SSMS: September 2009



It is almost a year since we began this SSMS and I am happy to be returning to it. The crickets and cicadas are the background noise as I begin, eyes closed and wait. My arms rise and my left hand clasps the thumb of my right. Wait. Drop to the side and wait again. Down to the floor, gentle rocking and reaching, slow warming of the body into the form, opening to the form, eyes closed. Initiating from various parts of the body, mostly skeletal.

Sudden movements, shifts of direction come with breath. Several follow one after the other. I remember Mirah’s solo at Goddard a few weeks ago, her skill with extreme motion followed by absolute stillness.

These movements open me to my thoughts of Pina Bausch and a solo I want to dance within a larger piece I have been designing. Legs firmly rooted into gravity support reaching of arms, reaching into memory.

After a while, I am done. I go out to the deck and rest in the sun for a few minutes with my face to the west, thinking of you two. I listen to the bees and the breeze in the trees and head towards the pond to swim.


I am off to a slow start. My body aches. I yield to my tiredness and a pain in my foot, something new! My movement practice is limited to a chair or standing on one leg. This past week has been difficult. Not much happens today in my SSMS, though this practice is key to being more focused on the body.


Could you feel my joy as I greet you for the first time this season? I sit in my chair on a bright sunny Sunday. I have on music {Arvo Part} with which I am unfamiliar so I am not tempted to dance TO the music. I start gently with my eyes semi-closed, lightly rubbing my thighs, then my head, neck, arms and torso. Every now and then I stop and wriggle my fingers, becoming a sort of “leit motif” or maybe punctuation mark. I finally rise to my feet, a rude awakening. Perhaps next week I’ll start on my feet.




It is cloudy and may rain a bit.
I begin with arching and swooping and scooping and hanging over with breath and gentle bouncing. It is a short sequence that begins the process of warming up my rather stiff body.

I go to the ground where I try out some rolling/folding/unfolding/rising/falling but quickly discover pain in the left hip joint. So I go easy and play a bit with arm gestures, try to change positions in a blink of an eye. I make some close relative of that intention, landing on my right forearm instead of the wrist. I laugh and talk out loud about this crazy desire to dance.

All for now.


I start standing and moving in silence. My arms slice through the air, cutting space in front of me, slicing through on the diagonal then scooping with curved arms reaching overhead. My body goes to the floor. I sit in stillness listening for the next direction from my body.

Deep in the bowels of my intestine is a rumbling/growling power that begins to move up, winding its way backwards through the intestines, up to the esophagus into the throat and out through an open mouth, old, held patterns releasing through breath sounds with a moan/groan. This is repeated over and over and over and over. Then a spine ripple begins, starting in the tail, stretching through the front of the neck, ending in a gaze skyward. This spine dance softens as it repeats until the energy subsides.

Still on my shins, my torse is upright, my arms reaching out into side space, another arch skyward with throat exposed to all that is in front of me. My hands find the earth and I lean forward to allow my palms to flex on the floor, fingertips pointing backwards.

I move back to a neutral position come to standing. I am aware of a cycle I am passing through


Today is another beautiful sunny morning and I am determined to be on my feet for the majority of my time and use my torso more. My body enjoys being engaged more fully. I feel stronger now. After half an hour, I take my seat, gratefully, and continue from that vantage point. I feel great pleasure in my body with this practice.



Autumnal equinox


I almost forgot today; one of those astounding fall days where the air is clear, the sun is bright, the sky is blue, the tree are still somewhat understated in their color change.

I begin by walking a figure 8, focused solely on sensing myself and the space, the 3rd body, the unseen. Shortly, I begin to add torso and breath, arms and rhythm, contractions, swooping, sharp shapes, head thrown. I think of Pina. I go backwards, cut across the 8, change directions, making a curving pathway. I have a tune of sorts in my head, coming out as breath puffs or basic tones. This goes on for 15 minutes at which point, I want to care for my hip and go to the ground to lie in the dappled sun and jiggle and rest, think of you two.

