About The School

by childofwine

after last week’s post
rife with angst and pain
I wanted to write something
to show you
it’s not all tears and bruises

that we look at each other and say
how is this my life
how are we this lucky
how are we this safe
that we can allow ourselves to be
this vulnerable

none of this
the bruises and tears
the peaks and valleys
has not been thought out

the links between all of our classes
are starting to reveal themselves
as we learn to look for them

ah, here is the time for encouraging failure
oh, now is when our spirits are buoyed
look, here is a path for us to follow
all the way to an environment of support and growth
well, if it isn’t a guided and structured playground
designed to lead us to
an unpredictable if planned outcome

(an unpredictable if planned outcome!)

when I have the occasion to sit back and consider
the larger arc of this program
the manner in which it is being implemented
I am struck by what is obviously the design
of a caring and gifted individual
someone who has a clear vision and pedagogy
for the development of creative innovative and daring artists
a teacher that we have quickly put great trust in

a trust without which
I would not have embarked on this journey

after a painful  hour
in which all but one of the six presentations are prematurely stopped
(not mine, but I’m not gloating, we had plenty of stumbles
okay, allow me a moment
we did relatively well)
we collect in a circle
ready to find out what the assignment for next week’s piece will be

not yet
this is going to be a teachable moment
the classic “you guys need to seriously step it up” talk

as with the lesson a few weeks ago
after the lacklustre presentation of our
twenty-four hour observation project
this is a lesson I kick myself a little for not seeing sooner

 we’re all guilty of sitting back on our heels

of forgetting how we got here
why we came
of falling into the trap of
“isn’t this just so much fun”

as I look through this week’s journal entries
as I think back over
the past seven (seven! already! only!) weeks
I can see this lesson coming
recognise it as a tactic employed during my own teaching experiences

retrospectively I can see
this teachable moment was a trap set for us

once again I see
how lucky am I to be here

in writing about our movement analysis classes
I remark on how we are being called out
for our inability to complete movements fully
too concerned with the correctness of the assignment
we allow the intention to go by the wayside
leaving actions empty and void

in writing about our gymnastic tumbling classes
I remark on how we have grown
from shying away from the pain of stretching
to looking for that specific hurt
seeing the changes in the ability of our bodies
the development in our performative possitilities

we look at each other
marvelling at
the difference seven weeks makes

we look at each other
at the implication that the seven week difference we see in each other
must be seen by them in us

the commitment and enthusiasm we show for these physical challenges
(and our devotion and obsession with the trampoline)
needs to start to bleed into our other classes

our focus when we do our physical conditioning class and explore active body meditation
when we are given physical movements to repeat for unspecified lengths of time
while we are watched and imitated by our teachers
while we strive to discover clarity and precision of gesture
when we are put directly into situations guaranteeing failure

how arbitrary is it for us to decide to give focus to one class and not another

as if we are teenagers again
back in that
bare minimum misguided rebellion

when we are told
to save our ‘good’ work for Out There
it’s because now, In Here
at The School
is the time to make fantastic mistakes
is the opportunity to discover
through fantastically doomed experiments
is a chance to go all out every week
and walk away knowing
if maybe it failed
it was not for lack of effort or desire

this is what I lacked at home
this is why I came
because when rent is involved
with “reputation” on the line

one can get so concerned with success that one cannot risk failure
if one cannot risk failure will there ever really be a chance of success

so when I talk about bruises and tears and you think
good grief, what madness is she onto now
I say yes, but
every day I show up to see
smiles of brave new friends and gifted caring mentors

every day we look at each other wide eyed because
even as the format settles and the routine flows
we know that we have no idea what discoveries and challenges the day holds
we have no idea how many waves we’ll ride over the next five hours

that we have less of an idea what kind of work we might make
because suddenly the possibilities are infinitely greater than before
because we are privileged to experience this particular hardship
which in the grand scheme of things, well…

because we will gain the opportunity to make magic
to create space within which we can be allowed to dream

so we look at each other and say
this our life
we are so lucky
now let’s get to work