Weave with Rosy Simas Danse by Heid E. Erdrich
Heid E. Erdrich 10/24/18
This blog post by Heid E. Erdrich was originally published on rosysimasweave.com as part of the dance project Weave by Rosy Simas Danse. Drawn from the interwoven and interdependent nature of our world, individual and embodied stories mesh to form Weave from story, dance, moving image, and quadrophonic sound. The Weave team brings together an international gathering of Native, feminist, queer, transgender, and people of color artists, working together through the creative leadership, vision, and direction of Seneca chorographer Rosy Simas.
As part of the project, Weave artist Heid E. Erdrich is writing and recruiting additional Native writers to share their perspectives in response to the community engagements surrounding the creation of Weave. Find this post and more up-to-date content at the Rosy Simas Weave project blog.
Recorded sounds blow out of their original proportion — digitally made both larger and smaller than they were once. I am immersed in the sounds of water. As I listen, dancers before me are co-creating Weave for Rosy Simas Danse. I imagine my own body in motion, in the pleasure of expression, exploring the sound Rosy choreographs with, a composition of heavy vibration.
The lights are low and the floor creaks with the subtle movements of four dancers. There are forms coming into view in the dim light, very slowly arcing out — the leading edge of a wave.
They are co-creating, almost sleepily, but actively so as if half-awake still making the narrative of a dream even as they rise. Except the narrative is within the body of each artist in Weave. No one story arches over the work. This is exciting for me because I am a woman of words, words are my work, and Weave takes me beyond words.
The bodies of the dancers are clear now they’ve reached the light. Each seems to search, but of course I’ve projected that meaning because I want to read gesture in their movements. The music is ringing and taking its own direction. The dancer’s bodies slow to a directional wave — a pointing of sorts that diminishes as the sound circles down to nothing.
Then the sound of bubbles and water rise again with the lights. This gorgeous composition slowly builds through waves slowed so minutely that I hear each bubble pop upon the shore, fizzling first like grease on a hot pan, then shell grains rocked upon the beach. This sound undoes my ability to analyze. Takes me from my critical self. All I can do is watch each dancer round themselves to the sound.
My greatest pleasure in witnessing this work is that it requires me to listen most carefully. When my hearing grows tired, I teach myself to listen differently, to feel vibration elsewhere in my body. The music shifts to a composition of sound projected in profound humming that brings the audience into the physical space of the dance in a direct, even visceral way. There’s so much such hugeness in this soundscape -it must be the world or all of creation that it addresses. It must be something that can free us from our small selves, if we give over to it as the dancers do, if we listen together, we will find ourselves somehow closer, yet enlarged.
Heid E. Erdrich is Ojibwe enrolled at Turtle Mountain. A writer of poetry, prose, and performance, she has collaborated with Rosy Simas Danse since 2014 including writing for Skins and co-creating the short film Skin Frequencies.
Heid is author of eight books, including the poetry collection Curator of Ephemera at the New Museum for Archaic Media. Her awards include two Minnesota Book Awards, the 2018 Native Arts and Cultures Fund National Fellowship, three Minnesota State Arts Board grants, and the Loft-McKnight Fellowship in prose. She works as an educator, interdisciplinary artist, and independent visual arts curator. Heid has collaborated with visual artists on award-winning poem videos and animations created with an all-indigenous crew. Heid teaches in the Augsburg College Low-residency MFA program.
Rosy Simas Danse presents Weave as part of Ordway’s Music & Movement Series on Saturday, January 12, 2019 at 7:30pm in the Ordway Music Theater. For tickets, call 651.224.4222 | TTY 651.282.3100 or visit ordway.org/weave.