Glory and compassion

2 March 2014 |

Image credit: Janice Parker Projects.

I have been wanting to write about Glory for a while but it has been hard to put the experience into words.

The press has done so here, here, here, and here.

Lovely as that is, the words of the other performers themselves are the ones that have stayed with me. I have been very fortunate to share my spare time since the 11th January with lovely and inspiring people. Amongst these are Bel Pye,Kim Simpson and Emmie McKay. Perhaps I cannot write because I have been observing them, their beautiful moves, their words, their thoughts.

We are about to enter production week and we have created, marked, spaced, felt, found, rehearsed, tried and tried again. What we have not had time for is process. Yesterday was one of the most trying rehearsals I have ever had. Eight hours of movement, attention and focus with another 49 people. Would drive anyone mad, but we all got there. I know the work is going to be amazing because we have worked very hard at it, every single one of us. By 6.30pm, I could not move, I could not speak, I had to cancel a celebration I really wanted to be part of. And remember, I am kind of used to this: I do parkour, yoga, dance regularly … Yesterday, however, was a wake up call to what is to come next week. I have been learning compassion in my yoga practice and it is going to have to be exercised next week, so I can give the best in me to Janice, Nadia, the team, my fellow dancers, the audience and myself. We have a dress rehearsal and 7 performances ahead. I also have work, teaching, and an audition for the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony. Compassion indeed. How do you give yourself care, what you want, what will be good for you, in situations of extreme exhaustion?

Glory has taught me many things. One of them is what is behind performing, the things that are the fabric of what the audience sees, but somehow are hidden (or, if not hidden, not so obvious): the repetition, the effort, the tiredness, the training, the focus, the camaraderie, the conviviality, the support, the trust, the truth of the moment. And when that moment arrives (every day next week, at 7.30pm), I want to be there. I want to enjoy it.

So today, my only day of rest until next Sunday, I will not plan lessons, I will not tidy the house, I will not stress over what food there is and there isn’t, what emails I need to reply to. I have had a hot bath, I have thought about and relished the memories Glory has already given me. I will make myself a special lunch I don’t get to have often (eggs!) and will spend the afternoon reading a marvellous book, horizontal, resting the feet and the knees that will carry me through next week.

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