Today I would like to share with you all a special story about someone who has opened my eyes to new possibilities for dance. Rebecca Beayni, Anna Bruno, and Heryka Miranda have co-created a piece and are performing it for Dances of Offering this year. I have had the pleasure of seeing the piece and I am eager to share a part of it with you all. The piece is performed by Rebecca and Heryka, while Anna reads aloud a poem that Rebecca wrote about her experience of life in a wheelchair. The poem is entitled “I Can Dance” and I have included it in the blog below. First, Heryka has shared with us some insight into how the piece was choreographed:
“The choreography from Rebecca's poem 'I Can Dance' comes purely from her relationships with each of her dance partners. Together we co-create a series of moments led by our collective impulses, intuition, wheelchair exploration and play. Each dance partner accompanying Rebecca in sharing her poem has had to learn to be still, in order to connect with her unique impulses that come through a breath, a gaze or slow head movements or sharp subtle gestures. These co-creative processes inspire themes, colours, moods, and of course, important messages through the body, in the moment.”
Anna Bruno tells us more about the poem to which the piece is performed to and how the poem was written:
“I Can Dance was written as a piece for Rebecca to express the depth of experience and capacity living within her that others on first glance often fail to see. As Rebecca communicates mainly through expressions and the common knowledge that comes through deep relationships, it was important that the poem really was a collaborative effort. While it may have been recorded by one writer the phrases were a collection of expressions, stories, and ideas shared by many people who know Rebecca well. In drawing upon the perspectives of many, we are able to more closely come to understand the complex, and unique individual that Rebecca is and therefore better reflect this in creating a poem as she would have written.”
|Rebecca Beayni and Anna Bruno|
And now, “I Can Dance” by Rebecca Beayni:
Freely, whirling, with grace
And a teacher too
Teacher of life
Teacher of joy
Spreading laughter in the midst of
Bombs clashing and words which strike us.
Advocate of strong will and continued hope.
I am a voice
Sometimes fun, silly
Sometimes certain, firm
Working for justice
Working for peace
A strong spirit, a woman of faith.
I live my faith
I dance it.
And I dance…
I dance for joy in life’s gifts
I dance in sorrow for friends lost
I am a friend
The bonds I make are rooted
These bonds weaving a web,
A heart network.
I am a connector
Bringing people together
Bringing people to encounter
A way of just being
When I dance
Dance is often expected to involve expansive and dynamic movement: an art form that by its very nature requires the use of the full range of the body’s physical and expressive capability. Rebecca challenges this definition by showing us all that dance can be so much more than that. Her movement may be different than what is typically seen on dance stages, but it is no less important, valuable, or beautiful. She demonstrates to us that although our society has taken steps towards making the buildings around us more accessible to people with physical disabilities, we still have a long way to go before art is accessible to everyone. I am proud to be a part of a community that is so accepting and open to new possibilities, and am grateful to be able to share in this evening of education and enlightenment. This piece has changed the way that I think about dance, and I hope that you all can approach it with an open heart and mind and enjoy the beautiful gift that Rebecca has shared with us.
To see Rebecca perform this beautiful piece, come see Dances of Offering on February 12th at the Betty Oliphant Theatre. Please visit http://www.dancesofoffering.myevent.com/ for event information and to buy tickets.