Advocating for an All Inclusive Dance Action for everyone

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Curious Dreamer. Dulu, Kini dan Akan Datang

OMBAK-OMBAK turun menurun Storm In A Box

My journey into researching Dreams as a movement and performance study began as I started exploring and creating solo works. Such as Berkumandangnya Qasidah, Stirrings and Feast of Fools. At that period of time while I was absorbed in creating those works, I was not at all conscious that my creative process were indirectly a kind of predictive journey symbolizing signs of what was coming (akan datang) - the future happenings that were going to take place in my future. As the years passed by, and as I reflected and gazed back into time, I realize that the emotional and creative pre-experiencing and process of dramatizing my inner thoughts and dreams into my solo performances, was not only an accidental and unconscious journey that was telling me what lies ahead, but it was also coincidentally shadowing and shaping out the chapters of my life. As though offering clues of the coming challenges that I will have to endure towards learning and discovering balance and harmony. It may sound totally absurd to you. And I am not at all suggesting that I am a fortune teller or a clairvoyance through my artistic work. And I am not able to explain nor wish to share with you what were the choreographic signs and codes that I chose to use, that could convince me or you to believe my theory today - as I am myself trying to codify the secrets of performance and a performer's state of being. Even though at the time of creation - I was probably not knowing what the future holds or that I was actually weaving my future through my dances. I was in the moment of creative process, or what performance theories refer to as an artistic experience of 'dream-travel'. When I look back at the choreographies, some essence of it was realized. For example, Stirrings (created in 2002), and within a year after creating it. I found myself the asian washer woman, working in homes, cleaning to survive and provide myself and my daughter money - as we were cut off from any financial help when I began to plead for separation and divorce. And years after, I experienced in my life the 'mahsuri tragedy', that was the very root of my choreography in Feast of Fools - Copenhagen version (2003) - (of course in reality minus the hukum mati, the sumpah and death). My tragedy was not as catastrophic as Mahsuri, but even so it was almost as dramatic. I made it through a struggle for divorce, amidst accusations and attempts to slander me and my role as the wife, and as a mother to my daughter (which is regretfully a common way for most divorced man, regardless of religion and race - to continue digging, accusing or find every little fault of mothers, even if they have to lie or exaggerate every detail that could make the mother look bad to use it against her so as to gain absolute custody, and cut her from her rights to share in the care and upbringing of her children).

The choreography Feast of Fool focuses on how a woman continues to fight to defend the truth despite the lies, the taboos, the accusations(fitnah) that are made against her by evoking and awakening the rebellious power within her.

Through my work in Berkumandangnya Qasidah, I expressed a being holding on to her faith, through hardships, struggles and challenges, the being has faith in Allah, and by believing, with wings in hand,... the being continues on to recite the Dua Kalimah Syahadah seeking for the rightful path towards transcendence.

And many years after, today I find myself standing strong and still, and in perfect balance - still living and still dream working. Observing my past works and tracing back the path I have chosen to take in life, has given me the opportunity to be grateful and thankful for having this third eye, to reflect on my creative works that opens up a dimension within me to receive a revelation or even to stir a revolution........ allowing me to embody courage, joy and passion of recovery and change.

Many years after those works were created and performed (dulu), it has inspired me further to dwell and investigate research on the power of dreams. Dream as a message from our unconscious self expressed in codes. Dreams as our inner wishes and hopes for the present (kini) and the future (akan datang), if you can dream, you can do. And dreams as a wish-fulfillment, that can lead to the creative integration of the personality ... a spiritual healing, a transcendence and change. So there I was and will always be, manifesting and pursuing my dreams as well as help others. I was curious if I could use this theory of dream travel, dream power, dream journey through the practice of dance/creative arts as a way to outreach individuals and community, to provide all people regardless of race, religion, age, status, needs and abilities, a platform to unlock God's potential to shape positive social integration, spirituality, balanced health and mental wellness.

