Sunday, January 27, 2008

Movement as Story

"Movement is as necessary to mental and physical development as food." -- Grace Nash

As writers, we are frequently on the lookout for and open to the possibility of inspiration. We observe what is around us. Anything can be fodder for the next poem, short story, essay, or freewrite - regardless of genre. We take the visual, the aural, the auditory, everything coming in through our sense organs and express meaning and experience through our words. Fact or fiction, nature-based or relationship-centered, everything can be conveyed through words. We paint and dance and sing on the page -- or write it in unexpected places. (For an example of an unexpected place, check out the "juxtaposition of wildness and urbanity" by the January '08 South Waterfront Artist-In-Residence, David Oates.)

For writers, our artist's colors are words and spaces; the page (be it paper or electronic) is our palette; and the writing instrument (pen, pencil, keyboard) is our brush. We convey movement and distance and timing through rhythm and flow of language.

The video link below shows a trailer for Normal and Happy, a dance performance by tEEth. This video gives a good sense of the overall piece, which I saw at PICA's TB:A:07. Their performances tell story through movement, color, light, sound, and interactions of the unexpected. Their work is inspirational in the cohesion and strength of the performers and their message.

What do you notice about the different types of movement in this piece? Write about how the movement of the opening pair of dancers feels in your body. How would you translate the dialogue of their bodies into words? Who are the two women in the kaleidescope box? Or the bumpy pink people scratching their stomachs? What else catches you in a visceral way? Can you find something with which to develop a character?

[If you are unable to view the video from this page, click to visit the tEEth video page.]