This post is written by dancemaker and Dance Block-er Emily Craver.
The Little Streams is a dance company comprised of freelance performers who rehearse as sporadically as they perform. A steady stream of generous and beautiful souls make up The Little Streams. We are grateful for Dance Block, Fourth Arts Block(FAB)’s inexpensive and lovely rehearsal space rental program, open at the odd hours when we magically can all get together to dance and share ideas.
About two weeks ago, FAB provided a truly unique and heart-warming experience: Nadia (FAB’s Director of Programs) asked whether it was alright for a television crew to be a part of our rehearsal. Never one to shy away from cameras, a usual rehearsal for The Little Streams generally looks like a babbling brook of excitable and energetic performers and I was excited to incorporate whatever wonders this camera crew would incite. Preparing for our show at Built on Stilts, this particular rehearsal day was a mix of playing with material and seeing what direction the piece wants to head. We were in that delicious zone of still being able to be inspired from outside sources. And inspired we were.
In walks a lovely crew of Taiwanese filmmakers with Andrew and Lin, the two hosts of the Taiwan Public Television Service show From Hear to There. Immediately, I felt the warmth and curiosity radiating from the crew. Andrew, a fellow Massachusettsian, translates for Lin, who speaks little English and is visually impaired. The language barrier felt non-existent, for Lin was an expressive mover.
The current project for The Little Streams revolves around those daily rituals that keep our day-to-day comfortable and sustainable: those comforting actions that often have no rhyme or reason but have culturally/socially/personally become an essential part of one’s life. Each dancer created a small gestural phrase around that prompt. I then lead Lin around to each dancer and watched as he was able to feel their movement and translate it beautifully into his own body. The level of accuracy and the way he was able to embody the movement with no visual cues inspired all of us. As a dancer, I rely heavily on my vision and constantly seek inspiration and feedback as to how I should dance. One of the greatest things that happened during our collaborative rehearsal with the From Hear to There crew was that Lin and I performed a sightless duet in which I was blindfolded.
The amazing way that dance makes me feel was exemplified and magnified by this duet with Lin. The connection between two strangers strengthtens through touch and even more through fluid partnered movement. Although I could not see what Lin was doing, I felt extremely close and emotionally a part of his movement. Although I could not see the steps, I felt inspired by the rhythm of our collective breath and pulse. One does not need sight to feel such kinship with another. One does not need language to emotionally connect. It is ever more important in this world to acknowledge and be reminded of that. Stronger bonds can be made through movement, through joy, and through love.