Week 6: Three Themes

I spent a lot of time this week trying to define my overarching themes that connect the theoretical components with the biographical details of LS. I made some very good headway and still have a long way to go.

1). Defining LS as a person. 
LS is unapologetically a deeply spiritual person. She is a seeker of wisdom, inspiration and healing through the arts and beyond. Having gathered her own brand of spirituality from life's circumstances, LS remains relentlessly open to whatever comes her way through the rhythm of the universe. 

a. What made LS unique and valid? Her technique, her international recognition and following and validation at European and American dance festivals, Dance Space as a home to her technique. Her ability to adapt and fluidly change forms like a chameleon. Her openness to change.

b. Why  hasn’t LS been documented? Her intuitive nature may be seen as invalid. (This week my research led to the ways in which intuition is used by different philosophers and religions.) Fusion and cross-pollination in the community and how that process developed the forms that exist now. Her ability to adapt and fluidly change forms like a chameleon. Her openness to change. She was young and female.

2). Music as a way of life. Metaphors within the musical form of jazz that assist in creating a sacred space. The universal chord: Improvisation, clave, rhythmic repetition, polyrhythm & the aesthetic of the cool.

3). Creating a Sacred space for students to have a personal transformation.
Defining LS’s technique and its relationship to “cultural performance” as defined by McKenzie. How the technique of LS and class formatting create space for personal transformation as a result of the surrender to the artistic practice. Distinguishing the Dance Space version of downtown dance (the more nihilistic theater dance.) My belief is the relationship to the music and the proximity to the other “world” music in the Dance Space building brought a spiritual component to the practice. This vibration at the foundation must be articulated carefully or rendered invalid in academia.
I think I have been dancing around this theme and not quite wanting to put it into words as it almost minimizes the experience. But I have to face it head on and find language that validates it in alignment with the west African forms that are at the foundation. It is indeed at the heart of who LS is. Joseph Campbell, renowned writer and mythologist used the phrase “to follow your bliss.”  When asked what he meant by that he explained the following:

“I came to this idea of bliss because in Sanskrit, which is the great spiritual language of the world, there are three terms that represent the brink, the jumping-off place to the ocean of transcendence: Sat, Chit, Ananda. The word “Sat” means being. “Chit” means consciousness. “Ananda” means bliss or rapture. I thought, “I don’t know whether my consciousness is proper consciousness or not; I don’t know whether what I know of my being is my proper being or not; but I do know where my rapture is. So, let me hang on to rapture, and that will bring me both my consciousness and my being.” I think it worked.”
— Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth, pp. 113, 120