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100 days of dance for Anna Halprin

April 5th-July 13th 2020

DAYS ONE-TWO-THREE: April 5th,6th,7th

Day One Zoom

When I just opened up this file, made just 2 days ago, it brought instant tears into my eyes. When we concieved of the 100 days of dance for Anna we’d never heard of COVID-19 or thought that “Lockdown” or “Self-isolation” would become part of our daily vocabulary (or that Boris Johnson would be in intensive care and Keir Starmer leader of the Labour Party.. Ok maybe the latter a bit more predictable) and Zoom a primary means of communication. I feel such a strong sense of connection with everyone of the people I shared the 1st day of 100 days of dance with. Some I have known decades and another mere months, some I’ve seen weeks ago, others not for months or years but they all mean so much, and even more when we are forced apart like this.. and thus brought together.

Hey lovely,

SO! Legendary Dance Artist Anna Halprin turns 100 this year, in exactly 100 days in fact. We want to mark this with 100 days of dancing each day until her 100th Birthday on July 13th, on which date if we’re outta Lockdown we’ll join World-wide Planetary dances for Peace. The current situation has made me a bit slow in organising but makes me feel that this endeavour is even more welcome.. I really hope that you and yours are keeping well!

Let’s meet on Zoom at 3pm London time Sunday April 5th

I propose:
Simultaneous sounding of how we are feeling right now (movement optional)
Simultaneous Sharing how we are in our 3 levels of awareness (2 min mentally, 2 min physically, 2 min emotionally)
3. Simultaneous Boogie to an agreed upon uplifting song
4. Short conversation to set up some ideas and parameters for the following 99 days

Please DM me your email address and phone number and a proposal for a shared song/ piece of music. I’ll email you an invitation on Sunday before the meeting and choose the songs from a hat. If you can’t make it then I’ll send you a recording and please tell me if you have a preferred time for the following week (the proposal is that we each dance everyday wherever and whatever that is for us then once a week dance at the same time )

Please feel free to invite anyone you choose. I hope that this will build and spread gradually throughout the 100 days and be part of a shared intention to create a better world to live in by honouring someone who has dedicated her long life to doing just that.

Loadsalove, look forward to “seeing” you tomorrow XXX Lucy Red Shoes

13 people joined us in the event (though Jose, Mark and Inbal were absent above as had shown up at 3 though we’d decided to move it to 4.30 which they couldn’t attend)

Tbh I was quite overwhelmed with the emotion of seeing them all after nearly 3 weeks of barely seeing anyone but my housemates and just a few facetimes and zooms here and there. I quite forgot myself and the Score and just asked how everyone was , ‘cos I was really excited to see them all and really wanted to know, then then we had quite fun dancing to the songs i pulled out of the hat:

and

I felt a huge range of emotions afterwards, but primarily I was overwhelmed with Love and this overwhelm of emotion made me realise quite how much I’d also “locked down” my thoughts and emotions in the preceding weeks. I’d been feeling a lot of Gratitude that my situation could be so much worse and feeling weirdly sanguing enjoying the dominance of nature sounds over carbon emission and construction sound while also not quite dealing with the apparent total annihilation of all of my plans and potential funding for the coming year and fears about the Virus itself which had also put one of my best friends into a ventilator the previous night (he is home now pheeeeeewwwwww.. I am writing this on DAY THREE Why I’ll explain shortly).. unsurprising this level of suppression by my normally highly expressive self created a massive stress rash and after the rush of emotion of the ZOOMDANCE I went to Bed and basically slept through DAY TWO So any Dancing was a DREAMDANCE

DAY THREE

I’ll write about in a minute after making dinner XXX

(In Preparation for: 100 days of dance for Anna Halprin)

Jan 28th

A Dance at the Lighthouse

I have felt incredibly blue since the end of last year. A challenging concatenation of events and situations have led me into quite a few dark nights in my soul. I appear to be emerging as I continue to really try to face my shadows. I took a walk on a cold sunny day yesterday to a favourite spot, a lighthouse at the end of the harbour arm near to where I live. On the way I found it hard to shake my mood which ensured that I noticed what I percieved as barriers and obstructions to beauty and vision at every turn (including bad poetry), beginning with a large dog doing a massive turd in a flower bed and it’s owners profusely praising it profusely before scooping it up and looking at me (a “stranger” ) with deep disdain.. A common experience in what I experience as the dog loving (more than people loving) town in which I currently reside..

