The Soul Of Storytelling

Body Tales is a way of accessing our Personal Stories through our bodies. I first saw it in San Francisco many years ago. At one point, one of the performers left the stage and went over stage left and joined the other performers. They encircled her and gave her a group hug. I never forgot that. The sense of being a part of a tribe. Of coming back to the tribe and being embraced.

A few weeks ago, I moved mountains to get to one of the group’s weekend retreats. Most of the work is done just with women or once a week throughout the year in San Francisco.
Olivia Corson developed the work. Sylvia Castro has been with her for a large chunk of that time. All I can say is that the work filled in a lot of holes for me. If my personal expressive practice was a puzzle, Body Tales filled in many of the missing pieces.

Storytelling is an integral part of the human experience. We’ve been doing it since our beginnings here on planet Earth. As we’ve evolved, so has our story telling. Now that we are in the technology age, we tend to talk a lot. About ideas. The concept of moving and making sounds as part of the story is virtually non existent. For me, those aspects just transform the process. I watched one person after another get up and share their stories, and I sat there mesmerized. Because the stories were so real, so unique, and emerged from the person’s beingness rather than some concept.

Merce Cunningham just passed away. It was a huge loss to humanity. The man was instrumental in the direction that dance has taken. After spending a week honoring the loss and grieving, I have to say that I was never a fan. I just have never loved watching movement just for movement’s sake. I need some juice. Why are they doing what they are doing? One of Merce’s signatures was that the choreography, the musical score and the costumes didn’t come together until dress rehearsal or the first performance.

It’s a great idea. But so what?

Anyhow, Body Tales is on the other side of the spectrum. The work is very personal. And I love it.

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