I’m trying to make a female dance piece. That’s inspired by Dionysus,tribal ecstatic rituals and female sexuality.
A piece where we go back to animalistic basics, where your dying to get off your seat and scream. Sexy. Dirty. Pervy.
I want to mix it with a 1970s aesthetic. Kinda like these 70's media representations of women - flake, carpet and perfume adverts. This time and these adverts have an almost anti feminist aesthetic. Female sexuality used to endorse and sell a product. I want to mix this with a sincere feminist, Pagan, sexual movement language. female dancers lie wild untamed beasts.
Re-owning a raw power in Iggy Pop kinda way.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0b6q27j/a-girls-guide-to-tv BBC light hearted program looking at Anti Feminist TV.
https://dotsub.com/view/3ea2b3da-b321-441c-b605-61721e8f8338 - footage of the Ashram in Pooner under leadership of Osho - Sexual Healing Practice.
I’m trying to develop a movement material based around the different rhythm’s of the female sexual orgasm. Shaking, trembling and heaving. Working with Crescendo in the body. Jazz Drummers such as Max Roach work well to support this. I am also building to a more full and wild movement language. Working with ideas such as trying to depict physically a Jaxson Pollock Painting.
A physical state I call. 'freedom or Chaos state.'
The Jaxson Pollock inspo came from my learning from Choreographer Nascera Baleza. She was the first to introduce me to a new image to help with the release of responsibility in Movement. To expand through body rather than cognitive intent. Nascera is very powerful and important to Dance. Im dead lucky to have met a women like this.
The Chaos state is a struggle to let go, as you can see from the research video above my legs are still quiet trapped in a ballet form. the freedom of the brush has not yet infiltrated the Shin and ankle connection. it will take effort and work. Im very excited to chew on this with the dancers.
Effort and struggle for an intent raises emotions of success and failure, moment by moment in the 'doing' of the work. sometimes this is use-full and sometimes it needs to be turned off, like in a Zen way to be free. i'm interested in working with both. Allowing emotion to overtake and be the primary to the form of the body. As-well as working with complex body forms and rhythms as the primary, with a calm, non-detachment passenger inside. In the movement language it is a micro cosum of Giving and receiving, witch is vital in love making. Its a branch of Ying and Yang, witch is the whole cosmos.
The whole shabang.
Working with Torque and release, to clench and open
playing in a place where pleasure and pain are very close together. Where either one is present.
Building to a crescendo state, where a zen non-detachment must take place in order for the movement to cascade out and sporadicly from the soul into the space.
This is my aim for the Arc, the structure of the work. For freedom and chaos to slowly and steadily rise. For the energy to build. like an orgasim.
I’m trying to make a show that when you have a look at it, it looks like the birth of a cult. A ritual takes hold. Part of you wants to join in and part of you wants to turn away.
So then I was mooching around to see wear I can steal more movement insporation from. So I started looking at Hedonic visions of community.
The cult of Bachus. and Dionysis. Ancient African rituals, voodoo. Planned organised hard working escapism. Sweating, Drinking, letting your hair down, shaking muscles from the bone, orgasims, singing, screaming. To enter a new realm. To become a God. Or as I like to veiw it, to become deeper connected to your natural spirit. the one you were before you were born, the one you will go back to after you die.
Sensuous blood filled pulsating meat.
I also started to look at more modern visions of such rituals and this led me to Cults such as
The Scource Family and Osho –The Rajneesh Movement (wild wild country documentary) witch Emma Jordon put me on to.
And it seemed to me that all theses community’s had something I really dig. A physical quest for freedom, but eventually were all unsuccessful. In the case of Osho, the movement became a cult, their own city, a colonised group with the politics and hierarchies witch exist in all western cultures. and their for fell into the neglect and trouble that running a society has. Class structure and stuff like that where people arn't equal. Most of these Cult were run by men and they all seemed at a certain point to find it important to have polyamorous relationships. This 'free love' as it were im still not sure about. I'm not sure if this is to do with my own repressions, or that I'm untrusting that the women were really being in-powerd by this, it seems that female sexuality was again sold as a commodity.
