Breathe on me breath of life

Last night I had the great privilege to see the world premiere of The Experience of Flight in Dreams, an incredible feat of choreography from Janice Garrett & Charles Moulton, at ODC Theater.  I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since, ruminating on what has changed in me through seeing those steps electrified by the exquisite group of dancers.  During service at Holy Innocents today, in which we celebrated the mass of Pentecost, I meditated on one movement phrase in particular.  A dancer (my incredible teacher, Dudley Flores), swathed in red, slumps over like a marionette puppet, surrounded in a semi-circle by a movement chorus all in black.  They dramatically lean back in unison, sharply intaking their breath, then proceed to breathe life into the dancer, and his body responds to their breath with lovely fluidity, only to fall back as their breath subsides.  They go on like this for some time, playing with the dancer-puppet, breathing one by one and watching his limbs fly, or using their collective breath to make him practically levitate.

Watching this, I was overcome with emotion.  Haven’t I felt this done for me in my life, time and again?  I am often held up by the breath of others, by their well-wishes and prayers, by their collective love and support.  And at times I have felt the lack, and been left slumped over like a puppet with the strings cut.  But right now I am really feeling the breath of life being breathed in me anew.  I feel joy at simple things like my baby’s laugh when I tickle the inside of her knee, and I am deeply moved by something as small as sitting next to a person I enjoy.  That is the Holy Spirit, the coming of which we celebrate at Pentecost.  That spirit flows through me and in me when I can open myself to her, allowing her to change me and inspire me, lifting me up to the point where I just might take flight.

I am dying to dance more, deeply missing it in my life.  I missed class this week and subsequently suffered a back injury holding Olive that put me out of commission for several days.  I don’t only enjoy dance, I need it to survive my over-full life.  Seeing live dance last night recommitted me to finding a way to get to class more regularly, hopefully twice a week at the very least.  I need to fly.

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2 thoughts on “Breathe on me breath of life

  1. Do you know about Carla de Sola who teaches dance at Pacific School of Religion? She teaches seminarians, but also has (usually) two one-week classes open to the public … I came out to SF a couple of times before going to seminary to study with her … dance and movement were a huge part of my discernment process… even though I don’t do that much any more, moving allowed God to get into my muscles … and into my heart …

  2. Rosalee,
    I have not heard of her! She sounds right up my alley. I tried to look her up but couldn’t find much — how would I find her classes in SF? And, we should dance together sometime :)

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