January 10, 2012

"Find Me"

By Chitra Vairavan

Where do I go when I dance?

There’s nowhere to go but rather pass through your moments into my tomorrow. The news will only reach you late. And timing is everything in your today.

Digging for something that will never be found but still exists in my safe space. That is where my body breathes in tomorrow. Come find me there.

Intentional eyes see beats vibrating from feet, no stomping. Foot-working the love it has for earth, stepping in its own sweat. Not yours. Understand what is left to be understood.

My hands will only reach beyond your sight. Needing more than wants will offer. What’s to become of me in your moments? Whispers in the wind.

Days pass yet when my tomorrow comes it will last beyond dreams. Walk with me for a  while. Tomorrow catches what today lets slip through its fingers.

Movement is my lifetime, not moment, in tomorrow. What you see is how I seem to be. Turn away and look again.

Where do you go when I dance?

 

 

Chitra Vairavan trained in Bharata Natyam with Hema Rajagopalan. In 2004 she began her journey in contemporary Indian movement through Ananya Dance Theatre (ADT). Chitra has since become a principal dancer in the company and received the 2008 Sage Cowles People’s Choice Award and been named Artist to Watch by Minnesota Monthly in 2011.

September 27, 2011

The Story That Wrinkles Tell

 Nimo Farah was invited to share her words and images in the lobby during our run of Tushaanal Fires of Dry Grass. We were honored by her talents and our audience were moved by her. We wanted to share, once again, the work of Nimo Farah

My gray hair makes men listen.
And when people stare, I wonder
if they are reading the stories of my wrinkles.
While every step tells us heaven is at the feet
of the mother
the distance between the feet and the lips
becomes the longest to travel.
My feet traveled here
to a empty hut hemmed in by parched acacia
with skinny white goats and red sand.
In this hut, I once told my daughter
things would be easier for her if she didn’t step out of line.
I sat in this hut, hiding from the rumor that was real
when my husband married another wife.
She is the age of our daughter.
Our daughter’s daughter looks over the fence
and sees little boys playing.  She wants to be a child
and play also.
That is the story of my wrinkles.

 

Nimo Farah loves orators and different forms of storytelling and sees the material for a compelling story all around us. Being exposed to Ananya Dance Theater’s powerful storytelling through movement has inspired her to write about the struggles of humanity, particularly those of women. Feeling that our collective and most basic human values have been adopted without the counsel of women of color and that the abuse and imbalance of power has left a legacy of great hardship. With their natural resources thrown into the fiery pit of consumption and greed only to be branded into gleaming instruments of oppression and violence. She is moved by these women’s fortitude and shares some photography and poetic narrative that is inspired by Tushaanal: Fires of Dry Grass.

September 22, 2011

Marriage: It Isn’t Really A Choice

 Nimo Farah was invited to share her words and images in the lobby during our run of Tushaanal Fires of Dry Grass. We were honored by her talents and our audience were moved by her. We wanted to share, once again, the work of Nimo Farah

I go to bed with ideas lately
after hearing women speak through the radio.
The women on the radio are free.
I wonder if they know about me, a girl
who lost her smile at fifteen
when I was married to a man older than my father.
I was a child decorated with henna and borrowed gold.
I don’t remember smiling.

 

Time moves slowly
as I sit under the sun.
When I sell mangos in the market, I think of going away.
Now I have gold of my own, small pieces I bargain for
from the other market women
and bury under our hut.
I listen to the radio to learn how to speak
like a city woman.
I save newspaper pictures of dresses I want to buy
when I go there.
I will keep my head covered.

 

Nimo Farah loves orators and different forms of storytelling and sees the material for a compelling story all around us. Being exposed to Ananya Dance Theater’s powerful storytelling through movement has inspired her to write about the struggles of humanity, particularly those of women. Feeling that our collective and most basic human values have been adopted without the counsel of women of color and that the abuse and imbalance of power has left a legacy of great hardship. With their natural resources thrown into the fiery pit of consumption and greed only to be branded into gleaming instruments of oppression and violence. She is moved by these women’s fortitude and shares some photography and poetic narrative that is inspired by Tushaanal: Fires of Dry Grass.