The begining however of a group, the ritual, the chaos of it, anti hierarchy im into.
Chaos is tasty place. A tonic if you will for the modern age. But a dangerous one to the building blocks of society. I don’t think we could survive with out order. I guess this rule applys even for the Magma World, a one hour society. Structure of some sort will still be needed.
I hope this will reveal itself in the choreographic score. The Scaffolding for the dancers, From A to B to C. But I hope within A,B,C can be found existentialism and moments of pure Chaos-Anti Responsibility.
Here in lies the elemental choreographic problem of the work. I think unison is needed. to represent the tribal ritual, it also provides the audience with an overwhelming sonic and visual rhythm in the room. To watch Unison is like to feel union. But, to perform Unison is to sacrifice personal drives and desires for the sake of the group shape and rhythm, it feels like Communism form the inside. This is a juxtaposition for the work. Unison versers chaos freedom state.
I found this guy Frank Lentriccia – Critism and Social Change
A community of feelings, of pleasures shared and binding. A fully socialised romanticism.
Such a community is not grounded in truth eternal, but in agreement. But to imply that, that agreement that binds the community can have Hedonic sources. Seems to me overly restrictive and possibly dangerous. Since the Hedonic in itself, fully given into, as a mode of satisfaction, tends to cut out other kinds of satisfaction. Especially those witch might be found in efforts at political intervention. Rorty’s vision of culture is the leisured vision of liberalism.
So then I was thinking why am I doing Lady Magma?
Why am I trying to stage a ritual and harness the female chi energy?
Of course yeah, great craic for me and the dancers but why share it? The simple fact that it is for display injures the very essence of the thing. The energy you have inside you that you rarely meet, often only in orgasm. It’s a sacred thing and to have an audience is almost to steal it. To sell it.
The fact i am 'selling' a show about it, is the danger I think. White girls dancing to other white middle / upper class people in the theatre. Maby this whole thing is Leisured Liberalism? Maby im actully the director of the bloody 1970s flake advert?
I needed to find a way to make myself believe again that its ok to make a dance show. Maby even a reason for it?
My own privileged Guilt.
So who’s this Rorty guy!?that Frank Lentriccia is chatting about?
Richard Rorty – Humanity after selfish Prometheus
Rorty believed it possible to ‘wake up’ good sentiment that leads to a solidarity attitude and actions. According to him its possible to do that with out reference to transcendence, God or Truth.
(Dam it they were all the choreographic things I was riffing on! Transcendence and stuff....orgasmic mouvement, voodo trance ect)
Rorty: We can achieve this through proper education, Art, Stories by empathy. By making people imagine being in the position of the suffering other.
something I can desperately clutch on to, to make myself believe its ok to make dance shows and not a complete waste of money when people don’t have homes or food and stuff.
Maby if some of the audience were empathetic to the dancers 'in the position of the suffering other' but in this case 'in the position of the pleasure animalistic trance other'
If people understood in a physical sense, the feelings of the dancers. They would go into their ‘inner’ place. Their body, and look at their relationship with pleasure.
We do not change people and achieve society of solidarity by referring to something transcendent, external to people. But by changing people internally. Subjecting them to the inner force of their sentiments.
Yes, maybe this.... because I think in Ireland, and well lots of places people are suppressed.
An suppression dosnt have to be full blown movie style stuff, like a virgin nun and stuff like that. But even tiny repressions.
I know I am repressed, in lots of things,
I cant always say what I want to a lover or friend as eloquently as id like.
In fact I think the things i'm discovering as a sexual being and lover, physical feelings and behaviours during love making, also have their counter parts in my ‘outside / community life’
Communication issues, self confidence, body image, bravery. Stuff like that.
So yeah would be great if an audience member felt connected and empowered by the work. Felt a physical understanding of repression, and freedom, felt opened by it.