I continued walking through the years from 2002 with curiosity - eager to seize on making sense and impressions of dreams in dance, as a magical space and moment, a state of the human journey seeking, struggling and grasping the beautiful sublime of the essence and being, looking for heaven (syurga) or wherever the destination of our dream that God is leading us to and pointing us towards. Expressing human courage and passion to work, fight and strive through the unknown and the living. With that, Dream Trilogy was created between 2004 - 2006 at Codarts in Rotterdam to test drive my theory, Jadi-Jadian was inspired from this curiosity. 7 woman dreaming, each one narrating their journey towards finding the warrior or hero within them. I was exploring Carl Jung's theory;

that everyone in the world is born with the same basic subconscious model of what a "hero" is, or a "mentor" or a "quest," and that's why people who don't even speak the same language can enjoy the same stories.

Jung developed his idea of archetypes mostly as a way of finding meaning within the dreams and visions of the mentally ill: if a person believes they are being followed by a giant apple pie, it's difficult to make sense of how to help them. But if the giant apple pie can be understood to represent that person's shadow, the embodiment of all their fears, then the psychotherapist can help guide them through that fear, just as Yoda guided Luke on Dagoba. STAR WARS - The hero's journey. If you think of a person as a computer and our bodies as "hardware," language and culture seem to be the "software." Deeper still, and apparently common to all homo sapians, is a sort of built-in "operating system" which interprets the world by sorting people, places, things and experiences into archetypes.

I wanted the opportunity of conducting the Trilogy as a built-in operating system. Jadi-Jadian was an attempt to discovering the archetypes in movement within the 7 woman's dream, and how in a group process could use the authentic and metaphoric elements of the movement to transcend ourselves from the Wounded-Healer Paradigm, by associating ourselves with the hero journey of these archetypes. A process I found that I could use on the performers to lead them towards making a dream dance and choreography as a performance 'therapeutic' experience not only for themselves but hopefully for the audience too. It was my first attempt to create a group dance with dancers since my last group work was created with Shakti Dances. And a year later, followed by Guna-Guna 2005. Turun - Menurun 2008 was to be the end of the Trilogy,... but till today I am still convinced that Turun - Menurun that was created for Storm In A Box - A dance installation produced by Ombak-Ombak has a further journey to take, and what was made was only a skeleton since there was a dateline for production. The choreography needed more in-depth study and time for me to gaze and reflect on a shared dream - of the people I work with for the choreography. And I have yet to continue seeking how to apply this dream process with the performers to complete and make a final closure of the research. I am also eager to embark on a different journey with Dream Trilogy as a process of compiling Jadi-Jadian, Guna-Guna and Turun-Menurun into a choreographic work that promotes inclusion, and eventually a celebration of shared dreams and hopes for a new community of dance expressing power, identity and belonging - that stirs a change to include everyone, and where each and every person is counted.

Reflecting on my early days of solo choreography, I as the Shakti warrior, the Urban Shaman inspiring a group and community,.... a dream worker and activist,.. I will continue holding on to the Senoi Tribe principles of dream theory. That we, can learn to control our dreams to reduce fear and increase pleasure and passion,... that dreams can be shaped and controlled through positive group experience as a source of wisdom and personal growth and with hope for positive transformation. And so I will continue dreaming and for this year in April 2009, I initiated and embarked myself into another Dream project, and this time produced by BOLD in collaboration with Disted-Stamford Penang. We had on our team great creative friends and Play Therapist Dr. Tan Liok Ee, Priscilla Ho, Leong Min See and the facilitators Ho Sheau Fung, Junita Batubara, Yasu, M.Hanif, Ni'sya, Aida Redza, Kang Hooi Keng, Joie Koo, Doris Lee, Eng Hee Ling and not forgetting Ombak-Ombak Lee and Advising Consultant Alex Chew, in producing Dream A Dream (DaD) PHASE 1 Pilot project - a creative process program that promotes inclusive arts among young children of different needs and abilities.
I dedicated this DaD proposal and initiation of the program through BOLD as a platform for voicing children's hope for all parents, teachers and guardians, to instill tolerance, understanding, compassion, love and joy towards children's emotional, physical, creative and spiritual needs,. Focusing on father's to work hand in hand with mothers and carers, to provide and fulfill children's wishes and dreams for a balanced, safe, peaceful and complete living that they deserve.

