… interweaves improvised movement and spoken word story for creative expression, communication and healing. Within this committed and respectful somatic practice, we tend and attend the wealth of embodied resources within our personal and collective lives, and grow our kinship and belonging as part of the Earth.
That is how Oliva Corson defines what Body Tales is.
I started a monthly group and attended a Body Tales retreat last week-end. It took place at GEORGEOUS Salamander Camp in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Hooray!
Yes, another retreat, a tiny little one for only 2 1/2 days. This time it wasn’t about silence, this time it was about story telling, improvisation, 13 women + 1 man. We were in the middle of enormous redwoods, creeks, a stone labyrinth, 3 yurts, a pool and a hot tub. The hot tub in cold nights after a delicious, yummy cooked dinner was tremendously appreciated by most of us. Especially with all of these blinking stars above.
The redwoods around our little camp seemed to approve us being here. I dare to say I sensed a kind of harmony.
We were working many hours, outside in the forest, in the meadow on a big wide open glade and in the movement yurt. We did structured solo, duet and trio work. We invited everything that wanted to be invited, all creatures of the earth and other universes. We shared stories, sounds and dance in intimate little groups and each session culminated in a performative collage where one person at a time was bodytaling while the others were witnessing.
I watched some of the most touching little pieces I have ever seen in my life. So amazingly rich! Sometimes I held my belly cracking up, sometimes I cried and sobbed alternately, sometimes my perspective started to expand in unknown territory. I felt my body opening and my emotions soften. There was space to express freely and it was comforting not to know what comes next.
It is an a w a k e n i n g experience to see an improvised creation before one’s eye. At least for me. I identify myself more strongly with the performers, my heart beats, my hands get sweaty, my mouth dries out, my stomach cramps together or jumps up and down, even my skin seems to tremble. I am not looking out for mistakes, critic or judgment. There are no mistakes. Improvised material is like living life. If you dive into it and trust your impulses there is freedom arising and deep contentment may appear (no matter what material is presented!). In a “good” improvised performance I feel connected to the multi-layered emotional landscape of the performer on stage and ultimately to my own as well.
Art is not the purpose of a Body tale but it unfolds itself so incredibly natural. Almost by accident and the clarity is healing.
I have to say, sometimes I love all human beings!
My last sentence on Sunday evening before I drove home:
I can always choose to arrive in the here and move my emotions wherever they need to be moved.