In comparison with recent weeks, my time spent between January and May creating with the Leimay ensemble felt a bit like a long introduction to old members of an estranged family. There was a clear connection between the ensemble, but the connection may have thrived only in the desired destination. It was the journey that confused me (I'll speak for myself). In the beginning I could sense everyone's will to contribute to a whole, but now I realize that not everyone understood just how to communicate their ideas through the language we had been training with. Finally, at the end of May, we were given an opportunity to stash ourselves away together on a distant mountainside, all with one common purpose and it has made all the difference.
Stripping away almost every possible distraction, the ensemble was allowed to work 9-10 hour days in pursuit of defining BORDERS through our recently acquired movement vocabulary. Id say that what could have been considered our only distraction was FOOD. But even the process of feeding ourselves became an incredibly collaborative and nourishing routine.
For all my life I have found the evolution of human biology to be a miraculous constant in an otherwise unpredictable world. What you put in, is what you get out; into the head, into the heart, into the stomach. Eating is such a necessity for ALL humans, it's a driving force in evolution in general. The fact that people ABSOLUTELY NEED to fuel themselves with nutritious food can be described as both an incredibly private, individualistic or even selfish task (at its extreme), but it can also be described as an incredibly social and unifying phenomenon. It's probably just an odd quirk of mine, but when people choose to share meals together it has always made my heart smile (even if only somewhere deep down). For seven long days, the Leimay ensemble collaborated on jet-fuel meals for the rocket engines that drove our rehearsals. We bonded over prepping, cooking, organizing and finally - CONSUMING! All of that can be rolled into an image that will live on not only in the memory of my stomach but also in my heart (even if only somewhere deep down).
Post fueling, the ensemble gradually balanced out to a level platform, one where all eyes could see in all directions. When given the time, the energy, and the SPACE to focus on communicating, we were able to leave Mt Tremper with a skeleton of a future Leimay premier where before there was only scattered bones.
Now back in Brooklyn, I can see the collaborative process ignite so much faster than in the past. Not only is there far less fear to express, but there is far more freedom in conversation - through words and through movement. It is surely a freedom that will build upon the skeleton we came home with in an exponential way.