My work this days and for the future are as simple as that.

Vibrating the chakras

Un-Cut Malaysian Art Festival. August 09

Blind Spot. Metropolis Biennale, Copenhagen August 09

Storm In A Box. Sonata Tropica. 2008 Picture by Goh Hun Meng
Fly jentayu Fly. Picture by Leonard Kong. March 09

Anne James, Seven Skins
The Light Show, April 2009

Below I have pasted an article on Chakras. Please read it at your own discretion. I have included it in my blog as it has proven to be a good educational reading for all, as it is the vibrating energy that keeps my passion alive. Dance in its many manifestations I believe vibrates the chakras of the doer, and in turn inspire a carthatic experience to those observing or experiencing with the doer their vibrating psycho-physical dimension, by participating in the act of whirling, twirling, circling with dance physically and emotionally. This sharing or counter-transference between doer and participants will simultaneously stimulate their own chakra points, to a balance. I embody this principle of vibrating the chakras within my approach of dance not only to stimulate creative dream-travel in my solos, but also as a teaching methodology to inspire the spark of creativity among all that i teach, young and old. Although the principle of vibrating the chakras via dance and movement - is an unspoken goal within my approach (i do not preach it), and even though considered a jaded approach in performance studies but I believe it requires a new breath of revival, application and appreciation. In the context of applying my technique, it is a study that explores 3 R in authentic and metaphoric with emphasis on adaptive body system and expressions within a creative healing ritual performance process. I will begin to introduce and weave this principle of approach in a group work in the Year 3 & 4 of the New DanceLEAPS workshop - LIVING EXISTING in ART PLAY STORYTELLING

What are Chakras?
An article presented by KayahRa of Spiritual Network

The word 'chakra' is derived from a Sanskrit word meaning 'wheel'; but perhaps even a better translation would be spinning wheel. If you could see chakras (as many of us whom work with them do) you would be able to see each primary chakra as a spinning vortex or wheel of energy; spinning inward from the front of your body towards the center point of that chakra on the kunilini and then spinning outward from that same point from your back.

Chakra Locations
The chakras start at the base of the spine and go up through the head on the kunilini which is located almost on your spinal column. The kunilini is shaped like a staff and many have mentioned that the Twenty-third Psalm of The Bible is speaking of the kunilini. Almost all religions believe in the spiritual and energy power points within the human body and these power points are called chakras.

There are seven primary or main chakra points with about a hundred smaller secondary chakras. The smaller points are often called meridians and are used during acupuncture to attune the Chi flow. The secondary chakra points are influenced with action and physicality while the seven primary chakras deal with emotions and spirituality. The primary chakras influence your health greatly, the health concerns related to them are caused by an unbalance in the chakra itself, from an emotional or spiritual cause, which then manifests into a physical ailment. Chakra Healing Each chakra relates strongly to a specific part of the body, specific emotions, mental, and spiritual concerns. Seven Chakras Health/Body Collation Chart

Vibrations of Chakras
Each chakra has a different frequency of vibration, symbol, color, and sound that it is attuned to. When the chakra is balanced, clear, and energized it would be in tune and play the most wonderful sound of it’s own, emitting the proper vibration for that chakra. Many things can effect the vibrations including sounds of voice, drums, music, chants, mantras, the vibrational energy of colors, and of course gemstones. All colors and sounds are vibrations and using the sounds and colors of the chakras assist them in becoming aligned and balanced. The colors of the chakras are that of the rainbow; starting at the root chakra black/red, orange, yellow, green/pink, light blue, indigo, and violet/white for the seventh chakra.

Each chakra needs to be able to function at the correct frequency independently. Each needs to be balanced, clear, energized, and properly spinning. Each time all the chakras reach a level of unison the entire physical vibration of the human body is raised.

Think of a scale of one to ten, with ten being the highest and best. Next, think of each chakra needing to be at the same number on that scale. Once each individual chakra is at the same number your entire physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual body raises into its own new vibrational level to match that of the chakras. The more chakra energy work you do the higher your whole body will be raised on this scale with ten being enlightenment while still in this physical human form.