But I’ve always loved the Lighthouse and have howled at many a full moon there (before they started locking the gates at night!!!) and so I walked up the steps and

felt the wind in my face and the roaring wind and sea and began to dance with them just exploring the whole environment with my body, moving with sounds, and feels, and observing and following now a wave, a bird, the railings, the viewless viewing platform (So we can’t see France in the distance as Brexit fast approaches ?!?) round and round until I couldn’t stop dancing. I thought about the plan to do 100 dances a day for Anna and how I look forward to it and how this small dance had transformed my mood and my relation to myself and the environment and decided to do a dance for me every day until the 100 dances for Anna (which will also obvs be a lil bit for me too). I tried to film but the wind threw down my phone so I have bought a bendy tripod to film future ventures (maybe I should listen to the wind and dance only for me but I feel moved to experiment with my new camera.

I walked away in such a different and more connected frame of mind…

January 29th

A drunken dance in the kitchen with a friend

This is perhaps cheating: I did today’s dance at about 4am this morning which was in a way still yesterday. After I danced at the Lighthouse I went to see my therapist and after grocery shopping and cooking went to meet a friend in a bar. As I was leaving I went to hug another friend who was there and asked him how he was, he looked deep in my eyes and they were just full of sadness, his wife (also my friend) is in hospital and he’s lonely and worried. I invited him back to mine and he gratefully agreed and we talked and drank and as we’d got all our pains in our minds off our chests and the music got better and better we got up and danced and danced then sang and sang, we didn’t even really dance together just went for it in our internal ways. I’m too tired and possibly hungover to dance again today but there is so much more light in my soul today than yesterday. I think a dance a day might need to be a lifelong practice. Thanks Anna! XXX

January 30th

A daytime kitchen dance (solo) to cheer myself up

Amazingly drizzly day

drizzly day

But I ain’t going to let it get me down. I’ve been in a period of deep reflection since end of last year. I have avoided some real possibilities for love and joy in my life so far and it’s hard not to let regret and fear of aging/ that it’s “too late” get me down not to mention the too much pain and wrong turnings all round the world. But I felt a real drive to joy this morning. I need to face the present and future. I made the choices I did for reasons I could not control at that time, this is my journey, this is where I am, I can only start with me. I started today with a dance in my living room to this marvellous music. For the moment I am creating no score for the dances other than DANCE EVERY DAY, 3 days in I already feel the experiences accumulating in my body and the feelings are of life, energy, joy. I just went with what my body wanted to do.. some of it was stretching out the strains and ache but mostly it was leaping and twirling, sometimes fast, sometimes slower, exploring my relationship with what is inside and with the air around me, playing with the music: this morning I felt I needed the music. I feel excited.

Again I tried to record it but again the recording stopped (due to storage space this time). Interesting how I am being foiled in recording but keep persisting to try. Echoes where I am in my creative life too. I have been working on 2 main ideas: “The Scar is the Score” A series of workshops and performances exploring pain and restriction and how to heal or to work with the restrictions and the lessons they give, and “On a Clear day” a dance film map of folkestone to bring disparate people and communities together. Both are Tamalpa based but one also brings in my film background about which I still feel some ambivalence but I remain committed to mainly as it is a way of finding an analytical framework and also sharing ideas across time and space. It also is a connection to this dystopian society we find ourselves in. Media can be a connector but is increasingly  getting so many people trapped in their heads so it feels healthy to acknowledge our addiction to media in the context of finding ways to be present and really inhabit our bodies, relationships and environments. Both connect me to others but I think that using digital media creates a more substantial bridge to the wider culture. I have made a proposal about this for my level 3 Tamalpa training. The “Scar is the Score” I will develop in collaboration with Normal festival of the Mind and a series of workshops with Core Therapies. Some of my ambivalence is about my ambivalence about Folkestone, a reluctance to embed myself here further: Is this another illustration of my shadows? My fears of intimacy and belonging? It is ungrounding that my plans simultaneously are developing work here about here and also plotting to leave. But here I am right now so…