But how to do I encourage the audience to connect to the movement onstage. To listen to their own body and rejoyce their own groove?
It may be difficult when iv’ chosen five very sexy highly trained dancers. This can be alienating to people. As dancers have bodies different from most folk, beauty can also be very intimidating and result in energetic closing rather than opening and yeilding. its connected to your own confidence and body confiedence.
So I run the risk of alienating people. Men and women feeling intimidated, turned on and uncomfortable all at the same time!
How to make pleasure, pleasurable and moving to watch?
I think being close to flesh of the dancer can help. I think being able to see the sweat, the effort, smell their hair will help ignite physical and emotional reactions. In the audience and between the dancers themselves. This is where the act of being in a classical theatre disturbs the attempt. Sitting in rows in the dark with the performers in-front of you, is almost cinematic. Its voyeristic.
So I decided to concentrate on building a set design witch would encourage a closeness, an inclusiveness. In the round, hinting at the greek ampi theatres, the womb, a voodoo gathering, a party. I hope it will feel like an invitation rather than a voyer salon.
In magma the architecture of the theatre rowed dark silent seating. A Balck Solitary square is the Pentheus to the dyonision stage. And I feel to greatly indanger the sensitcvity of the work. I hope a Round womb likegree like space can be created to protect the vibes
The main musical insporation for the work is the above track. Max Roach and Abbey lincoln actully alot of the young Abbey Lincoln's performaces for me have both pleasure, pain and femaninaty.
Im going to colaborate with David Holmes and Aoife MacAtamney to make are own Tryptidge Prayer.
I feel the sonice score will work like this
Subtle sound for back-round to The Preacher in bar- to get flow going people moving.
Entrance subtle sound for dancers and audience
slow build of groove, RnB,Soul. - The image of the sexy woman
Building in to chaos, African,Voodoo,Max Roach, Jaxson Pollock, sporadic rhythms.
Calm chant breath, the sexy witches, the tired woman, the power.
Aoife Song fade to black.
And A new development was to introduce 'The Arch Angel' 'The Preacher'
The 'Arch Angel Preacher' will be a performance monologue, Poem. An attack almost on the audience in the theatre bar, before the audience enter 'the sacred space' of the theatre. A Shake up and Wake up speech. To drag them out of the conditioned behaviour of the theatre frame. Of cognitive silence. Working with slogans, tag lines, rhythm, call and response and a whole lot of charisma and a drink. i hope to steer the show with a direct personal question into the sternum of the audience. about pleasure and about Groove.
So I was riffing on who should be the Preacher? A woman? A man? A woman dressed as A man? A man dressed as woman? ect ect...
Mary Beard Women & Power - A Manifesto
pg 39 'Those women who do manage to get their voice heard very often adopt some version of Maesia in the forum or 'Elizebeth' at Tilbury, consciously aping aspects of male rhetoric'.....Margret Thatcher took voice training to lower her voice, to add a tone of authority'
Mary Beard Women & Power - A Manifesto
The culturally awkward relationship between the voice of women and the public sphear of speech making'
Most of the motivational powerful speeches i found were men on youtube were men. All the cult leaders I found were also men. Even the female black gospel preachers I found had deep husky almost Lucifer like voices.
So im trying to decide on the Artist for the role. I had intially thought of the poet Emmet Kerwin, because i think he can move well, I thikn his ownership and understanding of Rhythem is great, and I think he could be a young Dionysis type figure, charming, standing on top of the bar and getting the crowed to trust and go with him.
But bringing a man in im very warey of, what it means to the dancers who later peform....'Is that their leader?' the audiance may think, then we run the risk of replicating a cult for the theatre, rather than staling the best bits of it to release female energy on a chosen night.
So then the legend- Emma Jordon was like, Olwyn Fueera? And I was like omg of course. What other woman has the charisma of Nick Cave and looks like a God. Brilliant Emma. so now I need to try and write some kind of a script. To lead the speech.
