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Thinker on a Rock, Sculpture Garden in D.C.

 

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Somewhere in the bowels of D.C.

 

 

 

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South Main, Memphis, TN

 

 

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An Invasion at the Squirrel Nut Zippers Concert

 

 

 

 

 

Below is a video of another dance from the show Philomena’s Dream.  This medley is a collaboration of two dances across three different dance groups in Memphis: IDA, Jasmine’s Jewels, and Mystic River Dance.

The  choreographer of the candle dance is Isidora Hart. The song is Pachyderm Picnic by Brent Lewis.

Jasmine (of Dance with Jasmine) choreographed the second dance.  The song is Misirlou by Mosava.

I just wanted to share one of my favorite dances that our troupe performed in the show this month.  We started working on this dance around March of this year.

The song is Hanging Gardens by Mosavo on the album Mystic Babylon.  The choreographer is Feyrouz.

 

When not summoning sea creatures, El-D has been in Artist mode, busily creating music this week. When not in the garden, the Linguist Yogi has been busily badgering the Artist with relentless questions about his compositions:

What are you trying to communicate?

Is it a worthwhile message? Is it good? and/or is it true?

Are you expressing your message fully and clearly?

Is it being understood by your listener in the spirit you intended?

Will you take feedback into account to modify your message?

There have been intense philosophical debates about whether such questions are relevant to the creation of art. The Artist proclaims that art is what it is; what flows through is what flows through.  Listeners will interpret as they will, so the message itself is of little importance.

The Linguist Yogi maintains that authenticity take a lot of time and work. One must consider the noise and distortions that get in the way and lead to confusion. Clarity in the head and heart of the Artist is the fine-tuning of the instrument. What flows through the fine-tuned instrument is refined, pure, and more potent.

~~*~~*~~*~~

 Two versions of the same song are here for your consideration in this debate.

First is Emeli Sande’s  “Where I Sleep” as it was originally sung by the song-writer.

And here is a very different interpretation remade by Voces8:

Where I Sleep

There’s nowhere that I wouldn’t follow
There’s nothing that I won’t do for your kiss
I love you like there’s no tomorrow
Cause nothing ever felt like this

There’s nothing I won’t steal or borrow
I’ll travel on a boat or aeroplane
I’ll explore a world of sorrow
Cause when I find you I know, I know I’ma be OK

See the times are changing
And I’m sure of nothing that I know
Except this is us, and this is love, and this is where I’m home

In a world that’s breaking, where nothing is for keeps
Oh this is us, this is love and this is where I sleep
This is us, this is love and this is where I sleep

I’m from a generation undecided
I’m restless and I can’t help changing lanes
But in all the noise and the excitement,
you’re love is all that will remain
I’ve said all of my goodbyes to ego
I gambled all I got, there’s no plan B
It’s the first time that I’ve learnt to let go
It’s the only place I feel, only place I feel like me

See the times are changing
I’m sure of nothing that I know
Except this is us and this is love, and this is where I’m home

In a world that’s breaking, where nothing is for keeps
Oh this is us, this is love and this is where I sleep
This is us, this is love and this is where I sleep

In the middle of our life journey, I found myself in a dark wood. I had wandered from the straight path.  It isn’t easy to talk about it: it was such a thick, wild, and rough forest that when I think of it, my fear returns….

Dante, The Inferno

Dante's Inferno

On Saturday, October 3rd, the Inferno choreography was released into the world.

Inferno (2)

The idea for this dance has lived in me for over nine months. In the last trimester alone I poured out over 20 hours of zeal and profound love on just the physical creation of the 4 minute and 23 second dance. That doesn’t include the hours I spent reading, researching, and thinking about Dante’s heroic verses.

Inferno

Before this conception there was a courtship, of course.  My notes date back to August 15, 2014, when I responded to Dante’s call to his Readers:

O voi ch’avete li ‘ntelletti sani,
mirate la dottrina che s’asconde
sotto ‘l velame de li versi strani.

Oh you with sound intellects,
Observe the doctrine that conceals itself
Beneath the veil of these strange verses!

–Dante’s Infeno, Canto IX

Inferno 01

That’s when I began studying Dante’s work in earnest and trying to interpret the mysterious verses. It’s astounding how a 700 year old poem continues to resonate through the work of contemporary musicians, painters, writers, singers, and other artists.

By the time of the performance, most of the choreography was set, but there were unnerving parts I had to improvise.  I haven’t seen the video yet, so I don’t know how well the improvised parts went and whether I was able to express what this dance with Dante meant to me, but I do know that I learned a lot through the process of making it.

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If you’re interested in seeing the images I collected to guide the choreography, they may be found through the link here on Pinterest:  Inferno inspiration board

Inferno Finale

 

The poets leave hell

Inferno

I’ve been working on a choreography for Emma Shapplin’s The Inferno for months now.  The song stirs something in me that badly wants out. A version of the song is embedded below.

After months of reading, thinking, listening, and moving, the idea is finally beginning to find some form in motion. I need to finish it.

The quote in the image above was taken from John Ciardi’s translation.

Yes, there’s a lot aflame around here lately.  It’s an energy that needs to be channeled somewhere safe, like dance.

Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.

~Edgar Degas

First you get a song in your brain, and then it comes out your body, and that’s how you dance.

~Davis James, age 5

Shimmy Mob Memphis is dancing to change the world. This is our fourth year of dancing for the cause!

This year we dance to raise awareness and funds for the Family Safety Center of Memphis and Shelby County. 

Shimmy Mob 2014 flyer

How can you help us end violence and strengthen families?

1. Dance with us

2. Let us dance for you

3. Donate to our cause! Visit www.fundly.com/shimmy-mob-memphis

Related Posts & Links:

Unbreakable

Dancing to Change the World

Shimmy Mob Memphis 2013

Shimmy Mob Southaven 2013

Shimmy Mob Memphis 2012

Shimmy Mob Memphis 2011

One of the blogs I read, Garden Variety, featured artist Lynn Karlin today. You can check out her gorgeous work in the link below:

On a Pedestal | Lynn Karlin’s Vegetable Art.

People toss out interesting things.

And I have acquired the quirky behavior of rummaging around in the things other people pitch out, then stacking one person’s tossed out treasure on top of another’s discarded thing-a-ma-bob.  Fanciful sculptures emerge, which I then throw in the yard.

I blame Skattur.

On Break

On Break

This coming Saturday I will drag them to the St. Jude Craft fair under the pretense of wanting to sell them….

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…but it feels a little like selling one’s children.

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Obviously, I still have a lot to learn about letting go.

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Star-Crossed Tree Huggers

Today SoKaN joined a gang of 80 knittas and hookers to carry out a bombing assignment for the mafia.

Ka-BOOM!

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That’s yarn bombing, of course, otherwise known as knit graffiti, a form of community street art.  And the mafia is the Memphis Knit Mafia.

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the turquoise and red piece on the 2nd rail is my work

This means that as of today my work is officially on display at a museum.  I’m pretty sure this makes me edgy and urban, yet sophisticated and classy, all at the same time (if only in my imagination).

I lead such an adventurous (fantasy) life, especially for someone who spends such a vast amount of leisure time reading, knitting, and putting on shadow puppet shows for her puppy.

People are so durn creative, so now I will present the work of the real artists…

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Ladybugs and flowers and stripes and pink and pompoms! It’s so fluffy I could die.

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Knitted hearts on a string! Be still my heart. I must learn to make these.

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More hearts.

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A super big THANK YOU to Christiana Leibovich for being the capo di tutti capi.

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