Jan 31st

Dance explorations with friends in dance studios

I got up at 6am to drive to London to move and makes sounds at Chisenhale dance space where my lovely friend Tania Soubry/ Tasou was facilitating Open Lab

Such a releeeeeeease to move and sound in the company of others, used to be almost daily life when I lived in London, in Folkestone I’m dancing a lot alone and mostly those abstract free spaces of expression are not a part of my life here. Spent a lot of the morning clearing out some gunk inside me, imagined many things.. swirling dancing blue shapes, hospitals where people express and expel their illnesses through sound and movement.. I noticed that I was much freer with eyes shut, tried to chalenge this and noticed how much visual stimulation activates my cognitive/ narrative perception.. communicated this and when we regrpuped felt able to move through the groups shapes and movements and sounds even with eyes open. with a lot more frredom / music after one of the participant, Hannah, mentioned this as a provocation. We ended palming, massaging each other telling stories inspired b y our journies over our bodies.. I found a worm opera and 2 shy worms finally finding each other in song.. a satisfying morning.

Was going to go after lunch back to Folkestone to have a ceremony with friends to mark brexit.. My friend Fernanda had made these:

Fernanda had to cancel so I decided to stay on in London. I felt quite a heaviness about returning feeling I would be surrounded by Brexiteers and people with whom I can’t really be and feel my full self (unlike my experieinces at Chisenhale)

I met a friend for lunch and we tried to get to the William Blake show which was sold out but had a lovely catchup on the long journey through London. On the way back we passed through Parliament square which was full of the worlds’ press, many police with large guns and men wearing union jacks. I yelled “you don’t know our history” and Ana (long-time resident here originally from Germany) cried a little.

I was very grateful to reach another dance studio in Hackney where other friends were holding another Open lab session: Shakedancedream:

ShakeDanceDreamFlyer(1)ShakeDanceDreamFlyer(1)

I arrived late to a beautiful studio full of beautiful “European” friends. Claire started playing Gongs and other Sound bath instruments giving us the lovely choice to either dance or do nothing but let it resonate through us.. then ended with “Dance to the end of love” very healing on a strange sad day..

February 1st

Soul dancing to William Blake and late night short knackered  dance to a friend’s song on the internet

The next morning I went to the 2nd to last day of the William Blake exhibition that I’d been meaning to see for a while. IT made my soul dance (but in the crowds and being with my mum found it hard to actually dance.

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Back to Folkestone went on a healing walk with a friend, had hoped we’d dance after we’d hugged but not the moment..

Came home and somewhat exhaustedly (though not quite sure why) ate dinner and flicked through facebook, played a song an fb friend had recorded and had a soulful 3 minute dance before bed. It is SUCH a great rule to HAVE to dance every day and that dance can be very large or very small but it is NEVER time wasted and always gives something.

February 2nd

A dance in a forest by a lake

I felt the pull of nature and luckily friends agreed. Sophie and Trevor and Toby suggested Brockhill park and I got there with Fernanda and Joachim just as they were leaving sadly but we had a very uplifting muddy walk

OH TREES AND WATER AND FRIENDS!!!

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I still feel tired and puffy and my eye infection has come back but hope is budding like the Snowdrops we saw today (that Fernanda also photographed)

snowdrops

We then met Anka and went out for cocktails, yes and we danced then I had to rudely leave them for my first Zoom meeting with my Level 3 co-students. Elizabeth read a poem that reminded me of the murmuration I’d seen when first in Folkestone that is no more due to someone getting the tree cut down as the starlings used to crap on his car.. such an emblem of the priorities of this country and town!!! Will go to this poem for further inspiration. An auspicious and apt beginning:

 

Starlings in Winter

by Mary Oliver

Chunky and noisy,
but with stars in their black feathers,
they spring from the telephone wire
and instantly
they are acrobats
in the freezing wind.
And now, in the theater of air,
they swing over buildings,
dipping and rising;
they float like one stippled star
that opens,
becomes for a moment fragmented,
then closes again;
and you watch
and you try
but you simply can’t imagine
how they do it
with no articulated instruction, no pause,
only the silent confirmation
that they are this notable thing,
this wheel of many parts, that can rise and spin
over and over again,
full of gorgeous life.
Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us,
even in the leafless winter,
even in the ashy city.
I am thinking now
of grief, and of getting past it;
I feel my boots
trying to leave the ground,
I feel my heart
pumping hard. I want
to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable, beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.

