Editor’s Note: Christiane D is an August Wilson Center Fellow (2010-11 Season).
This weekend I am experiencing a fantastic opportunity to deconstruct my performance style and learn something wonderful and new. My friend Tavia LaFollete has invited me to participate in a weekend long Performance Art workshop with the amazing Guillermo Gomez-Pena. I saw him perform at the Mattress Factory 2 years ago and remembered wanting to stand on my seat and scream hell yeah!
I hadn’t seen anything that moving since I saw Karen Finley at Carnegie Mellon University.
I spent much of yesterday ridding myself of preconcieved notions, stopping myself from trying to “get” something out of it; just making myself an empty vessel, ready to be malleable and open for whatever.
We have danced like monkeys with hydraulic legs, explored the room with eyes closed, gazed into
each others eyes and created human sculptures. Each ancient exercise bringing you deeper and closer to being present, not representing a presence, as Gomez-Pena says.
It’s akin to standing at the latest roller coaster with excitement and terror. This mixture is what it feels like to stretch yourself and do something new and challenging. Much like being a Fellows. You have an idea of what you want to do and achieve, but each experience along the journey reshapes the original idea, sometimes taking you to surprising places.