Measuring Metaphor // Maps, Scores, Games // Fluctuations of the Body


  • The Yoga and Movement Sanctuary 2623 West Girard Avenue Philadelphia, PA, 19130 United States

This is an intensive for Yogis working to recall, refine, or reinvent a thoughtful, and sweaty dance practice. We will refine our relationship to the physical and compositional tools of texture, direction, speed, volume, velocity. We will play with the sunny clarity of numbers, maps, and geometry. We will investigate the looney work of metaphor as a somatic tool, refining our physical listening and speaking skills. We will test out the tricks of embodied performance, to understand the reading of our bodies in the world. All curious and hungry bodies and genders and races and ages encouraged.

I draw from fifteen years of working with both dancers and ‘non-dancers’, as well as my own nuerodivergent-ish learning body, biting practice and philosophies from Flying Low, Judson Church Traditions, Contemporary Ballet, Black Vernacular Dance Forms, and other REALLY GREAT stuff that’s copywritten so I’ll just have to show you in person.

 

Is it Dance? (yes.) Is it Yoga? (yes.) Is it Yoga Dance or Dance Yoga? (no.)

Athletically, Dance is not so far from Yoga. Mystically, Yoga and Dance are quite different. If Yoga is the cessation of fluctuations of the mind, maybe dancing is the investigation of fluctuations of the body. Put simply, dance is the composition of body in space and time, in relation to gravity. Rhythm, both spatial and aural, is the division of space and time. Gravity ties space and time to our human experience, makes it a ride, carves a groove. Yoga is a performance, but it is not Performance. Nevine says “If you don’t want to be seen, hide.” If you want to play with the ways you are seen, play with the ways you see. If you want to play with the way you sense and feel  in your body, play with the way you sense and feel others’ bodies.

 

Many of my favorite Yoga teachers “have danced” at some point. How many yogis do you know who “used to dance?” or still do? For many Americans, dance is part of a past life. Dance was once their vehicle for creation, play, composition, exertion, and performance. That vehicle eventually broke down. The passengers got out, kept walking, found other ways of getting around. Found yoga. Often, the car was left abandoned on the side of the road. Unlike Asana practice, the car was not designed to age well, to adapt to changing weather and terrain. Maybe the car worked only in the binary road maps of Western stories. As Asana practice becomes more and more culturally normalized, more intimately linked with capitalist consumption, my work between Yoga and Dance, is to deepen the non-binary stories our bodies are built from and for. My work as a dance teacher and choreographer is teaching methods and skills into building individual vehicles of dancing, based on personal, rather than external, archetypes of dance as a container for creativity, composition, exertion, and performance. Nevine talks a lot about maps. I find this wildly useful. Maps are the cousin to scores, the sibling of games. I assist in engineering a greater plurality of vehicles to carry our non-binary bodies into the future, in a universe that continues to prove beyond our wildest imagination.

 

I trust the (harder to find) dances that tell the rounded, non-dualistic stories of life in a body. Witnessing and participating in dance can challenge and confuse us because of our cultural habits of binary perception and thinking. And also, for this same reason, it can move through us in previously untravelled pathways of delight and understanding.

 

Yoga Asana is full of full of geometry and measures. It’s also rich with stories: narratives of heros and villians, beauty and destruction, often organized in ways that defy the dualism of canonical Western ideas of story and character. The body is a play between dualities, but not a duality itself. Therefore, stories that take place in and of the body, if they are paying attention, do not fit a this/that narrative, the binaries of good/bad, light/dark, me/them. This is inescapable for me in the biology of my female body. The shadow of the moon moving around my guts. The source of deep pain also the source of greatest creation.

 

Most of us experience most dances as sexy/impressive, or boring. We feel like we ‘get it’ or we don’t. This is because, yes, many dance are made in order to be sexy/impressive and either achieve that or don’t. AND, we have been trained to see movement in this way, trained to sense/feel this way, in binary. And the only other place where most non-dancing people experience complicated physical empathy is sex, so that shows up too in how we perceive. (I wonder if we were trained to watch dance more as a game, as a sport, a game improvised around a structure, we might see more deeply. )

 

We are capable of verbal and textual language, of creating word containers for ideas that can be spoken, heard, written and read. Language works within our mutual understanding. This mutuality is colored by the echoes and trails of previous iterations of a word. As yogis, we share a physical language of yoga asana. Our work is in the transmission of information -- physical and mystical -- of the archetypes of asanas. As teachers, we enter into play with the additional physical languages of touch, of composition, of performance, and of social position. Assuming, as Eastern medicine does, that while we are all comprised from the same set of elements, each human instance requires different proportions and balances for well-being. As such, neither do we all learn the same, we do not all absorb and integrate ideas best under a single universal formula.

Did you stop dancing? As a toddler? At middle school dances? After years of ballet? When you joined the team? Were you gendered out of it? Were you ‘not good enough’? Are you embarrassed?...What have you lost? What do you lose by not dancing? What can you gain by dancing?

Early Bird Price: $300 until 4/1

Full Price: $350