It has been a very full forty-eight hours. I feel like Tamar and I have accomplished more in two days here in Spain then we ever could have imagined. This is in large part due to the generosity and dedication of our wonderful hosts at Balletvale+, who bring not only their incredible knowledge of dance to the table, but whom have created a space so filled with love and compassion for everyone who come through their doors, in particular the young people with disabilities we have met, and we will be forever grateful for their generosity.
Since we began on Monday morning, we have taught four classes and introduced our work, including “Body Scripting” (Tamar’s term for her unique choreographic approach) and “Shaking” (our term for the release technique we used during our body work sessions), to dozens of children with CP and a small but dedicated cadre of dancers and physical therapists.
In addition, this evening we gave a talk to parents, children and therapists at an organization called FUVANE/Foundacion Valenciana de Neurorehabilitacion.
Every day brings new challenges and discoveries- “Eureka moments”- both for ourselves and all the participants involved. What’s most exciting, is how quickly people of any age or nationality, are able to grasp the concept of identifying a part of their body, focusing in on it and exploring that particular part(s) through movement- be it their sternum, their two lowest ribs on their right side, or the space between their elbow and their belly button. The body is full of infinite possibilities and potential. In addition to choreographing for the students and giving them more awareness of their own bodies, we ask them to become choreographers, and develop movement scripts for people in the class- children and adults alike. This not only serves to reinforce the ideas, but gives them a sense of agency and ownership over the process. Y es muy divertido, verdad? Si!
Once we are finished with our classes with the students, and after a lunch break of delicious Valencian cuisine, Tamar and I meet with the dancers, physical therapists and dancers from Balletvale+ (along with a wonderful group of interpreters), to talk more in depth about our work and process.
There is a special alchemy happening here with this exchange, the impact of which I’m sure we won’t be able to fully measure for sometime. I wish I could go into all the exciting, minute detail, but there are only so many hours in the day, a lot of work to be done and a six hour time difference. For now, I promise to keep posting and am looking forward to sharing this experience with you.
Gregg & Tamar