Small Acts of Hope and Lament – A live shared solo work

I was recently invited to offer a performance intervention as part of
Turbulence / Emergence / Enchantment:A Compendium of Climate Literacies
at Cove Park. It was a potent, powerful and resonant thing and I thought to share my introductory notes as a flavour of the work

Introduction and Invitation
To a live sharing of
Small Acts of Hope and Lament

It exists in the encounters and connections
the explorations and discoveries
and is not a performance as such
but a witnessing,a recieving and a gifting.

What is between the land and the body
the properties of it and the properties of me
the invitations of the land and the weather and the sky, the body and the tree.
An outdoors on-going daily live practice
quiet and private and some of it shared

I have a need to move every day
and a love of moving
a need to onnect inwards and inside.
Moving is my language, my thinking, my feeling the way I connect with the world
and how I know that I am here, now.

I am offering that possibility
as a way of being in the world.
A love of the land, the weather, the sky.
The overhead and the underfoot
and all the space in-between.
A passion for the freedom to move in green civic spaces, our urban parks, and our wilder lands.
A way of tending and nurturing
places and spaces of connecting and belonging
places and spaces that belong to us all.

A private, quiet, personal connection
That is simple and there.
No fuss, no bother, no equipment,
neither commodified nor commercialised.
Just working with and being with what is
here and now in the land
and here now in the body.
Taking care, treading carefully
responding to the moment without censorship
or judgement of oneself.

What does it mean to move outdoors in nature in this way ?

To sink deeply into the natural non-human world to feel its grace and presence and power.
To tend and nurture
be tended to and nurtured
to care and respect.

This is not my land, it is a place that allows me
to visit & revisit
to have conversations with its nooks
and crannies and nuances.
It remembers me and I remember it.
Sensing into the land and into mother earth
a way for me to feel my strength
my gentleness and my tenderness.
A place where I can process and be how I feel.
A place to rage and roar and cry and delight.

We have these extraordinary bodies.
What does it mean to move In the full volume of our glorious bodies?
My life’s work has been to challenge
and question who is allowed to dance
and what dance can be.
Whose bodies and what bodies are valued and acceptable?

I believe we need to reclaim
our movement language
our innate, inherent knowledge
and sentient intelligence
our natural born right.
The poetry of the body.
The joy of moving.
To experience and to know that
removed from the commodification of the body and its movement
away from the body as part of the marketplace.
To de-stabilise and de-centralise
the grip of dance
as a set of steps to learn
and excerise as the only way to health & fitness that values certain bodies over others
and exists in a hierarchy of movement style
and attainment,
where we value and aspire to one over the other.
As if there is only one correct and right way.
There is so much more.

A reclaiming of the body and its moving
as a quality not a quantity of counts and steps and miles and measurements
as something to be conquered
driven to beat its own personal best.
And to come to know and love the body
as a feeling, sensing, messy, ageing, articulate, alive, spontaneous, responsive, sentient,
source of intelligence
and knowing
and being.

This isn’t about me
it is about what I discover as I journey outside.
It is slow time, deep time
a dialogue and a place where
and a way of
feeling welcomed and known,
never alone
always remembered.
A place of refuge that is so much bigger than me and full of awe and wonder

A deep, intimate, playful,
informative relationship and dialogue
with what is out there in the land.
Connecting deeply, experiencing deeply listening physically
feeling and discovering
a deep respect for nature.
A way of knowing through the senses.
As I get older
I feel and know the age of the land better
the land that will be here, I hope
long after I am.

So let us dress warmly.
Meet me out on the deck.
There is nothing arduos about what we are about to do
it is simply a chance to be with the night

We will follow the path
work with the lights that are there
you might not see me
merging in,not dominating or standing out.
Come quietly with me.
Walk and stop and watch
Breathe and be with.
Feel the ground under your feet
Feel the weather and the sky
Take lots of care
Take care of each other
This is your journey too

Through the gate

In-between the lights – the dark space

On the rocks – balancing and counterbalancing – standing tall – the strength of it and the strength of me – jumping and landing

On the path – tread carefully with no sound

Light 3 – the softness of the grass & the softness underfoot – flow movement & lying in the grass, breathing & heartbeat

Between the lights – the dancing path and/or feel the weather and/or a jump and a shoogle

Light 4 – a rest in the ferns – lying and rolling over

Light 5 – crouching with bird arms

Light 6 – the edge of the fence to counterbalance with – holding me up – and see the mushrooms

Light 7 – the swinging tree – can be climbed – branch on head the same height as me – connected to earth and to tree

Before the bridge – big shadow – cockeral hat – play

Bridge work – lie on the bridge on my back – look at the sky – touch my face on moss

Light 8 – the pushing tree – stronger than me

Through the gate – running back and forth – feel the rising quickness of breath

The two stones – footsteps to balnce on – shoes of rock

The kissing tree – tracing the edge of the roots with hands and with face – balancing on the edge – the branch of balance – gently squishing the moss and nestling in

The amazonian tree – climb high – climb strong – be held in its arms – barefeet

Images                    Emmie McLuskey

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