Olywn Fueera Enters theatre bar - Negorni in hand dressed like nick Cave
(Enters the bar chanting and greeting people in a pervy way. Finds center.)
Right so lads
Im glad you made it here
You came here
giggles with the people)
What did you come here for?
What are you looking for?
(Touches an audience member)
What’s your name?
What did you come here for Carol?
-example curious to see the dance
The search in the dark, the unknown and yet the known, exactly Carol
(work for an audience response)
Chant the response with the audience getting louder and louder
The unknown is known!
Audience- the unknown is known!
The unknown is known
Audience- the unknown is known!
YEEEHHAAAAAA YOU FEEL THAT!
Blood pumping round your veins the heat rising.
Time to work Carol
(looks around at the people)
Your choice to feel
To (the audience response) the unknown known
Its your job to decide enjoyment
Your in control of your own pleasure
Don’t come in here in your mind, your cognitive
Coming in here to judge
To pick apart meaning, structure
Nah to that
Nah to carteism dualism
Nah to the bougies order, to stifling manners, to silence in the body.
Let go of Logos
Audience – NAH
Everybody deep breath in, chin to chest and release
Olywn gets everybody to join in an active exhale.
(get audience to hold hands together)
Adapted quote from- Foucoult History of sexuality
We cannot free ourselves from this repression simply by means of theory.
We must learn to be more open….to enjoy it. A discourse on ‘magma’, seen as a revolt against a repressive system, becomes a matter of political liberation rather than intellectual analysis….our discourse on ‘magma’, in its promise for a better freer way of life, is a form of preaching.
Holds glass up to crowed, To Monosim Eros (takes a shot)
Gets crowed to cheer
(climbs on to theatre bar)
You take charge now
You decide now it’s your decision to enjoy, to be moved, to shake, to wake up.
(audience – wake up)
C’mon now, Wake up!
(audience - wake up)
Yeeeaaaaa groove with it
(get them moving / swaying music creeps in subtle)
Your flesh and bone with all your thoughts and dreams and pains and groove
Let your groove out
Why the fuck not
Why not here, heres safe for you
Here you can shake and tremble and wake and scream
Every body scream
Every body scream
Climbs down from bar and hugs someone
Yeaaaaaaa that’s it feel the heat rising under the skin ,ya feel that heart of yours thumping blood pumping
Bring that with you
Listen to that
That’s the bloody show in their (touching somebody’s sternum)
You in in the seat thump thumping away.
(Olwyn lowers her head and stamps to the beat loving her own groove)
Follow your desires here
Get up leave
March off proud if you want
Get turned on
(Walks to the theatre door and opens it, welcomes them in)
(deep breath in, chin to chest, exhale)
Welcome to Lady Magma lads
Lets get the groove on
Music from the auditorium rises and people enter the space dancers is moving.
I think that a uninamous ecstatic ritual holds with in it a lot very powerfull chi energy.
I think it would make a great show. I am not yet clear on what the possible energetic after effect of this show could be on an audience. On the performers. I hope that the performers will enjoy reaching a new plateaux with in their metaphysical consciousness, maby even a new relationship with their own soul….can I say that?
But I don’t know what it means to be a viewer of this?
I also remember that a long time ago a conversation I had with Emma Martin about the difficulty of working with Joy and lightness for choreographer. Not comedy but joy…
This is not so far from pleasure. And this memory gave me some solice to continue looking for inspiration for the Lady Magma piece. The Magma show. Female pleasure, ritual, dancers bodies, audience and all.
Now, What I need to do is fully concentrate on the pleasurable existential Journey of the dancers. And decide for now to trust that the sincerity in their performance will drag the audience with them to a new place.
what is the new place? How do we get their?
Dancing in the Street – A History of Collective Joy. Barbara Ehrenreich. 2007
This book is just class The Janie Doherty gave it to me. Fed me a lot.