September 20, 2011

Fire From Dry Grass

Nimo Farah was invited to share her words and images in the lobby during our run of Tushaanal Fires of Dry Grass. We were honored by her talents and our audience were moved by her. We wanted to share, once again, the work of Nimo Farah

 

Should I blame the mothers,
or the villagers who did not sing?
Who did not light a bonfire from dry grass
or roast meat in my name?
They only sing songs when boys are born
and like a straight arrow to an enemy’s chest
boys bring freedom.
To the people of my village a boy completes a half empty home
but a girl is pain, born from a man’s crooked rib.
So I was welcomed with silence.

 

Nimo Farah loves orators and different forms of storytelling and sees the material for a compelling story all around us. Being exposed to Ananya Dance Theater’s powerful storytelling through movement has inspired her to write about the struggles of humanity, particularly those of women. Feeling that our collective and most basic human values have been adopted without the counsel of women of color and that the abuse and imbalance of power has left a legacy of great hardship. With their natural resources thrown into the fiery pit of consumption and greed only to be branded into gleaming instruments of oppression and violence. She is moved by these women’s fortitude and shares some photography and poetic narrative that is inspired by Tushaanal: Fires of Dry Grass.

September 15, 2011

Women Who Fly

Nimo Farah was invited to share her words and images in the lobby during our run of Tushaanal Fires of Dry Grass. We were honored by her talents and our audience were moved by her. We wanted to share, once again, the work of Nimo Farah

 

My mother wants more for me
than she’s ever had.
She was pressured to say “yes‟;
to use her hips that were not yet developed
before her lips were formed enough to say “no‟.

My mother sends me to a school
she cannot afford.
My hand is raised, my arm stretched.
I want to say “Call on me.
I want to tell you about the courage of my mother.”

My mother has flat feet, forcing her heels
that know no shoes to walk to her parents home
in the village where she was born.
To find them before death finds them,
and say, “I forgive you.”
Her pain gives her wisdom
and her wisdom gives us both wings.

 

 

Nimo Farah loves orators and different forms of storytelling and sees the material for a compelling story all around us. Being exposed to Ananya Dance Theater’s powerful storytelling through movement has inspired her to write about the struggles of humanity, particularly those of women. Feeling that our collective and most basic human values have been adopted without the counsel of women of color and that the abuse and imbalance of power has left a legacy of great hardship. With their natural resources thrown into the fiery pit of consumption and greed only to be branded into gleaming instruments of oppression and violence. She is moved by these women’s fortitude and shares some photography and poetic narrative that is inspired by Tushaanal: Fires of Dry Grass.

August 30, 2011

Conflict Minerals

By Negest L Woldeamanuale

How many times?

How many times before?

How many times before a child can walk 12 miles to school without hearing bullets busting rusted roofs?

How many times before a father could farm without seeing limbs on the brown soil that would feed his children, mother and sisters?

How many times before a kid turns a soldier in the name of the precious metal…future lost in struggle

How many times before a mother loses her daughter?

How many times before her dignity is torn?

How many times before a girl is raped in the name of your engagement ring?

How many times before the blood stops drowning the minds of the youth?

How many times before we brain wash our kids with glitters bearing the scars of their peers?

How many times before we realize beyond land and borders across the sea and sky sits a mother waiting for her child to return, a child that is mining out our pride?

How many times before villages are destroyed, schools ruined, and raiders honored?

How many times before conflicts are initiated by bracelets, earrings and chains?

How many times before death marks empowerment, pain grants pleasure and happiness bear muted sobs?

How many times before the bling bling fuels the bang bang?

How many times before genocide cuts and shines graves for our distant relatives?

How many times before life is indirectly affected, without knowing is robbed?

How many times before dreams are shot in the name of venom gifts wrapped with delusional vow?

How many times before we expose ourselves to reality instead of exposing innocents to cruelty?

How many times before…we stop deceiving ourselves?

How many times before we end following standards without knowing the reason, valuing nonsense to impress the system?

How many times before we avoid financing horror, conflicts, and terrorized metals?

How many times before we start mending the wound?

How many times before we stop ignoring the facts?

How many times before we see,

How many times before we change,

How many times more before?

