This past Sunday, Glen and I watched a Talking Heads video on youtube of David Byrne singing Naive Melody (This Must Be The Place) from the early 80’s, I think?
And it was amazing.
It was simple, clear, and essential.
It felt exactly right that those sounds and those words would come from that human being, in that way, and at that time.
And in this way, the generosity of the work was tremendous.
Then Glen and I watched a more recent version of the song, from 2012, and….hmm. I was disappointed.
Byrne was trying to be who he was 35 years ago instead of honoring who he is right now, 35 years later.
And so it felt contrived, affected, and not so generous.
Since watching these two videos on Sunday night, I have had repeated conversations with friends, in class, and at rehearsal, about why we yearn to do what we did in the past, instead of becoming giddy, excited, and abundant about who we are RIGHT NOW.
For me, some of the most beautiful, cell expanding, and life affirming moments come when someone is steeped in who they are, and the art - whatever form it takes - comes from that place, that elemental place, within their own being.
That moment might come from a student in class rolling towards the rest of the class with both eyes wide open. It might come from a performer on the stage imitating the sounds of a crying baby. It might come from someone walking down the street jigging to the music pouring out of their headphones. And, it might come from David Byrne, tipping the light back and forth while singing “Guess I must be havin’ fun”, NOT because he thinks that we, the audience, hope he will tip the light back and forth, but because how could he NOT tip that light back and forth?
I want to address this head-on with you, because this idea that we have to have the agility, strength, and verve of our younger dancing/singing selves just isn’t so helpful, and it holds us back from cherishing who we are right now, at whatever age that is.
It stops us from taking the time to discover what it is that we have to offer NOW, with the history and experience that we hold, rather than trying to replicate what we had 5,15 or 35 years ago.
I think I must have heard this story when I was around 18, and taking class with Remy Charlip at The Colorado Dance Festival. He spoke about the time he took out full page ad in the San Francisco Chronicle that said, “So you can lift your leg up to your ear? Good for you. NOW WHAT??”
And I guess that is what I am asking myself too.
What is essential?
What am I saying?
What is emerging in my dancing -- from my very innermost being -- that cannot be named?
And how does all of that connect to the larger world?
If you too have similar questions, (or if you don’t, but are still curious), why don’t you come dance with me in a few weeks?
It’s free, so there's really nothing to loose.
A student of mine just spoke to a friend about the class she is taking with me, and the friend said something along the lines of:
“So, this is also a class for people who are not comfortable in their bodies, but that want to be.”
Yes, that’s true.
Having comfort in one’s body is not a prerequisite for joining the class. In fact, not being comfortable is an incredibly wonderful place to start.
The TWO FREE classes are happening on:
Tuesday, August 18th from 11-1pm
Saturday, August 22nd from 10-12pm
Both at the upstairs at The Boulder Circus Center at 4747 N. 26th Street.
Email me if you plan to come.
I would love to see you there. Feel free to bring a friend.
And, as in every newsletter I send, post any comments you have here.
Share this newsletter with a friend, share it on social media, and share it anywhere else you can think of so that we can all start to have a larger conversation with each other.
With Warmth and Jivey Vibes,
Joanna and The Agitators
sweetly agitating/persistenly upending