In the two centuries leading up to the twentieth, audiences had been successfully tamed. If you went back to seventeenth and early eighteenth-century. France or England, you would have found theatre audiences, for example, that were disruptively rowdy, interrupting the actors with their own comments, milling around during the performance. By the end of the eighteenth century aristocratic ideas of decorum – along with innovation of reserved seating-brought, according to sociologist Richard Sennet ‘a curtain deadness to the theatre’ their were no more shouts and the back of the hall, no more eating food while they stood watching the play. ‘Silence in the theatre seemed to diminish the enjoyment of watching the play’
This is still true today. Music concerts and hiphop battles get the ‘crowed’ the all encompassing atmosphear whear everyone. Performer and audience go together somewhear else from the ‘now’ but in Contemporary dance, Theatre audiances, silent motionless. Cognitive analysis.
Dancing in the street Pg 211
The motionless perception required of an audience takes effort, especially when the performance involves the rhythmic motions of others. Recent Nerouscience suggests that the neuronal mechanisms underlying the perception of motion by another person are closly linked to the exacution of that motion by the perceiver.-To ready ones self to join in.
Pg212 Dancing in the Streets
So the well behaved audience member-who does not snap fingers, nod a head or sway or clench or lean-is not really at rest; she is performing a kind of work-the silent,internal work of muscular inhibition.
So to my Magma audiance - G’won I dare ya.
Barbara goes on to eliqunetly explain how through out the 20th centry 50’s onwards theis is a complete repression of all motion not only in audiances. But with the arrival of the car, the television. Machines replacing Labour at work. Only sports was left as field for human motion and even here, many sports were unavailable to women or alterd to minimize their motion.
It is sexual inhibition that rock n roll of the late 50’s early 60’s is usually credited or blamed for challenging. As one writer explains ‘the unleashing of generations of repressed sexuality’
The rhythem and the music brought it back a bit. Kids screaming in the aisles, beatlemania and all that jazz, a wee touch of dyonisis coming back. Witch of couse was lableed as madness and supressed by the law. – but yes it could get a bit dangerous. The old freedom chaos state lads
But it was a needed a release.
For females even sex was meant to be motionless and passive. The leading martial advice book of mid twenth century America warned against female ‘movements’ during sex Insofar as sexual activity was described at all, it was in terms of static positions.
Also I doubt anyone followed the book, but also if this is 20th century America can you imagine Ireland in the 50’s jeese louise!
Black Panther leader Eldridge Cleaver
white rock fans were simply trying to reclaim ‘their bodies again after generation of alienation and disembodied existence’
I think even now dance can be a bit disembodied.
To attain extremes in the body such as ballet or athletics a process of cartesium dualism must appear in training. To over come tiredness and pain. To separate leg musicels for example for a higher batmon, from the emotional feeling of lifting your leg. This phiosolphy to the body I feel is deeply intrneched in many dance training institutions.
Also on the stage, I wonder about the energetic concquences of this and of art movements witch support it. Such as the abstract movement and im gonna say it merce Cunningham.
A generalisation I know but still riffe with in the dance world are Calm thin white people with pointy limbs. Shifting around with little to no emotion in the aim of an abstract concept.
In a strange way and im out on a limb here I think even in a dance show you can be watching a form of disembodiement.
In The 1950’s was also the birth of advertising and the consumerist coulture. With images of women as soft, sexy but useally a bit weak and timid.
Thes adverts may seem tame to now days media with hyper sexuality at use but just as greatly disembodied. To the point whear porn dosnt show a face simply body parts. Fashion disembodies women all the time and now music videos have dragged in its wake.
Honnest dipictions of real female emotion, power, pleasure and pain are still now today, treated, doctored and manipulated to fit in to an extreme version of 50s pin up girls.
Western ideas of beauty and truth is strange tasting cocktail.
We hunch over phones, swipe tablets, drive cars and sit motionless in cinemas and theatres.
It would be a great leap to go back to the body. The road their is as long as the the generations who took us from it.
