Categories
Making & Moving Somatics & Hypnotherapy

Dream. Draw. Dance.

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Update: previously scheduled for April 2, 2020 this workshop has been postponed indefinitely. The idea has, for now, transformed into an online collective dream journal, and also includes a 20 minute guided somatic dream exploration (click “prompts/guidance” and scroll to the bottom). Please share this project with anyone who may be interested, the more dreams the merrier!

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This workshop combines therapeutic, expressive, and deep listening methods based in Process-Oriented Psychology (specifically the Dreambody approach defined by Arny Mindell), somatic awareness, and Butoh-inspired movement techniques. Through a combination of guided dialogue, drawing, and somatic movement exercises supported by the live improvised soundscapes of composer and ambient musician Mikronesia, participants will delve full-bodied into various aspects of their dreams in order to discover the hidden gifts present in even the most disturbing of nightmares. The evening will begin with an optional offering of Mugwort tea. 

The workshop is suitable for anyone with an interest in dream work and movement, and especially for those who benefit from artistic, relational, and group support when diving into the psyche and soma. 

NOTES/THINGS TO CONSIDER: 

In preparation for the workshop, you may want to begin or continue a practice of writing down your nighttime dreams. For the workshop, please come with one or two dreams you’d like to explore in depth. You can also select to work with an important dream (or the first dream) that you remember having as a child. Nightmares, disturbing dreams, and dreams that involve body parts or physical responses are especially welcome. 

While therapeutic in nature, this workshop is not group psychotherapy. For especially potent dream material, it may be wise to seek out additional support from individual therapists, analysts, counselors, bodyworkers, etc. 

Please wear comfortable clothing, layers recommended. Paper and basic drawing materials will be provided, but you may also wish to bring your own paper/notebook and favorite drawing materials. 

Some exercises will occur in partners/duos – feel free to come with somebody with whom you already know you’re comfortable sharing dreams, or feel free to come on your own ready to get to know somebody new! 

Window Room Accessibility Notes 

FACILITATOR-ARTIST BIOS: 

Victoria Maria Moyer is a transdisciplinary artist, facilitator, hypnotherapist, somatic bodyworker/therapist-in-training, gardener, and environmental enthusiast. Victoria’s facilitation methods are most influenced by trainings and experiences in Butoh, drama therapy and physical theatre, Polyvagal theory, somatic modalities of therapy, processwork, trauma-informed art-making, outdoor embodied education, and dance-witnessing modalities like Authentic Movement and Contemplative Dance. 

Mikronesia

Composer and sound artist Michael Reiley (Mikronesia) explores the relationship between present moment awareness, deep time and humanity’s personal connection through listening. Often creating his acousmatic works from field recordings processed and composed into multilayered, multi-textured sound worlds through a process he calls “sonic photography.” This process involves site-specific recordings of physical locations, re-imagined using digital processing techniques analogous to photographic development and collage. His aim is to reframe the everyday world both as grand statement that stretches out in all directions of time and as ephemeral instant of precious connection. His compositions have been strongly influenced by his daily practice of meditation, as well as Deep Listening–the integrative sound practice of composer Pauline Oliveros. In 2016 he completed a certification program in Deep Listening studying with Deep Listening pioneer Pauline Oliveros. 

Over the past four years, he has been traveling at artists residencies around the world in Brazil, Iceland, Germany, Mexico, Costa Rica, Thailand, and India gathering recording for the Echozoo project and teaching with his Deep Listening and Somatic based workshop, called Listening Bodies. He is currently a teacher at the Center for Deep Listening at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.  He is also studying to become a certified therapeutic musician with the Music for Healing and Transition Program, which serves the ill and dying with live music for healing, or life-to-death transitioning in hospice.
http://mikronesia.com

Categories
Making & Moving

Sorrow and Jest at the Second Annual “Feast of Fools”

Written and previously published in Dec. 2018


SEND IN THE CLOWNS, 

what “mostpeople fear most:

a mystery for which i’ve

no word except alive

–that is, completely alert

and miraculously whole;

with not merely a mind and a heart

but unquestionably a soul—”

 (E.E. Cummings, “one winter afternoon”)

SEND IN THE FOOLS, 

alive in “vulnerability and openness,

easily destroyed by the world,”

      (C. Collins, “The Vision of the Fool and other writings”)

alive through “jests and madness that make the clergy a mockery”

      (A report on Feast of Fools, 1194, cited in Jung’s Collected Works)

SEND THEM ON HALLOWEEN

TO TEACH US ABOUT DEATH AND HER RULES. 


