Intuition Wins Jun 18, 2012

by Leah Vendl


Feist sings, "What gives, what helps the intuition? I'll know, I'll know. I won't have to be shown." Working with Vanessa DeWolf's Unrehearsed Ensemble has been a completely joyful experience--a childlike joy that comes from being engaged in playtime. A deep satisfaction that comes from honing in on my intuitive impulses and following them to their fullest, most ridiculous end. 

In ScoreLABs (preparatory gatherings) and in each performance I am given a personalized written score along with perhaps a Pantone color card ("Carmel" or "Lightest Sky"), a black and white image such as an old film still, or even the name of a person (a Kickstarter donor) to wear for the performance. I'm put on a stage in my paper dress, looking at small chairs, a blue wooden bunny, wigs, corded phone, suitcases, latex objects, and a record player run by a lady in a fox mask and given the main directive to follow my impulses, and do NOT copy what someone else is doing if I am lost. If lost-ness occurs (and it's bound to in a score I just received two hours prior), embrace the stillness until another motion swells up in me, until someone across the room catches my eye and I decide to be in opposing duet with them--even if they don't know it.

There's missed connection when I'm this honed in on my own desires, rebelling against that automatic urge to copy someone else directly. But the vitality of the performance happens when I surprise myself, when two people experience are surprised together by a dynamic they create--I'm lying prostrate on the floor for a while, someone notices and tenderly places their hand over mine. I have to pay closer attention, slowing down my the ways I'm trained to respond--as a dancer and person--to ask myself what might be more pressing, responsive, important to this moment alone.

No one else can show me how to come home to myself or how to discover new parts of me. Knowing does not come from imitation.