 

August 27, 2011

Scars of Filigree

By Lela Pierce

embodied
memories
reaching behind the past to the
present emotion
of nothing.
washed and swept out
while
leaking puss of tears,
oozing mind juice out tiny orifice pores,
and
falling
falling, falling
in and out of
 
here
 
in and out of
reality
security
consciousness
knowledge
bliss
 
the ultimate embarrassment
 
is
 
ecstasy
 
is
 
the unknown
 
is
 
NOW
 
 
How do you know?
 
anything.
 
what is?
 
nothing.
 
 
i knowness:
 
a spiral
path within paths and circles within circles that can never be completed or followed at once.
 
 
How do you know when you’ve really let things go?
 
and
 
where exactly does IT go to?
 
and
 
what does it become?
 
These things creep into the crevices of our embodiment –
oscillate from past to present, mind to body to breath-
vapor to sky
 
…to nothing?
 
 
 
emotional traces
haunt
 
blown away
magnetic dust.
 
bloodless,
painless(?)
scars of filigree
 
habitual phantom quivers from an age-ed truth.
 
A foreign language of a distant self
trompsing through the forbidden forest of fears
 
mirrored traps
encapsulating movements
to an endless ripple of ecstasy

*…So i think this stuff came out after Laurie Carlos’s very intense emotional workshops last month as part of the recent work with ADT and the upcoming show Tushaanal….i let it sit for a while but thought maybe i should just risk sharing it in all its meritocracy now for some reason…just to recap what she did in the workshop: basically we sat in a circle and she started by acting (expressing) an emotion to us all very intensely… then she raised her left hand as a signal that she was finished. Then whoever felt drawn to go next interpreted/embodied that same emotion wherever they were at with it and then again raised their left hand as a signal of being done with it (no one was to interact with whoever’s turn it was)…it was very intense and it felt like everything kind of oscillated in and out of actually feeling the emotion vs. forcing it and pretending… im sure it was different for everyone but this is just some of the stuff that came up for me at the time…

 

August 25, 2011

Vow for the Price They Promised

By Laurie Carlos

Some of us have lives as women
Myths around dreams
Crystal clusters
An exchange for the life of a person
Crystal habits
Hardness /gravity /fracture
Color luster
Transparency of intent
Exchange
A woman
A child
Include streaks /jagged/ isometric
Life of both sisters
an exchange/ a specimen /
stunning
mouth full
opens
crushed
massive nuggets
settled turning up
Opaque
melted
Dance as these woman will
Rolled around in the various levels
of dust left behind by
the diggers
These are the women
who
shake loose all the dread
when
justification for preserving will bring a higher price
this is for the chance
stage
these stories
laced
with
gossip
trumped up with bribes
price it in its natural state
ignored
more
Bangles…….
GOLD
Something to believe
With a justice of quantity and a relevance of glow
Want …Want Want…
More piles to store and take
More
More
All the waste can only expand it
There is the beautiful reflection
The beautiful
Replacement of fear
Glitter
Glitter a whisper
DOWN THE NECK AND WE ARE ALL OF US
LACED l
Lightly
Flicker
Did you say they all were sold?
You will never find them again for such a good price
This is the third time they have turned a wife into better coinage
Could get more for a better one every time
Their value dropped
Flecks of color at the bottom of her shroud
Shiny foils roil in acid
Such beauty at first
Such shine out of the dark
To master the a house
To mine
The promise of
glitter
To wrench
the life in stone
for trade
for want
for acid
There is measure for labor
These are the profits for digging into the earth’s veins
We touch each thing hungry and wanting
Delight curls uneven until the measure is declared
Please sing some new song every time
We are smiling for the price promised
We are smiling in every direction
I8 carats
22
We hold back
Pay the price you promised
Trade
Barter away freedom for power
Vow for the price they promised

August 2, 2011

Illuminations from Soraya M.

By Renee Copeland

I watched the film “The Stoning of Soraya M.” as research for last year’s production, Kshoy! Now, in this new project, Tushaanal, Soraya’s story persists in my mind, and I realize this is not a “new” project. Nothing is new when it comes to stories of violence and greed, told repeatedly with ragged breath by history.

continued →