Monday February 3rd

Dance of another body moving my body to heal

Was planning to move all day but didn’t get the time then went to have deep tissue massage and osteopath appointment back to back (I have been feeling so rank for so long am getting as many treatments as possible). Felt very conscious of how manipulation of each body part activated different emotions.. I asked for a lot of work on my arms as thy’ve been hurting badly. when Sonja worked my right arm is made me so angry making me want to punch so hard, then on my left arm spontaneous tears fell from my eyes.. I will have to see that days dance as a dance performed by expert healing manipulation of my body .. afterwards I was a zombie and had long epsom salts bath and slept early and many hours

Tuesday February 4th

Dance of Movement Ritual

When I did my exercise regime today I was so much more conscious of my breath than normal. I am always a little bit aware but was shocked at the difference it made to use the breath more completely as a guide and count each pose in relation to it. It is a bit disturbing that somehow I think I have been avoiding this when I knew of it’s importance. It deepens and strengthens my practice and is making me feel stronger.

My Daily Movement Ritual

I’ve been re-reading “the body keeps the score” by Bessel Van Der Kolk and listening to “Scattered minds” by Gabor Mate audiobook and these are helping me to process the short term and long-term events that have been occurring and triggered in the last few months. I decided on Bessel Van der Kolk’s inspiration to write down a blow by blow account trying also to track my emotional and physical responses. I have beendoing a lot of dance and sound clearing and a bit of talk therapy/ being heard but he talked of good results from people trying this simple exercise. Very clearing, I feel I’m emerging from a very dark and self-absorbed time. It is rather dull and personal, I just place it here really for my own records and remembering (which is really what this whole blog is, I’ve always liked this format for journaling don’t really think about it for public consumption.. but write this just in case.. I’ve nothing to hide, and if you’ve nothing better to do..).

December 2019

Wednesday February 5th

Dancing and singing to Dolly with good friends in a bar

Mostly just worked at Computer then went to see “town witch”, the eye infection has not healed and I’ve felt so tired and depleted. Lovely Lynda with her white cat and dogs in her apothecary fully heard my story and proscribed potions for strengthening my heart, adrenals, immunity and another to “ground” me. Feeling her genuine sympathy and understanding didn’t hurt either.

witch's apothecary bathroom

I then went home and completed the piece of writing from the previous day.

I then went out to Old Buoy to celebrate Cath’s birthday, fortuitously, as I hadn’t done my daily dance there was some silly dancing and singing involved (remember the ONLY rule of this score is to dance every day.. whatever that means..). I’ll illustrate with pics of the lovely Cath supping the cream from my bowl of moules: The Cath that got the Cream! Lovely woman, Lovely night X

 Thursday February 6th

Dancing 3 levels of awareness Check-in for beginning of Level 3 Tamalpa training

I had free access to the Glassworks studio and so it’s time to begin Level 3 in earnest, which I’m using to provide a framework to create a 360 map of Folkestone using the Tamalpa Life/ Art tools. Our first assignment was to write a personal introduction and to do a 3 levels of awareness check-in, as this contains a certain amount of dancing I think that I can honestly use this work as today’s dance. Great to begin at last and it feels as if the timing is coinciding with my desire to re-emerge into creative work and life again and I really appreciate the framework this training gives me. The aim will be to make this a framework I then am able to use and share independently.

