In the beautiful starkness and darkness of winter is the gestation of new ideas, the generation of new power, readying to crack through the surface, and rise with energetic newness, tender and strong, prepared to weather the spring.
February has been all about developing and articulating ideas for SBDP’s fall premiere. Lisa, Rose and I have been busy writing grants, booking venues and collaborators, creating movement vocabulary and looking for inspiration everywhere: Symbolism tour at Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland, Rauschenberg exhibit at SF MoMA, the colors and resilience of the burned landscape after California wildfires. Rose & I have a weekly practice of taking a selection of text from Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, and recording the embodied exploration it spurs. We watch the videos and select movement that the other has generated and incorporate it into our next round of phrase work. These phrases will build into partnering and into choreography for some sections of the new show. You can follow our daily creative process and see what’s inspiring our work by following @ sarahbushdance on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
In January I got to shape some of these new ideas into a solo for the San Francisco Movement Arts Festival at Grace Cathedral. The piece took place in an alcove of the church that featured a stained glass window of the Samaritan Woman at the Well and a red stone sculpture of a “coffer”, the treasured “heart” of the Cathedral. I was thinking about the #MeToo movement, about the bravery of women speaking up and speaking out against misogyny and abuse, cracking open some long-held strongholds of patriarchal power and politics. All the waves of feminism building to burst out into the open air the flood of the complexities/voices/opinions/demands placed on women by culture and society. The movement for the solo started with an abstract action of “forcing the lid of the coffer open” and then bathing in the sounds that escaped it. I enjoyed the process of building a score by layering different audio tracks, starting with wisps of wind and music slowly rising, and then increasing like an overflowing well. Sounds of water, of choirs singing, of the Berkeley High teens reciting the litany of Radical Women in global history, the building of a pounding heartbeat, songs about cracking open, about the color red. The dancing became an ingesting and digesting of sound, crawling around inside it all, floating in and carried by waves, reaching for and relishing the breeze of angelic voices, digging in, listening, finding my feet, my center, carrying forward with my sense of self, never closing the box.
Out of violent atrocities, fiercely resilient leaders are born. Almost immediately after devastating fires, new green leaves reach up to the sun. Creativity is irrepressible.
Sending you restorative energy for all you are creating and tending to. Thank you for the work you do and for being with me on this journey.
Sarah Bush, Artistic Director
Sarah Bush Dance Project
Photos by Sarah Bush and Lisa Harding