Saturday, November 8, 2014

Day 1: Shedding

Dance/move/make a 10 minute shedding dance

I start by sweeping the floor and clearing out the space in my studio apartment. Attempting some transformation of my every day living space into something else. Maybe this is misguided, but clearing the space seems like a necessary preamble to the shedding dance. I swept yesterday, but still the broom catches so much hair and dust and bits of things. All of this accumulated since yesterday, or I missed it yesterday. Either way, there seems to be a metaphor lurking in all this dust and debris. The bottoms of my feet feel gritty. I wash them and this also feels right, like shedding.

I'm not sure if this preparation for the dance or the dance. I'm inclined to think of this activity - sweeping, tidying, washing, as the dance. But there is a time specified in this task. A 10 minute shedding dance. In the spirit of documenting, I spend some time fiddling with a tripod and my cell phone, and finally settle on propping it up between a water glass and an apple on the kitchen table. I start the video and set the oven timer for 10 minutes and start into the dance proper.

Right away I hate having the camera on. It doesn't feel right for this. It brings up too much that is too hard to shed. All the ideas about what something looks like, how it will be perceived, what it means. I say to myself out loud that I am not going to pay attention to the camera. And then I start not paying attention to it. This is clearly going to be a struggle with the this project/process.

Shedding feels like cleansing at first. Almost like a ritual cleansing. I think that this is connected to the bucket showers I've been taking lately. A friend introduced me to the concept. She was recently in Haiti and that's how she bathed there, and then she kept doing it when she came home. "I love bathing now", she said. And I think it was her attitude that made me love it too.

I stroked my limbs, my neck, my face. As the attention of my critical mind passed over what I was doing, I thought, maybe this is cheesy. But it felt kind of right. I did some shaking. Some wandering around. I swept my body across the floor. Sometimes searching for something. Is this the right thing? Is this the answer? Usually doing that really. It was hard to settle. That damn video camera. I kept finding myself wanting to perform aesthetically pleasing dance, and then fighting that because it didn't feel right.

Of course I took off my clothes. I mean, shedding, come on. That felt good. The camera spontaneously turned off at 5:38, so the naked dancing was truly just for me.

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