Monday, July 11, 2011

Tunics in the Forest: Part I

Last Saturday afternoon I arrived at the Noyes School of Rhythm, on Penfield Hill Road in Cobalt, CT, for two weeks of dance, music, and merriment, on a beautiful wooded property cupping a crisp and cool spring-fed lake. Summer has finally arrived!

This is my seventh summer to spend a period of a few weeks or more dancing in my tunic in the forest, accompanied by amazingly sensitive pianists and partnering with birdsong and breezes for several hours of movement each day.  I have missed only one summer since my first experience with the Noyes movement in 2004, and that was due to distance and graduate school economics. I am very blessed to be spending a total of three full (if not consecutive) weeks here this summer, and to deepening my experience in and understanding of Noyes Rhythm as both an apprentice teacher of this work and as a student.

Arrival at Noyes is often a whirlwind of welcomes and catch-up conversations, and this year was no exception—in fact, I arrived at the tail end of the co-ed week, and just in time to be audience for some raucous and inspiring Saturday Night performances. I also overlapped with a few members of the Colors in Motion TM Creative Team, and we shot some late night footage for the next evolution of that project, focusing on light dancing in painting, poetry, movement, and sound. I’m excited to see the raw footage shot by Christopher Graefe, with whom I hope to collaborate again before my northeastern summer sojourn is done.

This week has been filled with rest (read sleep) and beautiful rhythmic movement. Most days have been sunny and dry, and afternoons slip by with laps across the lake. The evening improvisational dance times have evolved spontaneous duets and group dances, some of which were reprised for Saturday Night. Only one day of rain, and that was a heavy downpour, a storm complete with thunder, lightening, mud and leaky tents. Rarely do we forego our evening “playtime” here, but we did spend Friday evening in the recreation room of the farmhouse, dancing to old gramophone records and trying to remember how to foxtrot. The windup record players still work (take that, new technology) and one even made it down to the Pavalon as a featured prop in a Saturday Night skit.

There has been space and breath in the dance movement this week—fullness characterized by the completion of the under-arc and the over-arc, both important realms in the Noyes work. Growth and light and lightness resonate through the folds and unfolds of the limbs, which merely echo fluctuations in consciousness.  Camp-brain seems to have taken over, and I found myself pinning a note to myself to my tunic this morning in an attempt to remember a to-do (would that I had this much trouble recalling my undone list in the outside world!). I am very grateful for this time of dappled sunlight though the trees and soft earth underfoot, as I skip over roots and under branches to dance again tonight, outdoors, lit by moonbeams and hanging stars…