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The Yoga Festival Toronto 2010, August 20-22, is fast approaching!  I am part of the faculty and have written an article on birth and yoga for their August newsletter.

It’s preceded by Brandy Leary’s on the yoga of dance.  I met Brandy many years ago when she performed in the very intimate space of Joanna De Souza‘s Kathak dance studio.  My daughter and I studied with Joanna for many years.  It is in the tapas, the fire, of my time with her that the full force of yoga began to move in me.   I began dance training at the age of five, taking ballet classes up to three days a week until the age of twelve.  So dance is in my muscles and bones, in the fibre of what I am.

To have my writing matched with Brandy’s is a perfect link then, because the process of becoming a dancer, becoming the dance, is the same process of creation and self creation that women go through when they give birth.  We do the impossible.

Please join us at the Festival in a few weeks!  It is a non-commercial event put together with great love and intelligence and provides a real container for exploring yoga on all its levels.  This year, almost all the teachers are based in Toronto and the strength of community this engenders is very beautiful and needed.  And synchronously, the architectural beauty of the National Ballet School enfolds it all!

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Body Cartography
Alicia Grant and Cara Spooner

Feb. 25 & 27, 8pm

What happens if you slow-dance with a skyscraper?

Tickets on sale now! A performance mixing disparate details of balancing on rooftops, walking home alone at night, raiding secret swimming pools and feeling too close to strangers employing installation, dance and question and answer periods.

Created in collaboration with visual artists Simon Rabyniuk and urban theorist Alex Marques, Body Cartography emphasizes and distorts the idea of a city within a city within a city within a city. Experience the places you think you know in a new way.

Link to Harbourfront info.

may26xpace

                                                                                                                                                                                             We make sense of our experience by telling stories about it. The performance piece I attended last night played with our  impulse to attach narrative to everything. It did this with lightness, intelligence and  humour.

My daughter and I had dutifully brought our headphones and plugged them into one of the four monitors placed in the corners of the performance area. Each monitor played a different spoken narrative that played as two dancers moved. At the end of the story, the audience shifted places and moved to the next monitor for a new narrative and a repetition of the same movement. How we weave meaning into the overlapping of words and action became a very conscious experience, often funny, sometimes very moving.

I spoke with one of the writers, Caylie Staples, after the show. She said each writer watched the choreography once and then wrote while it was repeated. So often, dancers choreograph to text; reversing the process created a new relationship between the two which I found interesting. It gave the choreography an autonomy and a sense of spaciousness that felt very free. 

Leaving the gallery, we walked into the night along Queen Street. I thought of the stories that have become embedded in me, weary soundtracks to fresh experience. And I thought of how some of these anthems are lifting off of me, leaving space between them and pure experience. This is one of the effects of Yoga practice. I witness the same thing in the birthing women I accompany. We have so many tales embedded in the pain we feel. During labour, our songs have the opportunity to rise up from our anatomy and leave us free to be in what is brand new and full of life.

The show, called Draft Four, was conceived and choreographed by Alicia Grant and Cara Spooner. It runs two more nights, this evening and tomorow at 8:00pm. Admission is free. Bring your headphones!

XPACE Cultural Centre
58 Ossington Ave M6J 2Y7
www.xpace.info | 416.849.2864
Tues – Sat 12 – 6PM

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