Unbalanced and Blocked Chakras = Illness
When your chakras are not vibrating or spinning properly you are unable to move your physical, emotional, and mental body onto a higher spiritual level. When we are born we can have a perfect balance or have an imbalance from the past lives we bring with our spirit. Although the human body is just a vessel and a machine it is seldom broke from manufacturer reasons and natural biological causes. Each chakra effects different parts of the body and almost all illness is caused by poor chakra health.
Chakra Healing Illness is usually for us, or those around us, to learn higher lessons. You are given intuition and hints all the time about what you should be doing and how you should be living but we often ignore the words from Spirit and our higher selves. We are too often stuck in the reality and physicality of life to listen to our inner selves. Eventually, the chakras become out of balance and since you are stuck in the reality - the chakra manifests the energy imbalance into the physical; the health of your physical body.

When you have chakra blocks you slow down the Chi, the life force, and the spiritual connection. You may feel depressed, out of touch, like you lost something, tired, unable to clearly think, or listless. You may get angry for no reason, be afraid, be unsure of yourself, lack self-confidence, be unhappy without a direct understood reason, and have a general negative outlook on life. All of these are indications that you have a problem to resolve that is chakra based.

Balanced Chakras = Happiness & Health
Universal Love, Energy, and Knowledge (ULEK™) flows through the chakras. It is important that you try to maintain the correct energy flow through each chakra since you could also negatively be effected by a chakra being too open. Remember that balance in each, and balance in all in comparison to one another is what you seek. When the chakras are aligned on the kunilini and balanced the energy flows freely from the primal base to the spiritual chakra allowing us a grounded connection to a higher spiritual communication. Think of each chakra as a water valve and your goal is to have each on the same amount so the ULEK flows through the kunilini, uninhibited and constant.

Cure Yourself through Chakras
Chakra Healing Most major illnesses and ailments are chakra based. Think about how when you feel uncomfortable and almost scared how your stomach gets in an uproar. This is your emotions, your chakra emotions, manifesting into your physical form. When you are no longer scared your stomach eases and returns to normal. Your whole body can be effected depending on the emotions and concerns you carry with you. Childhood and past life issues that you may not be consciously aware of could be the cause of your illness now. I am not saying that every single thing wrong physically is a chakra issue because we are human physical beings that is effected by nature and flukes happen. But on a spiritual level we choose the body we are in this time, or Spirit choose this body for us, for a reason and for lessons to be learned. Chakra work is not easy or painless. We often think we have resolved an issue mentally when there may still be emotional garbage attached to the chakra. We also have a tendency to bury things and those emotions are transferred to a cellular level in our bodies, so clearing those issues may take a lot of work to resurface and resolve.

Any of us who have done major chakra work will tell you that "Gee, I got it all fixed." We then raise to a new physical vibrational level and cope with those feelings of being in two places at once before we settle into our new physical vibrational level. Then just as we think we have it all together we will find more chakra issues to deal with. Often we can not see all the issues because something will be in the way. Once you remove that thing you can see what is behind it, more issues! You will know when an issue is totally cleared when you experience the release on all for levels; physical (you will feel it physically), emotionally (usually crying or screaming), mentally (understanding it like never before), and spiritually (feeling it transmuted into pure unconditional love). But fair warning... even after you think it is gone it can come back or you may not have resolved all the associated emotions, reasons, or spiritual concerns connected with the issue. So perhaps you can never really know if it is totally cleared but you will understand when that part of it is embraced and released.

As you progress to higher levels you will probably need assistance to bring the issues to the surface. We all need help and that is why people have talents for assisting others. Psychologists and psychiatrists help us with our mental and emotional problems which in turn assist the chakras. Our preachers, priests, rabbis and spiritual leaders assist us on the spiritual level. Our doctors help our physical being. So each in turn assist a minor part of the chakra healing and advancement work. But when you can incorporate all those things and healings into the focus of the problems - to each chakra, then you are making true advancements for your whole being.