SSMS: June 2009



It is a mixed day, sunny, cloudy, breezy, close to summer, still spring. Three witnesses. I am learning how to prepare people for this viewing. I feel surrounded and anchored.

I begin (no music) by jumping in, both feet, loud yell to dispel anxiety/nervousness. Bent over at the waist, left hand feeling the space, feeling the impulses, I venture one step out, then retreat back. Quite a bit of advancing and retreating, right arm drop swing, questing in front of me. I begin to sing a simple “song”. My head swings. I progress towards the west. Eventually, my leg opens, my body turns to the south, and I extend upward, unfold. My left hand on my left leg again. I wait.

I touch my jaw. It tips me backwards, twisting to land on my hands, crouched. Scoot my feet to a different location, I stand and fall again, several times, exploring slightly different ways. At one point, I am crouched and my hand and fingers describe an arch to the farthest point I can reach without shifting. That gesture does not repeat. It is like the center point of the piece. I end standing turned to face south.

My witnesses speak of symmetry, balance, rootedness, reaching out, comfort, trust, release, pathways, simultaneous moving. I am grateful for their interest.


Cool morning, sun is hidden by layers of clouds, a slight breeze.

I begin by pacing, back and forth, then into spirals, led by the head. I open to the familiar posture, arms spread out to high diagonals, open heart and throat. I move backwards, wrap my arms around myself, feel the security of the wrap. I scoop to the earth and open to the sky. I yearn to be on the nearby rocky beach, smell the ocean, hear the birds, see a bear. I think of tarin. I go to the floor, settle and yield, but no, I don’t want to be still. I get up to go down again, stretch my hamstrings. I try yielding again, accepting the support of the earth and find it difficult.

I stand and do ‘quiet little dances’ that are full of hand gestures into full body expression and feel good. I like these and continue on till they are complete.


I sit in my chair and greet you both. I make a vague arm gesture and stand. I stagger to retrieve my balance. I suppose it’s a sign that I’m getting better by trying more, but next time I’ll start more slowly and focus on simply being. I certainly could not have a group witnessing my puny efforts and feeling sorry for the old girl. I don’t even want my dog Penny in the room with me! Maybe some new music will help.




Partly sunny, warm, rained last night. Toads are mating in the shallows of the pond, laying strings of eggs amongst the grasses. Their call a series of buzzing, vibrating overtones. I work to the sounds of birds, water, toads, and grass being scythed.

I begin with a slow figure 8 walking accompanied by arms rising and falling individually, timed to a particular footfall. Soon the arms have their own rhythm and I abandon all aspect of control to see what is developing. I do the pattern backwards, my balance is a bit wobbly. I call up Diane Madden and Trisha Brown as my guides. My balance immediately gets better as does my focus. Amazing.

My hips open, interrupting the steady walking path. I pause, stillness. I balance. I wait. Bach’s Cello Suites #13 & 14. Facing south, I play with eyes, blinking, sliding, rolling, closing, turning. Head nods, mouth smiles and becomes neutral. I nestle elbows inside each other, the arms curved away from my body. I fall off balance and play with how the body rights itself. I turn 180 and look over my shoulder. Eventually, I am done.


I start with Eric Satie and a thought, “I want to get rid of stuff and simplify my life.” I lie down and begin to move delicate little dances, fingers gesture towards the sky. I spiral the hand and trace the movement up into the arm, shoulder, neck and head, initiating with the pinky and the thumb.

Steve Reich music shifts my energy to playfulness. I jump, throw, toss myself. I stand on one leg, extend my arm and initiate with head/tail. I fall, not intentionally, to the floor. I get up by reversing my fall and go into the same posture. With leg and arm extended in opposite directions, I play with gravity, letting the arm go, then the leg and head, and fall with full intention. I meet the earth in a different way. I seem to release and fold.


Almost immediately a dialogue begins between my disparate two sides of my body; left makes a movement, right copies it, then together. This went on for quite some time.




It is warm and slightly overcast, a bit muggy. Yesterday, my hip started to ache and it hasn’t recovered yet, so I have no idea what my time will be like.

I start again with the sounds from outside. I feel the air with my right hand. There follows some entanglement of arms and head, twisting of torso. I want to move bigger than my leg will let me and there is some pain.

I am aware of how the line travels through my body and out into space. I play with that line, maybe looking pretty (!), more classical, just to feel it.

I work with both eyes closed and eyes open but cannot sustain for long as my hip joint begins to ache to the point that I quit after 35 minutes. I end on the floor with my head to the west, thinking of you two.

Next Sunday, I will have some witnesses.


Ah, the first day of summer. I choose to move to silence this morning. I am aware of soon-to-travel energy. I start sitting in a chair facing east and call forth the both of you. Bear is sitting with me back to back. My feet lift off the floor. They want to feel air underneath. I play with leaning forward with the intention to not fall. My arms reach back and start swimming to keep me on the chair. I am brought back to initiating a spiral, my arms open, my head and upper chest arched.

I am reminded of my dream, how we pass through many doors to find our way back. Perhaps this is related to both coming back to Vermont and the “final journey”. I then intentionally fall off the chair and lie in stillness, allowing gravity to support and release me. I decide to end. I will go get batteries so I can film the airport piece for Hannah.


I play my C.D. of Renaissance music, which is quite enjoyable. I find that alternating my time between sitting and standing works better. Liberating as it is to stand, it is quite tiring. The changing rhythms of the music are helpful as is the thought of you two moving at the same time. I am truly grateful to have you.




It is an overcast, mild day with two witnesses from my new community. I am a bit nervous, but also welcoming this opportunity. I decide on a structure of distance and closeness.

I begin facing west, eyes closed, swaying, rooting myself, thinking of you two. Right arm rises to a forward diagonal, fingers feeling the air. Release the arm to drop, torso drops, backwards progress with big steps and forward bent body, arms gesturing. My wrists come together and the hands are loosely cupped. There is a spiraling of forearms/wrist/hands/fingers. I move forward along the same path. The tempo of my breath dictates the shapes and progress I make, choosing when to move and when to be still. I am done when I return to the beginning spot. We talk a little.

For #2 dance, I choose Janet Cardiff and speak to my witnesses about this sound scape and the challenge of how the spoken story can dictate movement choices. My beginning is a series of walking away from and returning to the amplifier to lower the volume, muttering. I pull my shoulders in towards my clavicle, not a pretty sight. When Cardiff says “experiment #1”, I move into a fluid soft “dancing” phrase with sinuous spine. Each time I hear her say “Experiment #” I do this phrase, coming closer to the witnesses each time. At one point, I am over my legs, touching the floor with my fingertips and I hear Cardiff descending into a cavern and know I must stop this tape. Again, I march over, relieved when it stops, and return to the floor where I feel release in all of my body. We talk.

6/30 Pina Bausch dies

After missing two Sundays in July, we decide to take the summer off and resume in autumn.