August 16, 2011

Gold. Fire. Women's Sexuality... Thoughts?

By Chitra Vairavan

You know how when you enter that space of vulnerability, something hits you, melts you, makes you weak…that’s how I felt coming out of rehearsals and in life recently. Parallels in my life outside the studio and discussions and knowledge shared in the rehearsal space spurred these words and my own way of seeking clarity.

Bought, sold, traded, devalued, objectified, valued, stolen, appreciated, curing, “pure,” mythical, cultural, part of nature, and most of all it stretches infinitely under heat…under fire.

Bendy, fluid, spiritual, feared, destructive, beautiful, healing, and most of all allows for new growth.

…In relationship to women’s sexuality:
Do they pass through each other in relationship? Do they reflect each other? Do they inform each other? Are there similar experiences between the two? Are there different experiences? Are they one in the same, in a system of interactions where everything feeds off of each other, breaking the subject/object duality often used in the Western lens?

Are we controlled by gold or is gold controlling us? Are we gold? What does gold mean to you?
I don’t have the answers, but the abstract concepts and connections being made are inspiring to find friction in and work through. Appreciate the time spent. I believe there is true intimacy between women and gold, where objectivity doesn’t play a prominent role because the connections between both go far beyond that, considering our similar histories.

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
who become
the flames.

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.