Death and Delight

As I walked down North Philip Street on October 30th towards the Open Kitchen Sculpture Garden, I was greeted by two clowns. They wore colorful layers, dresses, shawls, hats, and of course, bright red noses. They asked, simply, “Feast?” I nodded, smiled, and proceeded. That was the only english word I’d hear from a clown that night. 

Once inside the garden, a live accordion melody knocked some distant door of familiarity in my brain. I approached a group near the campfire, but was stopped by the heart-wrenching wailing of a clown donning a black mourning veil. Back stooped in grief and hands shaking, they held out a silver tray of hors d’oeuvres, namely two long gummy worms. I didn’t feel a bit guilty for laughing at what I now understood to be the beginnings of a funeral service. Who knew death and delight could go so well together? 

Memories and Pumpkin Guts

“Ah, cota hruyts mawah poh. Ah. Zleep Slop. Zleep Slop!” The clergy host called the first guest, Zleep Slop, to the podium. Through tears, laughter, and gibberish rambling, they recounted memories of the deceased clown Phudenhart, while audience members “aww”-ed and giggled. As the host called up each clown for a total of seven eulogies, I realized that although I didn’t get all the specifics through the gibberish, I was surprised how much I was able to get through our more primal and/or universal realm of communication. 

One clown named Nerm the Worm was so overcome by emotion that they climbed into the casket to kiss the feet of Phudenhart. One clown had a very special offering inside a box but couldn’t find the key to open it. One clown named Shmetlana had a bag full of bags full of bags, and in the teeniest bag, they pulled out a stuffed animal that they offered to Phudenhart. One clown named Babah Selia grumbled their way through a newspaper obituary and made fun of Phudenhart. All the clowns and audience booed. One clown named Sneff brought a pumpkin, tried to carve it with a spoon, broke the spoon, carved it with something that looked like a miniature sand shovel, ate some pumpkin guts, dropped some guts onto Phudenhart, and then left the pumpkin, with a wig on top, by Phudenhart’s head. Even in such an idiosyncratic offering, Sneff captivated the audience with their exuberance and innocent vulnerability. Plus, in order to honor the spirit of a dead clown, it only makes sense to have offerings that break with societal “appropriateness” and effortlessly combine sorrow with jest. As an audience member, I felt totally included in the play-world, largely because of director Donna Oblongata’s choice to have the audience be literally part of the funeral service, but also because of the clowns’ openness and interactivity.

Sacrilegious and Sanctified

“Feast of Fools” refers to a Medieval celebration of power inversion, whereby low-ranking folks took on the roles of dignified priests, and the high-ranking clerks could be “seen wearing masks and monstrous visage at the hours of office,” (Max Harris, Sacred Folly).  Not surprisingly, the church eventually banned these festivities, which were likely inspired by earlier pagan traditions. 

The theme of power inversion plays out during Philadelphia’s Feast of Fools. Most obviously, we’ve got a clown as a dignitary inviting other clowns to deliver gibberish eulogies that undo expectations of acceptable ways to memorialize somebody. Donna states on her website that she is “committed to theatre as a vital and populist medium.” As someone who often declines attending shows due to lack of funds or wariness of kinds of theatre traditions a piece might perpetuate, I appreciate theatre that is “for the people.” Theatre that blurs the old binary of “low art” and “high art.” Feast of Fools was accessible, community-centric, and a lovely combination of chaos and elevation into magic and metaphor. 

Death and Delusion

In the final portion, the clowns invited us to sit with them at a dinner table. Sneff led us through difficult-to-repeat whispers and tirades of prayers, which were interrupted by outbursts of tears demanding consolation and Zleep Slop drinking from their hilariously gigantic flask. The series of interruptions and annoyances led to the outbreak of a food fight involving lots of shaving cream pies. Thankfully, audience members were given complimentary ponchos.

The twist: Phudenhart doesn’t know they are dead! During the eulogies, Phudenhart cuddled the toys, waved to the audience from their casket, gave Babah Selia the middle finger, and seemed altogether alive. During dinner, they happily observed the festivities. But Phudenhart can’t evade the reality of their death for long. A skeleton-costumed being hovered all around Phudenhart, making the infamous “come hither” gesture. Phudenhart ran, hid, and even subverted power by pointing back at the skeleton and making the same gesture. Alas, inevitably, the show ends with Phudenhart submitting and climbing back into the casket, which is carried away by the clowns into a puff of smoke. 


“one winter afternoon

( at the magical hour

when is becomes if )

a bespangled clown

standing on eighth street

handed me a flower.”

 (E.E. Cummings, “one winter afternoon”)

The Pochinko clowns, wizards of ritual and joy, certainly gifted us a “magical hour” at this year’s Feast of Fools, where contemplating death and loss went hand in hand with total aliveness.