14 August 2017
A Stage of Our Own’s UNBOUNDED Recap
I, from the infinity of my being,
Speak with intentions that move mountains.
With messages from the choir of my lineages,
Who empathize and protect life.
A rooted tree upon the earth that nurtured me,
Reverberating through the branches that are my fingers.
Saturday, August 12th’s event was A Stage of Our Own’s debut performance in LA/Tongva. A Stage of Our Own originated in Honolulu to create spaces for collaborative creative work, activating cultural and ancestral connection in the present moment.
We started off in a circle, with people trickling in. We held hands, and began with our songs from each womyn in the cast. Kristen then shared her oil by dropping a few drops onto everyone’s palms, allowing each person to create a gesture with their palms together, up to their noses, then down to their chests. She named this oil “Pule”, translating to “pray” in Hawaiian. She shared that her ingredients are sustainable and provided by the Big Island.
I then came into the circle and taught all present a group choreography, so that the audience would be able to engage with an embodied, reciprocal sharing and acknowledgement– an embodied phrase created specifically for the event and on that day. We started from the ground up—re-cognizing aihaʻa and activating our connection to the earth through our feet. We then reverberated energy through our fingertips and wrists, as our arms lifted to the sky in the count of 1-2-3-4, and down. We activated the area of our naʻau, our human origin and one to not be afraid of—by doing the movement of an ʻami—hips moving in circles. We danced this for one another, and then altogether repeatedly, as Micki went into the center of the space and read aloud voices from Guåhan that were shared with her from the past two days. In each repetition, I felt my stomps becoming heavier with the ground, and my hands reverberating faster. We danced until each voice was heard, til the last time and location stamp was read aloud.
Leolani then danced her piece, breaking the museum and tourism image of Tahiti, the exotic “island of brown people”, and invigorated the space with her faʻarapu and unbinding a rope—a separation between audience and performer.
Christine entered, embodying the eternal night with the tea lights as the ancestors that she held in her hands. She was the lighthouse, the ocean, the sky, the goddess, in one—dancing the Philippine folk song Oasiwas among the constellations behind her.
Micki brought in the spirit of her ancestor, her grandmother, by sharing through performance her grandmother’s physical-spiritual transition in the piece Metrics of Tenderness. Leolani and I joined as extensions of Micki’s words—transferring voice to body.
Christine and I followed with a piece Ilaw, balancing the candles—with the ancestors upon our palms, dancing with one another as bodies that followed the flow of the rhythmic sound of receiving batok.
Following this was Magellan Doesn’t Live Here, a film by Micki—showing us all Chamorro navigation and its sophistication—utilizing and finding Polaris, showing us the sakman Chamorro, juxtaposed with the image of a white yacht arriving upon the island. The film let us know from a Chamorro perspective that Magellan was a passerby on Guåhan—nothing more.
Christine, Micki, and I joined in the center of the space to dance the Philippine folk dance Maglalatik—re-staged as a message of reclamation, for purposes of invigorating the movements and messages hidden within the dance. We wore the barot saya, and the coconuts in our hands created a sound against the sequences as we danced. There was an image behind us of clouds that appeared to look like an exploding bomb, from the shores of Guåhan. It was time to bring out the dance, and utilize it for solidarity efforts, to re-member and re-cognize the dance for what was hidden in its choreography.
I then spoke my poem, written on the night of hearing North Korea threats to the US through Guåhan. I hadn’t written in months, and found that it flowed through naturally as if there was no other way the moment was to be conducted.
We concluded with some talk story, an opportunity to debrief (somewhat), and to put out a call that there is more to come, followed by our closing chants.
We stand, cry, dance, chant, and sing for our islands,
Because we are our islands
And our islands are us.
A Stage of Our Own Cast:
Mariquita Micki Davis
Toni Temehana Pasion
Pieter Performance Space
Stay tuned for footage and future performances.
29 July 2017
Re-cognizance. Where I am. Where I Stand.