Yesterday I danced Rosemary Lee’s Threaded Fine.
I’m still holding the threads inside my body and feel deeply affected by the experience. I’m also scared that it will all fade away too quickly and that I will forget. Which is partly why I am writing about it.
From the moment I heard about Malta forming a National Dance Company quite a few years ago, I was more than a little intrigued. Dance formed a crucial part of my childhood and teenage years but I put it aside at the age of around 17 although it never quite left me. I went to one of Zfin Malta’s first shows, Erbgħa (4) at the Astra Theatre in Gozo in 2015 and fell a little bit in love. Five years later, I find myself dancing in my favourite Zfin project to date, which feels more than a little surreal and definitely a dream come true for me.
The Dance Of Life
Starting from the youngest dancer (age 8) and moving in ascending age order to the oldest (age 76), Threaded Fine is a ceremony that each dancer performed as themself. In our consecutive solos we all went through the same cycles; movements born out of Rosemary’s verbal instructions and occasional imagery. We followed cosmic orbits that eventually led inside our bodies, we shimmered like fish, we treaded like bears, we brightly woke up the world, we made ourselves dissolve at the edge of the circle, we ran, we allowed ourselves to be truly, authentically seen in our vulnerability, we let our dance die and eventually led the next dancer into the circle to take over. The dance felt real, necessary, timely and important, accessing deeper parts of myself each time I danced.
Rosemary created what definitely felt like the most level and democratic playing field I have ever worked in. Young, old, professional and novice, we were all treated with utmost respect, appreciation and attention. We started each session in circle, we learnt to celebrate the different ways we all move, we were encouraged to learn from each other. Rosemary’s facilitation and hosting created a safe holding space that coaxed out our best.* It’s not often that I fully trust a structure. I struggled at many points in the process as I learnt the movements, the cues and explored my own body’s way of interpreting them. The overall feeling of care, however, made it impossible for me to cling to my doubts and I just had to fully trust instead. The result of this trust was a bigger reward than I could have ever imagined.
Singing Our Song Out Into The World
I felt lovingly encouraged to be unapologetically myself in my dance. To be more deliberate, more curious, more brave. What I learnt about my dance applies fully to the rest of my life. Slow down, soften, allow yourself to feel, look out, let go fully. My very own set of reminders for living a fully present, fully embodied life. ** The gratitude I have for all this is endless.***
*I really wish more leaders had the ability to create exactly this dynamic. **A Podcast by Tara Brach on the subject, that the wonderful Florinda pointed me to on performance day, helping me really drop into my body. ***None of this would have been possible without a very wonderful man called Jo who patiently brought our little Robin for breastfeeding dates during rehearsals and gave me his full love and support throughout this experience. Grazzi ħafna!