I’ve been keeping tabs on the Gallim Dance company ever since I watched them perform at City Center’s “Fall for Dance” festival a couple years ago. They performed I Can See Myself in Your Pupil, and I just remember sort of waking up and leaning forward in my seat the second the dancers took the stage. Everything about the piece – the colorfully oddball costumes (the dancers looked a bit like overgrown children allowed to play dress-up and do their own hair), a Balkan Beatbox soundtrack (they always manage to sound like ½ party and ½ political protest), and the aggressively quirky and sometimes comedic choreography – gave me energy. It all felt a little weird and uninhibited, but not in the exclusionary “check out the freak in the corner” type of way. It was cathartic and joyful. I wanted to go along with them and be weird and uninhibited, too.
I saw BLUSH, Gallim’s newest work, at BAM last night and loved it even though the tone was completely different from Pupil. The athleticism and intensity of Andrea Miller’s choreography felt more serious this time around. Since last night I’ve been thinking a lot about the music choices and one of the most simple yet striking uses of body makeup I’ve ever seen (the dancers begin the performance covered in white body make up which slowly dissolves as they begin to sweat, revealing their flushed, “blushing” skin). I’ve read through the program a few times and listened to some interviews with the dancers.
I won’t even attempt to boil things down to a theme or attach a meaning to the piece, but what’s resonating with me is this idea of revealing oneself. Showing another person something of yourself, and the awareness that they are aware of you. (I swear, I’m not high.) Like, if you think about the involuntary process of blushing:
– You have awareness of something about yourself
– Another person/people become aware of that thing
– You become aware that they’re aware
– You blush. Whether you’re embarrassed, proud, nervous, excited…
Makes me think about the first time I shared the draft of my manuscript with another person. For years I’d been creating this little world that only I knew about. The characters and their stories and the places they lived in were so familiar yet private to me. I’ll never forget sitting down to get feedback from one of my early readers and suddenly feeling oddly exposed! It was exciting to bring someone into that world, but also a little nerve-wracking…and kind of embarrassing in a weird way. (I may have blushed.)
But, that moment of exposure is a necessary part of the creative process for people (like me) who want other people to read their books. Or look at their photos or listen to their song or perform their choreography.
And even though it can be personally scary, I love the idea of a moment where something you’ve created is no longer just yours. Where, in order for your thing to get better or become something more, you have to show it to another person and ask “Is this something? Can you see yourself in this thing I’ve created? Can you see yourself in me?”
Question: Ever had a BLUSH moment?