Words from Liv:
01/24/17 9 am
We're on a cross country trip... across India from Calicut to Auroville. Noushad came to meet us at the Beach Hotel this morning and after a masala omelette and gathering the fallen nag champa flowers, we went off to see a mosque built in the 1600's.
We connected so deeply with the Kamura Arts Group last night in a workshop that lasted from 5-10:30 pm. 30 people, including Noushad's two young daughters and his wife, crowded into a humid room... one they filled with such good energy of curiosity and willingness. Because it was a work day, many people were arriving late, so several of us went out for chai and something sweet. My energy was low as I felt out the group, mostly men, to see what direction to follow. It wasn't the best workshop I've ever led I must say. We began with Nigun Atik and then partnered up for Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight (a fun mixer that displayed their "raring to go" energy). A "walk around" and "touch and go" had potential but the language barrier was too big to make them effective exercises. A Zen walk across the floor was very beautiful. Half way across the floor, I asked them to add their hands-- like flamenco floreas. This led into a walk around and some structured improv. We then tackled the song "Turn Turn Turn" as a choreography project, dividing up verse-by-verse into 5 groups. As always, the creative energy that is summoned up during the choreography process reminds me of how different it is learning a dance from making a dance. We spoke about how much we observe about ourselves through reflecting on the process and 'how I am'. The LBB and age old question 'Who am I?' seems to permeate the work I do more than ever... perhaps because it is my question that is guiding me. TTT was pretty awesome and I love the way this gift community truly shared their own gifts of themselves through their full participation. We spoke about Pete Seeger and how he inspired so many people to be activists. They asked if he was our teacher. I never thought about Pete in that respect... but truthfully I said "yes".
We took a water break including fresh pineapple juice (which is now my penchant) and after which, Bill spoke about Martin Luther King and we all sang "We Shall Overcome". Everyone agreed that these songs of the Civil Rights Movement are just as relevant today. One of the guys did a freestyle dance for us with complete abandon. So talented and open! Bill and I performed a bit, I donned my tap shoes for the first time here in India and did some clogging on stone whic led everyone into the Virginia Reel. I wish I had a video of that because it was the most bouncy and energetic VA Reel I have ever seen... especially after I encouraged them to take every opportunity to freestyle within the structure of the dance. My partner was Noussad's smart and energetic 6 year old daughter (who later informed him that she has a new friend!).
We all sat down again and for the next hour they took turns singing traditional songs for us. The spirit was flowing and the songs were stunning and heartfelt. Somehow this led into one last dance of the evening, "Sirun Yar" from Armenia. This evening was an unexpected gift. Eight of us went out for supper at a local place... the best fish biriani and curry and idliappum.
Their gift to us was a night at the Beach Hotel right on the Arabian Sea. Beautiful old style wooden rooms and hot shower... I take so much for granted at home!