Moving the Writing: Embodied Book Report

Below is an excerpt from a showing, an embodied book report on Carlos Castenada’s The Power of Silence, at Earthdance, Plainfield, MA, after a nine-day workshop with Simone Forti. Workshop participants made interactive book reports using techniques from Simone’s Logomotion. I used this workshop as research for my book, Composing While Dancing: An Improviser’s Companion.

ArtSpeak: For me, this performance, a showing as part of Simone Forti’s Logomotion workshop, was one of those magical, in-the-moment improvisations that seemed to fall out of the sky as needed. In reality, we spent eight solid days immersed in the studio—reading, writing, and researching—with a master. In the piece, I question the master/disciple relationship and come to the conclusion (that conclusion that reveals itself to me in performance) that I can follow so far, but it is only my own work that can change my perspective in the end.

Blog: Simone asked us to bring a book to read for the workshop. She had us free writing on memories that came up around our reading. We used techniques she has developed from her News Animations to bring our writings and memories into movement.

Here is the text of the writing sample I read in the performance:

Castaneda Castanette Cast a Net Castaway Casta Casta Jocasta

Courage Calamaty Cacophony Calisthenics Castaneda’s Calisthenics Magical Passes Magical Passages passageways

castaways caste one two three for gathering energy
gather energy that seems to be what’s necessary

I’ve been reading about don Juan before he became don Juan, when he was a self-described poor, stupid indian who had the chance to be different, learn the magic to make him be free. Free of what? But he believed that he had turned his back on the opportunity. Turned his back and enslaved himself in the world again and allowed himself to become overcome by death which he described as some kind of tsunami that came out of the East, or the West. At any rate, he saw it coming.

Simone riding the wave of words and movement like a granny surfer grainy surface granular grammarily grannarian surfactant sufficiently suffragette

First, don Juan was told to dress up and learn to act like a woman to avoid being eaten by some monster that stalked him that turned out to be a projection of his fears that later turned into a mist when he had gathered enough energy.

overpower hover-wower mower-tower 10-4

Loosen up the—loosen it up a bit—don’t hit yourself on the head—just slip slip slip a bit. Slip let slip—it seems SO enourmous and really all you need to do is let start—start by letting the corner, a corner, any place slip just a bit, just off. Not HUGELY off, just just off. Hugely off puts you back into the world of dualism where you started.

This was a story, part one of the “abstract” stories that don Juan tells Castaway Carlos. What is my favorite part? That don Juan was living in this fabulous household as a servant/slave (because he feared the monster of his fears, is this an allegory?). Anyway, he thought he was just living there but actually he was learning all this stuff from them in some a-sequential reality.

Then he runs away from them when he finally realizes the monster/fears were just an illusion myth. Only to realize, only to see, to realize, oh oh oh! he had walked away from his salvation—slavation slave nation but it was his further incarceration in the world of ordinary man that brought his final death which turned out to be a Wave from the east or west. Just an allegory for him to become—

Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose—

Maybe Castaneda wrote it all down from Janis Joplin lyrics. WOW.

Moving the Writing: Embodied book report on Castaneda’s Power of Silence from Melinda Buckwalter on Vimeo.

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