For Dance Anywhere Day this year we performed a minimalist movement structure in Frank Ogawa Plaza in downtown Oakland. Ensemble Member David Ryther led us in an improvised piece based on a street performer he had witnessed many times in Santa Cruz.
We traveled slowly around the plaza, waving and looking back and forth with a highly exaggerated and slow motion smile.
There happened to be someone shouting what sounded like Fundamentalist Christian doctrines on the plaza for a good half hour before we started. We decided to pass by him with our movement. I thought it would be an interesting balance of energies for a performance piece. I was looking forward to moving in slow motion behind him as he continued ferociously and with great shouting speed.
As he noticed us approaching, he closed up shop and left. We couldn’t even get near him. We must have scared him somehow. While I was disappointed that we didn’t get to “collaborate” for that moment, I also felt elated. It was a victory for Art over Fundamentalism. And we won because of our inclusivity. His material worked great for our piece. It added dynamic tension. We embraced what he was doing. But he didn’t have room for our expression in his, and so he go pushed out of the space.
A reminder of the power of inclusion and openness.