“Lin’s works are artistic adventures that captivate on many levels. Much of the movement and music draws on group ritual and meditative states of consciousness. The collective energy emanates around the room, and if you let yourself go with his flow, you don’t just watch it – you feel it, too.” ~The Philadelphia City Paper
As I watch a rehearsal of KYL/D’s Faith Project, I’m reminded of this review from 2011. The company still has several months to refine and more deeply define the performance of Faith Project, but now, the work already emanates the feeling of the experiences shared during the story circles:
- the support of the diverse community gathered;
- the nervousness of sharing a vulnerable, vital part of the self;
- the fear of judgement;
- the joy of acceptance;
- the gratitude of being seen, being heard, and reciprocating the gift through listening;
- the connection and personal commitment to an entity larger than self.
How is this feeling state created?
The dancers’ percussive movements vibrate in the space. They move as individuals, then as one large body. The dancers not only “draw upon… ritual and meditative states of consciousness” but they also create this. I’m reminded of specific moments in the story circles that mirror what I see in the dance:
In Buddhism, meditating on the circle as a symbol of “no beginning and no end,” and the merging of a one into a larger ONE (Anna in the First Story Circle).
Walking, stomping, and moving as an individual within a community during the Native American circle dances allowed Ellen to “choose to surrender to begin anew” (Second Story Circle).
Dania “meld(s) myself with other people when I’m singing” Islamic prayers (Third Story Circle).
The Story Circle participants spoke of using rituals specific to their religions to enter into a space where the human and the divine meet. Kun-Yang talks about CHI Awareness Practice as the “in between spaces”. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why religion and CHI Awareness Practice are so challenging to define. Kun-Yang reflects, “When you love, you can’t describe what it is, but you can feel it.”
How is this feeling state created? According to the Story Circles:
Trusting the self within a greater entity (whether that be a God or a community).
“Choose(ing) to surrender”.
And according to The Philadelphia City Paper:
“Let(ing) yourself go”.
As we move into the holiday season - a time of reflection and ritual - are you more aware of “meditative states of consciousness?” How do you enter into (and navigate/ accept/ feel) your own “in between spaces”?
~ Jessica Warchal-King
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Major support for the Faith project has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts.