Fabulous Animal

I’ve been invited to take part in six online somatic sessions as a beginning to the creation of a new performance work by Zosia Jo of Joon Dance. This follows on from Zosia’s amazing 2019/20 solo research project, Fabulous Animal.

“We will use imagination and sensory proprioception to create a felt sense of inhabiting an animalistic body, which is at once completely embodied and completely fantastical. In basic terms, we play (very seriously) at being animals! ” Zosia Jo – Fabulous Animal

Initially developed as an ecofeminist re-wilding practice its focus is on reclaiming the body from imposed gender norms and empowering the mover to make choices about how they inhabit space. It’s about pleasure, power, instinct and radical rest.

We will practice the score in the weekly Zoom sessions, moving and drawing in an open and autonomous way and then discussing our experiences.At the end of this process, the team will be inviting some people to continue the creative process of Fabulous Animal – as performers in the live show, or as collaborators on a short film.

Taking part at this stage is useful for me as, having applied for funding previously to collaborate with Zosia on an embodied drawing project, I can reflect on how to move forward with it, re-visiting and reviewing my idea over the course of the six weeks. The themes in Fabulous Animal – ecofeminism, somatic bodywork, therianthropy etc, resonate very strongly with me.

Week One

Twenty two participants. A four part score to explore and meet where ever you are at, as much in your body as you can. The first part of the story is about connecting with the breath, landing in the body, sensing into the space inside you. Be aware of the ground. Let the breath ease out corners, send the breath anywhere tight or sore, let the cleansing breath clear out stale areas and expand and soften. Let the breath move you – a sigh, a stretch, ease you into an opening, expanding the whole self from within.

Exploring the edges, carving out space for yourself, discovering the landscape of your skin. Are you in contact with any objects, textures? What if you were the first human in the world and you were discovering yourself for the first time. Find out something about yourself, discover how your body moves, the joints, the mechanics. What changes as you move? Exploring your edges, your boundaries, a soft electronic beat.

Bring your awareness to your tailbone. Feel where you would have had your tail. Now feel it regrowing, what is it like – does it have fur, sequins, feathers or scales, how long is it, how does your tail move and how does it allow the rest of you to move, what does it sense in the space behind and around you.

Growing just above your ears are your antlers like antennae feeling into the space above, do they move, what are they made of, how do you carry them. Move with these two opposites: tail at one end, antlers at the other. And add one more feature: grow a pair of wings from between your shoulder blades. Now play with these three elements…

As a person who lives a lot in my head, to connect to the body through visualisation and breath work is grounding. By focusing on internal physical perception and experience, I am able to give physical form to a feeling or emotion using simple materials: a pen, a few sticks, some thread. It’s surprising how imagining animalistic elements can change sensory perception and awareness of the way one moves. I found myself leading with my head, aware of balancing my antlers, then crouching bird-like, lifting up onto my toes, lighter as my wings lifted me, balanced by my tail that snaked out behind me. I loved the sense of play and of being entirely in the moment like a child, seeing the space in a whole new way.

looseness

balance point

elements – earth, air

flow.

swaying

unfolding. instinct

tipping

extra sensory awareness

play. helix energy. flux

One thought on “Fabulous Animal

  1. Pingback: Expansion | Sarah J Featherstone

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