Can’t miss the boat if you never knew it was there

Couple weeks back I bailed on the blog
Couldn’t even bring myself to put up some
stock photo of a cute little tyke ‘gone fishin’

It was bad you guys
or so I thought. 

We’d been working on Lecoq’s Seven Levels of Tension (or Energy).


the first two are completely introspective
nothing exists outside of the body
the gaze is completely internal

the third, the economical, begins to look out
from there on the effect is cumulative

Alert (is there a fire?)
Command (There’s a fire)!
Opera (FIRE!) until
the immobility of Tragedy

That week’s devised assignment
our first solo piece

To create a character arc
a story
starting from the first tension
working through the levels to the seventh final level

Paola gave us guide lines, suggestions
‘Work from the Levels to find the story’
‘Have a clear topographical map’
‘Clear narrative arc’

I was so ready
not gonna do what I normally do
not gonna fall into my normal traps

Day one of the devised work hour
everyone is bouncing around the space
trying to move through the levels

Everyone was shouting

Horrible nasty things

Because when we learned the sixth level
when we learned that ‘operatic’ quality of energy
it was taught to us through the language of


first out into the ether then with a partner
first without listening to each other and then in partnership
people were getting ugly

there was no pleasure
to make a good shouting match

It just seemed like we were supposed to be as gross as possible
and I wanted nothing to do with it

Instead I went home
I cleared the living dining room space

and I moved

I practiced my movements
I put music on

and I moved

With no judgement
no horrible critical voice

I moved

I had ideas about my piece
ones that didn’t involve shouting and anger 

I was so happy

…maybe in the back of my head I knew I was missing something… maybe in the back of my head I knew I was avoiding the task at hand…

but I was so happy

I could see a studio space of my own
where I worked every day
where I trained
where I did research
performance development

I was so happy

until Thursday came around
it was my turn to do my piece
and suddenly my turn was done
and there was this strange silence
and there was nothing to say

there was nothing to say
about what I had done because
there was nothing really to talk about

all the work had been done in my head
and that is one hell of a thing to transmit
with no rehearsal

no trial just error

I sat back and watched
as the rest of the class went through their pieces
it occurred to me

I was the only one who missed the point

and I wanted to die
I didn’t want to die
I wanted to crawl into a hole

because I didn’t get how I could have had such a great week
how I could have been so far off the mark

that night I had a panic attack at the Green Mill
a beautiful old prohibition era swing club
I lasted maybe twenty minutes or so before I flew the club
ran to the car
and wept

I sobbed

for as long as I’d been in the club
like a dam had broke
like the story I’d been writing
for the art collective reading I wrote about
in my last post

that weekend lasted forever
I kept finding myself amazed
at how long such short time periods can feel
then we were back to school
just another monday

no one said anything to me though

I waited for it
I anticipated it
I expected it


just on with the program
more lessons
more triumphs
more hurdles
another creation

and then suddenly
I’m on my way to the airport

suddenly I’m home…
well, I’m in Toronto

I haven’t been ‘home’
for over a year and a half
haven’t slept in my own bed
for over a year and a half

I run around for four days
seeing family and friends
at spas and roasts and roller derbies
each minute jam packed and me

because I’d been worried

about having to try and explain
what we were doing at The School

because clearly
I didn’t need to


nothing like a little distance
a little reflection of one’s current self

in the mirror of
family and friends
to help a gal
see all the great changes that have happened
over but a brief few months

now I’ve got two weeks off

two week
to try not to forget everything that my body has learned
two weeks
to process everything my brain has encountered

in a small town in the middle of Canada
with some of my favourite bests

last week someone finally asked me

how was the solo piece for you
I chocked a little in disbelief


it was fucking miserable
I feel like I threw up all over the place
I feel like I’ve been cleaning up the vomit all week

and then she said
man, watching yours
was so wild
hearing your explanation
was so good
she said

yours I’ll remember 

When I finally worked up the nerve to talk to Paola
the week after the solo pieces
she asked me if I was able to find space
from myself in the moment
from my emotionally based reactions

I laughed
isn’t that the question
I said

I just feel like I missed the boat so badly
I didn’t even know the boat existed
in the first place

she smiled and said
well then you didn’t miss it did you

and the world kept turning