July 19, 2011
Reflections on the May 14 Rehearsal of Tushaanal: Fires of Dry Grass
Contribution by Lori Young-Williams
My first time sitting through a rehearsal of Tushaanal: Fires of Dry Grass. They are currently working on the part where the women who have lived close to the gold mines, lost family, friends, lives friends decide to torch the place. Gold becomes flames. The gold of jewelry, flecks, and rocks of gold become golden embers, destroying what gold has made of their community, their lives.
Watching and getting the message through
swing swing swing hold
Moving arms from shoulders down through
to the feet Stomp
Dip, moving arm through the wind
Dip, swipe floor with leg
“Come out like a burst!” Ananya says…
“There’s a left and a right…”
And come they do.
With hands bending at the waist
turn and roll to the side
Clap! Fire Burn
Lips of fire, women fan the flames
Pour gasoline, kerosene, anything
to ignite, the women
You can see this through the movement and placement of their hands, through the twisting and bending of the dancers bodies. The rise and fall as if wind is blowing, spreading the fire through the camp, the community, the mine. The fits and starts of fire is made into dance movement and gives life to something else…
Burn it all and rebuild. When fire burns the soil is fertile and gives life. The women who have lived through Gold, around the mines in the cities close to the mines are trying to find something new.
While at the rehearsal, Laurie Carlos popped in to go over the language of the performance. And I took away a line – The Promise of Glitter. The promise that gold will make one beautiful, rich, wanted. And yet the promise doesn’t. It doesn’t make you whole. The promise of glitter is cheap. It’s hard to get and easy to lose. Always, expecting it to fill something. And it doesn’t. The Promise of Glitter leads to the Birth of Flames.
Hunger…that’s the promise of gold.