Pg 250 Debora writes : The passivity engendered by constant spectatorship, announcing that ‘the specttacle is the nightmare of imprisoned modern society which ultimately expresses nothing more than its desire to sleep’
Is that why its easier to make ‘dark art’ with trauma and pain more directly understood by the viewer than collective joy?
You know I read once that it used to be kinda all grand. Music and dance were kinda the same thing. People moved for pleasure and people moved for work. And then in the 13th century some crazy catholics decided the soul was seperate from the body and no dancning is to be done. – I need to find out who this guy is and check out what base he had for this im raging!
I think it has something to do with 'The age of enlightenment' and the development of western philosophy, Cartes and those lads.
My guess is that a new wave of philophsy was spreading that the soul is seperate from the mortal felsh. And so why waste time on developing the flesh witch will eventually rot.
The mind is whear its at, the soul is what will last
I have no concrete facts at all to base this on, I simply and truly belive that if we combine the two and live as one being mind soul and flesh, we’d have a better chance at happiness. Leaning towards Zen, Buddihism and Holistic Philosophys.
Holism – yep you guessed it im a White middle class dancer in her 30’s and that’s probably what they all say when they cant jump that high anymore.
Cuz were more in the ground? AAAAAAAAEEEEEE UGGGGHHHH shut the fuck up, I dunno.
Its like people still think were witches
Heres a fucked up story about a witch it came just after the 1700 whear in scotalnd 3,800
Women were burned. Heres the last one Ireland. Thank fuck this got out of fashion.
Bridget Cleary, Ireland’s ‘last witch’
In 1895, 26-year-old Bridget Cleary – a beautiful, independent-minded woman – disappeared from her home in Ballyvadlea, near Clonmel in Co Tipperary. It was claimed the fairies had taken her, but when her charred remains were discovered, her husband, father, aunt and four cousins were arrested and charged with her murder.
The truth that emerged subsequently was a toxic mix of fairy folklore, illness, superstition, social mores and the ever-present suspicion of women with a mind and means of their own.
Cleary was a self-employed dressmaker, one of the first women in the town to own a Singer sewing machine. She enjoyed lots of male attention, and a reputation as a bit high and mighty. There were rumours of an affair with a married Protestant, but to the surprise of many, she married Michael Cleary, a sullen man 10 years older than herself.
When she was struck down with what might have been pneumonia in March 1895, her husband and family were so shocked by her changed appearance, they convinced themselves she had been taken away and swapped for a “changeling”. In the course of trying to determine if the sickly Bridget in his bed was really his robust, strong-willed wife, Michael Cleary exploded into a rage – and held her over the fire until she burnt to death.
This really shocked me. The image is so strong. To be held over an open fire by a loved one in your own home. Theirs a movement in that. Or even to just tell the dancers this story. Can feed some fight in them.
Sometimes I find what helps me in my dancing is when I dedicate the performance to some one or something. It gives me extra power. Bridget Clearly is one to be dancing for.
I want to be able to allow the dancers to open into pleasure to fight through pain for a reason. To be powerfull. To be for something
Pg 61 – Ecstatic rite ‘to loose oneself’ to let go of ones physical and temporal boundaries is to glimps, however briefly the prospect of eternity.
Dionysian – In which music and the muscular synchrony of dance are employed to induce a state of trance. Interpreted as posecion by or transcended unity with God.
I don’t believe in any particular God or Religion. And I actually think organised religions can be harmful to open mindedness empathy and society at times. But I have got a lot out of life from my dancing, and from dancing with music. Iv had a lot of cathartic moments, lots of release and clarity brought to me through dancing, and listening and responding to my own body.
It would be cool if more people could experience some type of self-healing through motion. To love and to trust their bodies.
Weve come far
But not far enough.
The beauty of sexual movment. The freedom to dance and groove and shake. With out insecurity, to practice pleasure. Class-less, Race-less, Gender-less
This is starting to sound like a cult.