Intention: to check-in with myself as I begin Level 3, following Elizabeth’s score

Theme: Drawing, Dancing, Creative writing tracking Emotional, Physical and Mental state in the present

Location: Glassworks Studio, Folkestone

Time: 2-7pm (including the Personal Introduction and other Tamalpa Admin and some faffing) Thursday Feb 6th

Resources: Dance studio, portable speaker, awesome playlist, The focussing framework of Tamalpa Level 3, the virtual presence of Elizabeth and my co-students, strong grounding in Tamalpa life-art tools, Movement Ritual and other things I’ve learned from wonderful teachers and friends, Big chunky notebook, Manga Pens, Fountain Pen, Breath, Sound, Words, Energy, coming positively out the other side of a difficult time, Sunny day outside not too cold even as darkness fell (intimations of Spring), Body beginning to feel strong having paid a lot of attention to self -care lately : massages, morning ritual, dancing every day, visiting town witch etc

nb: Fortuitously I have been gifted free access to a dance studio a few times each week (the same one I facilitated my first Tamalpa level 2 workshop and a number of subsequent sharings. An awesome gift giving me the mental and physical space to really explore. V peaceful too and 5 mins from my home. I think I will continue to do my weekly homework here. It is also where I developed the Score for my fieldwork project “On a Clear day”  and another series I am currently creating “The Scar is the Score”. I used Tamalpa tools to create both. I have a smaller studio space of my own (which also felt like a massive gift: Never realised how generative a studio “all to yourself” was until reaching the grand age of 51.. always shared before and thought that fine!) but this large space has been incredibly supportive to the development of my work. Just thought I’d mention it in case any of you were as oblivious of the benefits of these resources as I was until so recently.

Glassworks Studio

Activities: I began by doing my own 30-40 minute movement ritual routine which incorporates much of Anna’s but also a collection of “favourites” from other teachers and friends. I try to do it at least 4-5 times and week. I also have a personal dance every day score I have begun a week ago.

I was intending to simply do the Suggested Score but as I proceeded I instead found a flow I felt was compatible with it’s essence:

I also have an intention fo filming my dances but felt today I wanted to be in the moment

5 min: Dance of my mental state ( I found myself imagining being a brain full of so much dust and dirt and shit and mess which became very vocal.. a lot of clearing and cleaning.. a frantic dance that gradually became gentler, lighter touches cleaning and gently caressing the folds and synapses and sinews and gradually being able to open my eyes and the gestures beacame bigger and more expansive and felt more external and sharing with the wider world, a blessing, a curiosity and a desire to move forwards

10 min: Drawing the Dance: See attached: I only had felt tip pens because I wasn’t sure I’d have time to do this work today.. in future will bring pastels

Check-in Image

5 mins: A Dance based on the emotions present in the drawing: There were some very difficult jagged edges and fury and tears in my drawing and the dance began with some more physical and sounded clearing. I was gratefu for the image of the figure with the broom and the giant cloud overwhelming the picture began to give way to the Sun behind

10 minutes: Creative writing: I think that all the work I’m doing today is about finding a creative solution to difficulty and from there finding some kind of beauty or glory

5 mins: Dance of how my body is feeling. At this point the playlist switched to “Triste Bahia” by Caetano Veloso which is my absolutely favourite thing to dance to at the moment so I just let rip.. I still feel a bit stiff and achy and perhaps tentaitive (I’ve been going through a bit of a time as I’ve mentioned) But getting there, getting there and definitely excited and grateful to be proceeding with the support of Level 3 and all of you

THANK YOU! XXX

 

Friday 7th February

Dance to dance with friends ‘cos we love to dance though the music is patchy and the atmosphere worse

My general feeling of ennui in Folkestone sent me running again gratefully to London. I won’t even name the venue or event I attended because though I’ve great experiences at the former I don’t want to taint either.. tbh I wasn’t relaly paying attention I just wanted to be with beloved friends I could hug and laugh and dance and share ideas with groooving between the intimate and the universal and had all of these in abundance. With some friends I can just dance to anything with, it’s an extension of our conversations (the music was at least a little interesting too though rather cold like the whole affair, bit of a cliche of London AHT CULCHAH, but irregular sounds we could play with etc)..

