Tag Archives: dark

Protected: A Much Darker Look

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Protected: The Darkness in Me and Our First Performance in 3 Weeks (+Two New Videos)

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Inspired by Butoh and Connecting with an Old Friend

Monday December 14th 2014

This morning Thoth got in bed with me, wrapped me in a blanket next to him and cuddled with me. He began rocking me back and forth. “Rock a-bye baby.” he said. Oh. My. God. So cute!

A friend wrote on my blog yesterday mentioning that a Butoh influenced dance group was giving a class today in SF. I remembered the word and looked it up. I had seen a few videos of this dance style in the past and didn’t like it. A woman standing on stage shaking with her eyes rolled back in her head seemed too one dimensional and simplistic to me. I looked up a documentary about it and found that it’s much more than that. I actually like it! It’s a style of Japanese dance created after WW2. I don’t really see it as dance though. More a type of theatrical expression. They’re not dancing like ballerinas dance, they’re expressing something deep and unconscious from inside themselves.

It made me look into how I prayform. I tend to make pleasant expressions with my face, body and voice when I’m performing. I never make ugly expressions, like gritting my teeth or sticking out my tongue or singing in a growly voice. I have a fear of looking like I’m crazy or scaring people. Thoth has tried to teach me to use a lot of different expressions instead of one expression all the time. For example, he will sing in his beautiful high voice, then start growling, then sing in his baritone voice. He always has different expressions on his face. To some people it may look crazy. It never did to me. I always saw it as him telling a story.

I do have a desire to break out of this “pretty girl” image, but I like it, too. I like being etherial and doll like, but I want to be scary and dangerous, too. I used to be more wild in my expression. I had an experience years ago where I was singing to a little girl and she ran away crying. It scared me. I love being beautiful, but there is this need inside me to not be sometimes. It encourages me that a dance style like Butoh exists. Something that is so dark, confusing, disturbing, and downright terrifying in it’s looks is embraced by a lot of creative people.

One comment under the Butoh video wrote, “Anyone can do Butoh if they’re on enough hallucinogens.” People write that kind of thing about us under videos sometimes. “What kind of drugs are they on?” or “They must be incredibly high!” It’s interesting people equate full expression with being on drugs. Maybe I will start exploring my wild self again in prayformance. It’s an exciting thought! I can always change. That’s the beauty of prayformance. I can be whatever I want. It’s interesting how we trap ourselves in these identities. I am a blank canvas. I want to always grow and change and challenge myself. I can be whatever I want, and prayformance is the perfect medium to do so. I want try out new pieces and work on being more intense at our house concert at John’s house this Saturday.

I had a wonderful talk on the phone with my old acting teacher Andrew Kimbrough. He was sitting outside watching his kids playing. I could hear them over the phone. Occasionally he called to them to be careful or something. I haven’t seen him in 7 years. He asked me how it was to be married. “I love it.” I said. I told him Thoth feels closer to me since our marriage, as if he feels more comfortable that we have made it official. He calls me sweet names more often and is more affectionate. It’s not something anyone else would notice accept me. Andrew is part a little group of people who get me. We were talking about how the world needs artists, despite that we misunderstand them. “We need you.” he said. It was so sweet. “I’m always rooting for you.” He’s really in my corner. I said I’d love to see him again someday, but I have no idea how we’d get to Stillwater. He said he’d like to be in a more urban area on the East coast. “In a few years we’ll be in a place where we can host you. You guys can come stay  with us and we’ll have fun.” he said. That will be so nice! He even said, “I love you” before he got off the phone. It made me so happy.

I first met him when I auditioned for The Tempest my freshman year in college. He was an amazing director. He encouraged me to write my first songs, which I got to sing in the play. My friend Will came and said I stole the show. Andrew was the first to introduce me to Meredith Monk, an artist who still influences me to this day. Her opera “Atlas” had a lot of influence the opera we just recorded yesterday. It was Andrew who gave me the motivation I needed to move to New York. He is the only person besides Will I keep in touch with from back then. He and I really connected. I was a young artist, hungry for someone to guide and direct me. He was a teacher looking for students who were passionate about learning. I’ll never forget when he helped me with my audition material for Circle in the Square Theatre School. He was the reason I got in and was able to move to New York (and eventually meet Thoth.) I am so lucky to have a group of people from all over the world who really love me and are in my corner. I could name names, but I’d leave people out!