After a while, I travel some on the floor, more slipping than rolling as rolling hurts my femur bone. I work in the mid range, bearing weight on my hands and feet, shifting and bouncing, extending the leg out, pivoting, bouncing. At one point, I am hopping like a child/bunny on feet and hands, aware of the good that weight bearing does for my bones. I slowly come to vertical and am done.


It is a rainy morning.
Begin movement in silence again. Every time I go to the floor this peaceful image of tarin presents itself, her buried in the earth. I go to the earth for solace and support.

I start with finger and toes, wiggling and spreading and folding in amongst themselves. I am reminded of my arthritis as my fingers open and close. I move up into my knees and elbows flexing and extending. I bring my whole body into this playful journey of opening and closing sensing the potential and the limitations. I stay quiet, listening for the next cue to move. It comes from the gut, rippling up through the chest, up into the throat. The gut speaks again, grunts and groans. I ride the wave of sound and end in silence to rest.


I am sitting in my sun-drenched bedroom. My arms reach out and grasp – what? Love? Life? – while my head tilts from side to side and then rotates slowly in a circle. Soon my shoulders and torso join. Finally my arms open and drop gently and I rest, enjoying the music.

The left arm rises to touch my face and the left leg is set in motion. I watch as they do a kind of duet, which ends when the right leg starts to move…instep, ankle and knee and then a long stretch out. I lean forward, both hands on my knees. I bend one elbow then the other. I straighten the left leg, draw it in so that I have a solid purchase on the floor and stand.

I take two halting steps to the right and stretch arms, legs, my whole body. I do a half turn to the right and sway. This has tired me out so I sit and rest.




Grey, rainy day.

Cage’s Sonatas and Interludes accompany the sound of the rain. I begin on the floor, my head to the westnorthwest, thinking of you two. Spend maybe 15 minutes with most of my body in contact with the floor, some of it resting, connecting, some of it with gestures that rise up and out of my body, curving and lengthening, rolling and still.

I move through mid level to vertical and a long, long solo. I feel both Trisha and Pina in my body, no judgments, no voices saying I can’t do this. I am just letting it flow out of me without a reason or need to structure, being surprised by the movements that arise. One that remains in my memory – I am progressing across the floor with my elbows/shoulder high, head looking down at the floor, reaching with legs to travel, waving the forearms as if shooing something in front of me. I am tickled by that and satiated after 50 minutes.

PS; Recently saw Trisha Brown’s company and struck, as always, with the unattainable want to have been a member of her company in the early days. Also, on Friday, I stopped by Shelburne Farms to talk with Alec about the use of the Breeding Barn for Dear Pina. He seemed positive, though the space is not available for a year or more. Fine with me.


I awake very early, notice the rain and the darkness. I light the candles. I am sluggish.

I go to the floor, to listen. I start on my shins with my butt resting there and my head on the floor, cupped by my hands. It feels good to rest the front of my brain in my hands. My spine lengthens, starting with my tail reaching backwards trying to stretch the vertebrae and bring space in between each one. I notice my breath holding, release adds more space. Dimension of time and space take on a new meaning for me in this practice. I let gravity assist the torso becoming upright, finding more length and breath. I stretch my tail to the side, stretching the lengths of my side. I come to lie on my side then rock slowly. It takes me to lying in a twist on the floor with arms extended. This image, of a body that has fallen in this akimbo shape, gets me thinking, ‘what if I never get up?’ I stay there and practice releasing. I am so aware of my bones resting on the earth and notice all the little places where there is still holding. Release, release, let go…the earth will support me!


I start by placing my chair facing north. Usually I face east toward the sun but it makes more sense to face north since you are both north of me and it takes only a slight adjustment east and west to send you both my greetings.

I begin standing this time. It gives me a feeling of power which I enjoy while it lasts. My arms are used minimally, which adds to the feeling of power. The music soars as does my mood. I step back and again step back. I sway, make a half-turn, another half turn, and then I sit. My arms are free to do their dance and, after awhile, my legs and feet join. I wonder what each of you is doing at the time. I wish I could see you.