when joanna lesnierowska asked me to help gather family and friends around a big table for a feast, a celebration of 15 years of dance at stary browar nowy taniec
i said yes without a blink with an eye.
she said it should be like a great reunion of artists, teacher and students that spend time in poznan, leaving their traces in the community.
wasn’t there a group of dancers in new york in the 1970s that was called „grand union“? they „just“ came together to perform dance-improvisation, and wasn’t one of them, yvonne rainer, an influential guest here in poznan in 2007?
isn’t the nature of a family celebration always multigenerational, and all guests are welcome?
can we just call it „the grand re-union“?
yes and yes and yes.
there is not a lot written about the „grand union“, but important traces of that legacy are extremely present in my artistic work as dancer and choreographer, as instigator of group performances of dance-improvisation and in my teaching. contact improvisation, contemplative dance practice and anatomical release-work are major motors of my work and are directly traceable to that collective.
so yes, lets gather in poznan in june 2020 and celebrate by sharing, caring, moving-with and listening-to each other, creating a pause, a slow down, in a world threatened by the speed of growing social inequalities through the unfair distribution of wealth in our local communities and globally, leading too often to nationalism and authoritarian leadership.
then, suddenly, the whole world paused. revealing a lot of truths about our nature and the systems that we created, the way governments handle this, the way our local communities handle this, who is family?
my role in that team of curators is the constant reminder of the practice of the body, the grounding and the lightness, the attention to the perception, the moving, the breathing.
as you read this, where are you? you most probably sit somewhere.
how are you sitting? do you feel your sit bones resting?
and your spine?
are you leaning on something? are you balancing the disks of the vertebrae, one resting on top of the other with an elastic disc in between?
how about your feet?
and your head?
what do you hear around you?
is there a radio playing somewhere, children playing in the yard? traffic? birds?
what do you see when you lift your head from the reading? trees? sky? wall? another person?
and what do you see when you „turn your fucking head“, when you change your point of view? what is beside you? who is with you? what is behind you?
what do you smell? take a moment to smell. or is there a memory of smell? this morning opening the door to our small balcony the smell of the flowering trees was overwhelming, and as i sit here writing this it is still in the air.
and what about taste? an aftertaste of your last meal or drink? your salty lips? your saliva?
and breath. are you breathing? of course you are, but how?
where is the air coming in? your nose? your slightly open lips?
cool air on the way in, warm air on the way out.
where does it go to? what cavities inside your body does it fill?
can you pay attention and be the witness of your moving-breathing?
these last weeks were full of loss.
my personal loss of great teachers, colleagues, friends: nancy stark smith and mary overlie. it slowed me down even more, to the point that „standing in space“ (the title of mary overlies book) and balancing on the globe, to do the small dance, was the only thing i needed and wanted to do, and it was enough.
and the murder of george floyd that sparked widespread protest filling the empty streets and plazas of many cities, for the fight for more equality and unity.
i pause in grief
not knowing where i, where we, will go from here.
the grand re-union is the great un-known.
full of care