When I was growing up in the Catholic faith, we were taught that each of us were part of the “Body of Christ”. My child-mind wondered if I were part of Christ’s knee or maybe a finger… In time, I recognized that the different sections and systems of the physical body contain different cells and perform different functions but each is individually important to the greater whole. Metaphorically, this parallels the community within the Catholic Church’s “Body of Christ.” And, similarly, this is true for the KYL/D ensemble. Each of the dance artists bring their unique voice, background, and strengths to the greater whole of the company. This week, Liu Mo and Annielille Gavino share their perspectives on how Faith Project has deepened their insight into CHI Awareness Practice and their relationship to their dancing bodies. Both dance artists are immigrants. Mo and Ani carry with them dance and religious traditions from China and the Philippines, respectively.
Jessica: Has the process of Faith Project (the Story Circles, rehearsals, and reflections) shaped your understanding of Kun-Yang's CHI Awareness Practice?
Liu Mo: The work we made for Faith Project isn’t just about creating dance moves. It is fascinating that every individual dancer has their own faith, belief, and way to be honest, and we work together in the “unique language” of KYL/D’s Dance Technique - CHI Awareness Practice - to represent all of them as a group. To define how to represent our “unique language” on stage isn’t easy. It takes time to discuss and practice as a group and we learn each other’s faith respectfully on top of that.
Annielille: I would say that I learned that faith is beyond dogma..that it is about the spirit. It is not a cage, a house, or an institution, but an energy that is beyond that… that unifies us with the instinct of love and goodness.
Jessica: How has your own relationship to your body changed during this process? (For clarification, “body” can refer to the physical body, mental body, emotional body, or spiritual body. They are all part of the individual’s Body).
Liu Mo: The work requires my mind to be extremely focused to connect the relationships with my own body, other dancers, music, and the feeling that we want to create for ourselves and our audiences. I don’t know how much my physical body has been changed, but the work was definitely been a great mental training for me.
Annielille: I know that dance and my body is not simply a tool or a machine but a vessel of good energy, a temple of wisdom.
We’ll continue exploring CHI Awareness Practice and the process of Faith Project through the lens of the dance artists in the next few posts. In the meantime, get your tickets to one of KYL/D’s upcoming Open Studio Showings to see and hear their stories in person!
~ 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.