Saturday 8th February

Dance chat in New Cross park with a pal then DanceDanceDance to Samba AND DrumnBass in Brixton

Stayed with my lovely Pal Tania in New Cross, we went to our regular cafe round the corner for breakfast, shared some quite intense personal stuff and I was v happy she agreed to extend our conversation into the local park, for us each to share what we’d said with words in movement. She said that felt challenging, that she moved the way her body wanted to move and she didn’t know how that engaged her emotions and mind.. need to have further chats about this, not sure I’m properly depicting her words. Anyway we each danced 5 minutes for each other as the other witnessed then shared what we saw and reflected back.. So beautiful how in my imagination Tania’s dance/ my attention began absolutely as her own interior exploration to a symphony with the whole park, everyone and thing around unknowing dance partners, the world became dance. I was grateful to let my too many emotions at the moment out in a form other than words and to be witnessed doing so.

She then told me that she and a friend were planning a Full moon ritual that night around their current projects.. what they needed to ACKNOWLEDGE, HEAL, INTEGRATE and LET GO OF I thought this was a great idea and had a few hours to spare before the evening plans so sat in their lovely long wild garden under the now leafless Weeping Willow writing about all these things for myself. As I sat and wrote the Sun fell and the Full Moon (in Leo) rose (I also had man-made “moonlight” as some friendly men were working the neighbours garden and had a Bright round worklight. I might use some of the material to make these daily dances.

86848845_564156507506765_7357444050821054464_n Then I went off to Brixton meet my lovely friend Mark at the Hootenanny ‘cos my fab friend Gina (Who I danced Samba with in Hackney Carnival last 2 years) was playing with her DrumnBass Samba band and she was playing percussion with the headline act:

Screen Shot 2020-02-14 at 19.53.09Much Joyful dance was had by all.. Fantastic music and people through and through.. absolute Soul restoral, sense of home.. perfect way to dance myself through the Full moon in Leo and beginnings of Hurricane Ciara

Sunday 9th February

Dance in the morning to Classical music on the Radio

I woke up late and happy and slowly got up and packed for the trip back to Folkestone. Tania checked in to see if I’d be OK driving through the storm which I’d been totally unaware of till I stepped out into the Garden for my morning fag while the coffee brewed. I went back upstairs and continued packing radio 3 on the Radio blessed by the beloved now very windswept Garden and couldn’t help but dance to

86826064_858590321252240_3034445813972467712_nAnd drove (slower than usual) through semi-deserted storm swept motorways to Whitstable to collect Natasha from Aerial class to go get Sunday Roasts once we found an open one they were all closed due to Flood warnings, even ferries weren’t moving:

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.. Dr Meaker playing the whole way.. GOODTIMESXXX

Monday February 10th

A Tamalpa Check-in Dance in the Glassworks studio

I woke up still on a high Monday morning but then stepped out for a bagel and after the messy friendliness of London all weekend the mardy expressions and refusal to acknowledge strangers that characterises Folkestone for me was just too much of a comedown. I went to the Studio and danced through my Tamalpa homework but don’t remember much, just felt furious and blocked and sad and isolated as I too often do here ( i also now realise I was also coming down with a mega lurgy combined with PMT)

Tuesday February 11th and Wednesday February 12th

A Dance of Sweaty bedsheets (not the good kind!)

Misery turned into constricted chest and sore throat and total body exhaustion from some virus that sent me to bed for 2 days crawling out only to fix myself healthy drinks and even managed to make myself a chicken noodle soup at great effort

Tuesday February 13th

Dance all day in Glassworks Studio

SPIRIT Returning! Wondering if the Virus was actually a purge of all the ill feeling I’ve been harbouring/processing over this past month.. danced further through this and into more positive and practical places with long excellent stint in Studio

Wednesday February 14th

Dance to my Goddaughter’s fantastic selections

Remarkable response to my Facebook post this morning:

Happy Valentines to Meeee and all the other Gunky people: GUNK coined by SUSANNA HOWARD = Grown Up No Kids: undercelebrated for the amount of love, action and inspiration so many of us give out in so many ways ‘cos we got so darn much to spare. it’s fucking incredible how much we do so often self-generated with too often not an equal amount of ❤️coming back to us. ❤️ yourselves and the rest o you ❤️(and see!) your Gunky friends ❤️❤️❤️

Including from my amazing Goddaughter Camille who had earlier posted promoting her DJ page and Soundcloud.. Gunked to this all morning long CHECKIT!