I got a tremendous opportunity to work with some of the city’s bright creative and caring youth leaders as the Dance Teaching Artist for Citi Performing Arts Center's Teen Leadership Council's spring vacation program.
That vacation week opened the day after the Boston Marathon bombing. The other facilitators and I decided that we had to help teens learn how to dispel fear. As one of the girls shared, that rehearsal room in the basement of the Wang Theatre was their safe space. I decided to affirm that a safe space is a sacred space because it is a place where fear is banished with intention. In that week I also wanted to convey that creating such safe spaces is something definitely within their reach. I wanted to reinforce techniques they were learning and already had in their repertoire as natural leaders in their community. One way certainly was to figure out ways to keep fear banished.
As a contemporary temple dancer, I call on story-telling as a method to explore with knowledge and intuition a way to counter ignorance, a root of fear. I recommended story-telling fables through dance as a technique. Many Teen Council members wanted to create performance and theatrical pieces for children in their communities. I helped them to articulate that animal bodies abstract everyday human interactions and open possibilities for resolution of real life situations, simply because in animal bodies, we are released from what we know as humans and open up our minds to inspiration as animals. Their intended child audiences would also be most receptive to fables, because children are both naturally drawn to animals and look at life events more concretely. Youth learned about working through challenges by dedicating themselves to seeing through the fables of conflict resolution and getting excited after witnessing for themselves the magic of the dance theater process in obtaining meaningful results that are viable as real life solutions.
These youth are brilliant. I hope that in the short span of three days they were able to glean the power of my meditative movement techniques in untangling the roots of problems, so they can take it back into their work with their communities. I have every faith that with continued guidance they can hone their impressive community leadership skills and brilliantly perform hopeful messages in dance song and poetry.