Monday, August 22, 2011

Expanding Projects, Expansive Possibilities

One of my favorite Duncan lines is her insistence that, even though she appeared alone on stage, she never once danced a solo. I love the physical and thematic metaphor of relationship in her work.  In Duncan’s dance, the objectivity of the body is a metaphor for human subjectivity, and this weaving of life into art is a multidirectional conduit—it allows art to flow into life as well, and enables aesthetic expression to become relevant in contexts beyond the confines of the concert stage.

The healthcare industry and the jail/prison system are two such contexts, within which I have been working during the past few years. I’ve written here before about both Colors in Motion and Conspire Theatre, and I am excited to announce that both of these projects are on the cusp of expanding in new directions.  

For the next three months, Colors in Motion will be featured on the homepage of Kripalu’s website—click on “Take a Zen Moment” for a sample of Colors in Motion’s dynamic digital footage. This project integrates varying combinations of watercolor, music, movement, and poetry through innovative digital video technology to create calming and centering sensory experiences. This project is being marketed in the healing arts and healthcare fields with the goal of full-scale projection to generate holistic environments, synthesizing external harmonious stimuli with internal, somatic harmonic experience. Give us feedback by taking Kripalu’s survey about your experience with “Take a Zen Moment.”

Conspire Theatre, founded by Austinite Katherine Craft, brings theatre classes to incarcerated women in the PRIDE (People Recognizing the Inherent Dignity of Everyone) program at the Travis County Correctional Complex. I co-facilitated classes there with Kat for over a year, and we worked with some amazing women. One of our former students, a talented spoken word poet and rap artist, is achieving quite a bit of recognition for her work—check out Dan Solomon’s article about her in the Texas Observer.

Recently, Conspire launched an IndieGoGo campaign to raise funds to expand its programs at the TCCC—Conspire will continue to work with the women in PRIDE and will also begin work with women in the maximum security part of the facility. Check out this article recently published online through Austin's Culture Map. I taught through Conspire at the TCCC as a volunteer, and I am so excited to see this organization gain the fiscal strength to compensate facilitators for their time and efforts. The prison and jail systems rely on outside organizations to provide educational programming and opportunities to inmates—spread the word about how to fund these important and effective initiatives! They literally change the directions of peoples’ lives, providing empowering, creative experiences, community support, and skills to make self-actualizing choices.

The great lesson in Duncan’s work is freedom—through breath, through movement, through cultivation of intuitive listening and self-awareness, we learn that we can live joyfully from our hearts in any context. How beautiful it is to witness the expanding possibilities of these two organizations as they remind us that creativity and the arts are vital tools for healing within our bodies, within our relationships to one another, and within our relationships to the world around us.