Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Tale of IADF



 I shall begin at the beginning, and go on til I get to the end.  Then I'll stop.  The first day in Letterkenny Tanya and I woke up on our west-coast clocks, bright eyed at 5am and went in search of breakfast.  Unbeknownst to us, nothing, much less breakfast, happens in Ireland before 10am.  However we lucked out walking up into the hills by finding this little gem which saved us, and thus the first of many full Irish breakfasts happened.  Tanya ate the pudding like a champ.  If you don't know why this is a big deal, Google black and white pudding. 



The Irish Aerial Dance Festival, produced and executed brilliantly by Fidget Feet Aerial Dance, is a two week extravaganza of heaps of aerially-inclined people feverishly attending as many classes as they can into 10 12-hour days.  Everyone loses weight and can't eat enough food, and collapses into a druggedly happy delirium at the end of each day.  This is because frankly, a life made up of doing aerial all day is so much better than not doing aerial all day.  Provided you get some rest in there.  One of my favorite parts was the warm downs I was responsible for leading each day, where I got to stretch up to 20 willing, worn-out bodies each day and many of them actually seemed to enjoy it. 

Most travel is somewhat uncomfortable but that's the beauty of it- to be pressed kicking and screaming out of a plane that you actually begged and pleaded to be allowed onto in the first place.  However, the discomfort is not the point.  But it does clear away a lot of bullshit so that the life-saving freshness of a new perspective can enter.  When I'm at the IADF, even more this year than last year, I find myself growing exponentially.  A side effect of this is becoming ridiculously prone to tears at the most minute occasions.  I distinctly remember having to leave the room after seeing a beautiful inversion on fabric, for having welled up.

Even though I was doing what I love more than anything all day, my daily joys came from the people around me, like this charming fellow here, the great Jesse Lenihan:

Our well-deserved daily wine + sunset:  Easky, Tanya, some weirdo, and Jesse.
 
 The incomparable Lee Clayden and the Fidget Feet gyre:
 And of course, Dawn Pascoe, Aussie trapeze vixen extraordinaire, who shall appear here rather frequently.  Here she is preshow practicing her show face:
 There are so many others of course, but like usual I didn't carry my camera enough, so they along with their faces are lodged beautifully into my memory.  But here are some random occasions in which I did choose to bring the camera along.  Jesse doing pushups from a plastic pink house, as the little girl who was planning on playing in it prepares to slam the door. 
 Seen on the daily pilgrimmage to Aura, one of the four venues used for the festival's classes:

Lunch- an occasion of great joy:
 The weeks revolved around An Grianan Theatre, one of the largest and sweetest stages in Ireland.  I debuted a new work in progress the first week, followed by a modified version of Genesis without my precious petri dish.  Instead, I did it out of a puddle of water (thanks again to Shane Holohan for dousing me pre-curtain) and here it is if you'd like to see it:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9PJbKgYh_M&feature=player_embedded.  

The shows at the end of each of the two weeks of the IADF are intensely revelational.  WIPs are encouraged, and the brave and mighty lay their balls on the table and put their new works out there.  Most memorable for me the first week was Timmy Sullivan's intricately articulated, slow descent on rope, Jacque's eternal one-arm hang on the fabric, Tasha Wilton's chicken piece (describing it would do no justice), and seeing The Paper Dolls' landmark metamorphosis.  Here are two of them, Karen Anderson and Emily Aoibheann, in a photograph by Jym Daly looking distinctly, gorgeously Vermeer:



This is an event that changes people.  Students from last year that barely held strength in their hands came back strong and capable, and all of them beautiful.  Chantal and Jym go about the world changing lives by being themselves.  I'm pretty sure that is the point.

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