Monday, May 19, 2008

Yesterday's Performance

Change is in the air.
Yesterday's performance was the last of the Spring cycle and the twelfth of the year. Even though the performance practice remains the same we all feel the change that comes with the seasonal change, with the warmer temperatures, with the denser foliage. The sound of the park has changed as well. While still relatively quiet the silence was punctured by the
playful scampering and barking of dogsand their master's calls.

Yesterday was fairy day. The fairy performances in the series are distinguished from the other
performance structures in that the performers are spread out over a large area. Most of us can catch glimpses of only one or two other
performers, but no one can see
everyone else. In essence then,
the fairy dances are five solo dances performed simultaneously with Toshi's music and performance uniting all.

In the fairy dances the performer's isolation and distance from each other accentuates the dancer's subjective experience in performing the branch dances. As we reconnect after the performance each artist has a different story to tell, yet as always, certain themes run through all the stories. Yesterday we all spoke of the change in the air; and we all spoke of the dogs.

Toshi, Noemi, and I were by the pond:
Noemí was in the Southeast, right at the edge of the path by the pond, Eleggua's messenger greeting audiences and animals at the crossroads.

I chose to perform on the Northwest side of the pond balancing on a downed tree.

Toshi was midway between Noemí and me, as always making music with tree trunks, branches, and rocks. Later he moved down the path, a pied-piper with bells.

Juamatu chose to work along the South side on the side of the hill high among the trees.

Olive was on the other side of the path , also high, but balancing on a log that hangs along the edge of the path.

Shavon performed high on the bridge, connecting earth and sky.

Photos: Pepón Osorio

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Today's performance is on!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Sunday 5/18 in fairy day!

Its time for fairies again! The next performance of the One-Year Wissahickon Park Project is coming up this Sunday May 18. Look for the “fairies”--- performers Toshi Makihara, Shavon Norris, Jumatatu Poe, and Olive Prince, and me--- along the path from Mt. Airy Ave to Forbidden Drive.

Enter the park on Mt Airy Ave , just west of Wissahickon Ave., (parking along the street.) As always the performance is at 10:30 AM and will run for 45 minutes. It will take place rain or shine. Cancellations only in extreme weather. Check the project blog for last minute updates. FREE!

These are photos (by Pepón Osorio) from previous fairy days.

Monday, May 5, 2008


The weather cooperated with us yesterday. After a week of gray weather I was hoping for it to break. As if on cue, a few minutes before beginning the performance, the sky cleared allowing sunlight and warmth.

There were two giant thorny branches waiting for us when we arrived at the site. Where did they come from? They were not from any nearby trees, someone must have dragged them there from the woods, maybe they intended to cut them up for firewood. Jumatatu and I were the first to arrive to the site. We claimed the branches.

It was exciting to work with these giant branches. I wanted a new challenge. What dance would emege from working with this branch? For me working with the added length and weight anchored me, slowed me down. The dance that emerged was simple, slow, and dramatic.

The sun in my eyes sent the vision inward. The thorns on the bark made it difficult to grip the branch, I would have to hold it lightly. The weight made this a challenge-- don't grip the fingers or the shoulders; find a way to counterbalance the weight; balance the effort throughout the body.... BALANCE.

Mine was a dance of a lot of outward stillness and dramatic breathing. Not so for Juma who worked with with two branches, like a nomad carrying his home on his back.

I was struck with how often when I would look out from inner awareness I would notice a common theme moving through the group.

Shavon worked with a long forked branch. Here we see the delicate fullness of the gesture in this balance on two points.

Olive worked with three branches-- aligning, framing, designing, harmonizing.

Working by the trees and with multiple branches added layers of triangulation.

Noemí and Toshi were farther away.
Toshi's music was a wonderful connector bringing the group together but also coonecting to the sounds of the birds and even the metal baseball bat cracking every so often, as if in response to Toshi's playing.

Branch Yoga

Photos: Pepón Osorio


Saturday, May 3, 2008

Tomorrow's Performance-- Bluebell Meadow

Unless the weather changes drastically tomorrow's performance will surely take place. It looks like it will be mostly dry tomorrow, although a bit chilly. Hopefully the windy will keep the clouds moving and we will see the sun.

The performance as always will be at 10:30 AM and will last 45 minutes. The entrance to the park is on Walnut between Henry and Wissahickon Avenues. From Center City take Lincoln Drive to Rittenhouse, take a right. Left at next traffic light-- Wissahickon Ave. Cross Lincoln Drive, next traffic light turn left-- Walnut Lane. Go around the traffic circle so that you are heading back towards Wissahickon Ave. Entrance to the park will be immediately on the right.

This is the one site that you can drive up to. Its a dog run so if you have one, this will be a once in a lifetime opportunity to share art with your dog!

Hope to see you there!