amateur gypsy (wystel) wrote,
amateur gypsy
wystel

playgrounds

so i have been moping. sometimes this takes the form of blubbering unattractively in darkened rooms. sometimes this takes the form of eating a lot of muesli/chocolate chips/kale/salted whatever was there. sometimes i am able to do both at once, which takes coordination, especially after all the dishes have been used. this is not productive, and it is the worst feeling in the world not to be productive. i'm not being melodramatic; it really is.

so i made a dance for myself because no one wants to work with me. it was nothing at all. i used it to practice qualities of movement that i learned in taiwan and integrate them with ways of moving that are more idiosyncratic and gestural. it became a more interesting dance with every set of eyes that watched it. i had to perform it before i quite knew what it was. it was not a great performance -- my first in over a year -- i was shaky and it was not going well and the space was FAR too small -- and -- people liked it anyway. they responded imaginatively. they wanted to know what it "meant." they told me what they thought it meant -- and it touched me tremendously that it actually had MEANT something to them. maybe that is growth.

anyway, the dance became an entirely different thing when my friend deirdre showed me several possible items for costumes -- i immediately fell in love with (i hate it when people say that. well, i became obsessed with. addicted to.) a voluminous white skirt -- mainly because it reminded me of the tutus in serenade -- also because all girls love to twirl in a big skirt -- that and the plain white -- it changed everything. it provided a focus and a screen and oh it was so beautiful on its own that i didn't need to do much more than stand in it to feel ethereal and dancerly. i had to have it. i felt sure deirdre would give it to me because we are not really the same size, and it fit ME exactly. but of course she must love it for the same reasons that i do, so now i am engaged in the new and difficult experience of making a copy of it.

this involves #1 hunting on ebay to see if huge white parachutey skirts are available for purchase. then despairingly noticing that each panel of the skirt is larger than an unfolded sheet of newspaper. then lying on one's back for several hours. then trying to cut a panel out of an old blind without drawing a line first or thinking very hard at all. then trying to trace a line with a pen on the remaining side of the blind. then getting smart and getting out a ruler and making a makeshift compass out of a thin strip of blind (duh!! use a string next time like all the smart people do!) and tracing careful dots around. this last part with a blind takes two hours, at least.

going to the fabric store: sweating through slush on roosevelt road, pausing to look at the train tracks several times. at the counter of the store is not a grandmotherly old lady but instead two biker-looking dudes, one tattooed and pierced heavily. the sign says CHECK IN YOUR BAG. i walk over, squeak out, "hi. i'm looking for some white cotton." they don't take my bag, just point me to the table that has seersucker and gauze and shirting and novelty cotton and i swear these are all real things. i immediately find 100% white cotton for $5.99 a yard. and next to it, cotton + polyester for $2.99. but... POLYESTER. a woman behind the counter suggests pima cotton shirting (wha??). she asks me if this is for PRAISE DANCING. i say no and start to explain the piece -- but in retrospect -- yes, yes it is. all dancing is praise dancing. i start pulling things down and pacing around and finally have a long heart-to-heart with gay tattooed biker who sews -- of course he does! we choose the polyester blend (in retrospect the WRONG CHOICE). he cuts it for me and explains that my plan to make a waistband out of a rectangular piece of fabric is misguided and the mistake of someone who doesn't understand how bodies are shaped (in a friendly way). i say i'll ask a sewing friend to help me, secretly hoping he will be my gay biker sewing friend.

then i rush, sweating through slush again, to meet a new friend for coffee -- a new and wonderful painter friend who has recently Found Love. she is amazing. and she suggests that i model for her advanced drawing class, since all her models are dancers. i will be replacing a Pirate! no, really, a professional pirate!! (i hope i measure up) it will be clothed but emotional. (our talk was weirdly emotional because i explained that i was going through transitions, some of which have lasted as long as 9 years. then i felt destroyed and inadequate and unlovable etc because of my pathetic self-narratives)

then i finally, finally went to dance. i could have gone earlier but was very busy with advanced moping (can even be done while scanning books to pdf!). burst into tears in front of the teacher, who is a dancer/choreographer that i respect so much. left room to blow nose and try to calm down, which never works. then we danced. i finally understood things i had never understood before, like why modern classes start on the floor (1. to understand bodily relations without the normative directionality of gravity. 2. to understand resistance throughout the body). and what it really means to ANCHOR with the supporting leg and to pull the body through space. and how entering and exiting the floor can be super fun. and we did a bunch of silly things, like funny off-kilter cartwheels (i laughed when he showed them -- because he has such an ease and obvious pleasure in things). he said it was about rediscovering a kind of playground joy -- but -- you know, i have never had playground joy. i did my share of cartwheels, yes, but all the time i had been aiming for a Platonic ideal of a cartwheel -- and there's definitely joy in that, but i never let myself just goof around doing glad animal movements and such -- and finally i felt open to really play and not feel bad that i have done horribly at last few auditions and that no one wants to work with me and that all the people in chicago are cool and i am emphatically not. i don't want to be cool -- real love is not cool -- and clarity is knowing that what you love will always matter more than what loves you.
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