticipation, joy, gratitude, sadness, fear, queasiness, and a sense of adventure. I’m reflecting on the many profound moments of impermanence I’ve experienced with the Dandelion ensemble over the last number of years and am looking forward to adding this one to our swirling artistic field of visions.

Bringing a new work onstage is always scary to me. It helps somehow to remember that I’ve done it before so many times, and to “huddle” with my team by rewatching some of those instances.

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