A fellow graduate student of mine wrote his masters thesis on Interconnectivity in Choreomusical Performance. A fascinating mouthful, as the projects at the Gallatin School in New York City tend to be. I learned many things from Ken in our round table discussions and from his performances throughout our degree program. Ken is a drummer and a dancer specializing in African dance. He challenged me to think about the relationships that exist in the context of performance: musician to instrument, musician to musician, audience member to musician, audience member to audience member. He challenged me to consider to how we might break walls that, especially in western performances, exists between each of these relationships.
To demonstrate the power of music when a wall is broken, he had our class stand in a circle. With bells on his wrists and ankles he began to dance in the middle of our circle. Then, from his pockets, he produced single bells and began giving them, one at a time, to the people forming the circle. Under the spell of music no one is able to resist ringing the bell along to the dance. The wall between performer and audience is broken. Your body then also begins to move as you create sound. It’s as natural as breathing. Ken taught us that many African languages do not have a word for music. Dance and music belong to the same title. So it is.
There is a similar phenomenon in Yoga practice. Consider the barriers that may exist when a yoga class begins: between yoga teacher and students, the world outside the studio walls and the world within, yoga student and yoga student. And consider the barriers we intend to break by coming to yoga practice between breath and movement, mind and body, flow and thought. If you practice yoga, you know that it is, in fact, possible to break such barriers and the result of movement and breath, and opposing forces coming together under one title, vinyasa or hatha, is beautiful and beneficial.
What if we take one more step and add music to our practice? Each of us has an instrument—our voice. On Thursday, August 4th Daniel Flynn will lead us in a music-filled evening that will allow us to feel the vibration of our own voices and the voices of others. In his own way, he will pass the bell around the circle and I, for one, am excited to feel the result and the vibration.
More about Daniel Flynn.
A little of Ken White’s music. (yes, they bring dancers to every performance to break every wall possible)
A little more.