So...What is a Movement Think Tank? Before I participated, I wasn't too sure. It is definitely an event that requires the physical doing to help understand. For LEIMAY's upcoming piece in September, "Becoming-Corpus," Ximena has been thinking up new possibilities for movement exploration. As a way to incorporate the many people who may not be exposed to performance, she has asked perfect strangers [but in this case, friends (or friends of friends) of LEIMAY] to venture into a movement workshop. The workshop includes an introduction of LEIMAY's previous and current work, followed by a discussion on the idea of "becoming," and finishing with an improvisational movement exercise and investigation. Finally, we self-reflect on the evening, writing down our instant thoughts of the 2 hours that, to me, seemed to fly.
Simply put, the recipe for any movement think tank would require an intimate group of people who may or may not know each other, a facilitator and a willingness to explore movement.
As a participant, my experience was radically different than the bystander role I'll most probably assume in the future. However, the night was too big to contain in a word. Some that come to mind are: exhilarating, effortless, challenging, stimulating, exploratory, whole.
The movie was great, and our group was the first to see the new LEIMAY animated logo! That was exciting. It also re-contextualized LEIMAY's work for me. It gave me an understanding of what story I would be adding to.
The conversation on "becoming" excited and took me by surprise. What started as an open forum on the very lofty idea of what it means to "become" transgressed into a long trail of discovering new ideas of the word. What does it mean in a physical context? To convalesce? Over expansive periods of time? How are the mind, soul and body connected to this idea of becoming? Is becoming instantaneous? All of these questions were answered from several different mouths and voices and words. It gave me an appreciation for the varied and collective individual truths that we all carry with us. Hearing all these voices fostered a mental bond that led us into our movement exercises.
I'm pretty new to the LEIMAY community, so when Ximena next asked that we massage a partner that we did not know very well, I was in a position to pair with anyone. The massage was nice, quick and helped me to calm my body after such a mentally active discourse. Then, Ximena surprised us by expanding on the exercise; now every person was on one body at a time, loosening their muscles and picking them up whilst massaging. The experience of doing was sometimes exhausting and otherwise indulgent. I specifically remember Ximena commanding "Connect! Connect! Always stay connected!" whenever some strangler would become detached from the working body. We formed a bond as we would pick up these near strangers, rub, pat and squeeze all over their bodies and watch them emerge from their massage adventure.
Being massaged was completely other worldly. My body has never been so carefully over stimulated. Some 6 or 7 sets of hands focusing on releasing tension...all you can do is give in and float.
After the exercise, Ximena told us to move according to how we remembered the massage. Favortie part, worst part, the after-feeling. We moved as the impulse took us, as if it was our last moments to express how free the exercise had left us. Time was up, and the think tank was over. I felt full. My body was loose and useful. I had shared my personal beliefs and my body's expression. I could see Ximena was elated at her research. The night served its purpose and I feel everyone in the room learned something about their bodies, about "becoming" and about collective curiosity.
I can't wait for the next one!