Marcie Rendon

Crickets, frogs

            Slow slow motion of brown, red bodies

Birds float, fabric on wall

            Brown, black braids move, pulse

dream dreams

            Ocean birds mating

Gentle washing tides

                        Sacred water erases footprints

Clean pure water

  Sand moved from     there      to      here

Tiny movement, heart beating

 

Thunder beings talk

Living in the realm of never

Land erupts with loving

            Breaking ice moves life

 

Darkness, light

Ice rages, wind expounds

All things change, live, die, live

 

There is silence inside of silence inside of silence

you carry me

call nothingness into somethingness

 

floundering

flounder

found

your heart

   creating you into existence

WEAVE

            I attended the September open rehearsal of Weave. It was an honor to attend and an act of trust on the part of the artists to open themselves to audience while in the process of creating, forming, shaping, becoming the piece, not yet ready for full production.

            Brown, red, black bodies moved with fluidity, filling the space reminiscent of the sand and liquid shifting in sandscape sculptures. There was music and the sound of feet on hardwood floor with a backdrop of visual images that filled the walls. Sitting in the studio I felt immersed in the production as the dimensionality of the whole enveloped all the senses.

            Rosy Simas understands water. She understands the human is water. That water is human. That understanding becomes movement in Weave.

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Marcie Rendon

Marcie Rendon, citizen of the White Earth Nation. I should have got old sooner. 50over50 Award, 2018. Novel Murder on the Red River(Cinco Puntos Press) won the Pinckley Women Crime Writer’s Award 2018 and the Spur Finalist in the Western Writers of America 2018 contemporary novel category. Why’d I wait so long?

PHOTO CREDIT Matt Mead Photography

Jamie Randall

Witnessing Weave

In late summer, I was asked to participate in witnessing a rehearsal of Weave. Community witness is one aspect of the entire project, where different facets will be brought together to create the production. I went into the space with very little context so I would be able to fill my senses with the experience.

This particular rehearsal was held in the Ivy Arts building in South Minneapolis. As I found my way I noticed the halls were filled with offices and workspaces, many of them healers in some way or another – occupational therapy, bike repair, massage. The rehearsal space itself was the was warm with dark wood floors.

I was early so there was still pre-rehearsal prep going on – dancers were stretching, sound and projectors were being tested – I settled on a sofa in the corner of this large room and waited. Soon more people began to arrive and find seats. A hush settled as Rosy Simas walked to the front and explained to the audience what would be happening next.

In honor of what I witnessed that evening, I offer this poem which came from what I saw and heard and felt that night:  

 

Entwined

 

I once walked off

the edge

of an underwater cliff

 

As I looked into the

ocean’s great eye

a shadow appeared

from the deep azure

Rising over horizons of

black and purple

 

Shadow formed sea turtle

It began a dance

Undulating ablution

We moved along the lines of

each other’s curves

 

In the slow moving thunder

the current and wave

I let the turtle swallow me whole

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Jamie Randall

Jamie Randall is a member of the Red Cliff Band of Ojibwe in northern Wisconsin. She is currently completing an MFA in Creative Writing from Augsburg University, while working at a community college and raising two amazing little people in Minnesota. Jamie is busy, but aren't we all?

Photo courtesy of the author, Jamie Randall

Melissa Olson

Impressions at a Weave Rehearsal for Rosy Simas Danse

I hear quiet conversations in an open studio space give way to the muted tones of the choreographer framing the choices of dancers. A laptop with a Seneca Belt across its thin frame sits atop a folding table next to digital sound pads. I see a notebook left open by a man arranging a light projector at the edge of a gray-washed rehearsal floor.

The sound of water gurgles up and I see the smooth shoulder roll of a dancer. The movement and the sound reminding me of a break dancer. I see another pair of dancers with languid hips rolling hands and shoulders, their movement soft and sure. When the projector casts the image of water against the back wall, their silhouettes tread water against the back of the studio space.

Arms sculpting sand, four dancers appear on stage working together, maybe against the ocean’s tide? One dancer remains a part from the rest, works in solitude. The other four continue to reach and work their arms. I want to imagine they are prospecting in a foot of wet sand. And when the work is done, each exits in their own direction. She or he or they or them rolling away in thunderous, quadraphonic ocean song.

Two dancers stand in relation to one another, thoughtful, intimate, like the syllables of the word used to describe this pho-to-syn-the-sis. They are plant—like—slow. The two are honey-dripping slow. A deliberate quality to their touch and movement, they stretch and bridge past the other and wait for the other. And then again, there is a carefree quality to their dance. The two could be grass or rice stalks. Arm and shoulder blades rustling against one another, resting and then swaying. Stretching and bridging with long limbs across the space.

The solitary dancer returns to perform a solo. The ocean image cast on the back wall is gone, and only the digital wind song remains. She seems to be trying to turn or tune something inside. An existential quality to the movement conveyed by open hands rolling, searching, self-sculpting. We are drawn in close to the dancer’s edges. We are drawn in still closer by the magnetic soundscapes. 

The magnetic song recedes leaving nothing but a bare stage, and a dancer with arms temple straight. The purple clad dancer begins swinging, wind-milling her arms out of sense of futility, of rage? The sound of magnetic ringing rises, and another dancer appears as if stranded by the airy magnetic wave. The other dancers appear on the stage almost asleep, compared to the dancer milling her arms. Another dancer joins this first dancer in the near center of the dance stage, and begins the same work. The two dancers begin to work together, resting and leaning on one another, reaching and embracing. Who is this person? Who is this other? I wonder what sort of work does each do? So alike, and so careful of one another, maybe relatives, maybe more like friends. One dancer supporting the other, the choreographer calls for lights out.

The choreographer calls for lights up!

The water, an image of constant motion, returns. The sound and image of the tide going home, and arriving, and returning home again. It’s easy to imagine the tracks of a seabird left behind in the sand. The shadow of tiny bird feet as the tide rolls out. One dancer, still and slow, and rooted in place, reaching around self, imploring me to look around at the edges of a meditative body.

The dancers leave behind a genuine sense of healing on the quadrants of the dance stage when each exits the stage. The thing I remember is a nocturnal feel punctuated by a few rolling notes of a tuba. Man, I think, I want to hear the round, low roll of a tuba to play when I leave the room. How good it must feel to step out on a playful note after the long day’s work.

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Melissa Olson

Melissa Olson (she/her/hers) is a writer, a producer of independent public media. The child of an Ojibwe adoptee, her award-winning audio documentary "Stolen Childhoods" was produced at KFAI with Ryan Katz and edited by Todd Melby.She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with her boyfriend John and their bulldog Bronson.

Photo by Nancy Hauck

Anthony Ceballos

A poem in response to witnessing a rehearsal of Weave

Unsettling

you        are my sister,

you        are my brother,

you        are my mother,

you        my father begging to be a father,

you        are my breaking bones,

my need              to drown in the womb,

be reborn           as an already dead rose,

through dirt      on an earth not on fire,

this land               this Native apocalypse, this

your flesh ungendered                 your body            unsexed,

my hair around your hair, our eyes sewn shut,

as we swim through tar, through molten rock,

through a split in our skin,         a split through

time       through air, through fog, and you

you who are my sister,

you who are my brother, my mother,

my father begging to be my father,

              shoot thorns from your tongue,

              watch their bibles go up in flames,

their english reduced to an ash

our relations will blow away

              with a single breath.

              We will not be silent, we

              were never meant to be silenced,

                                               they cut out our tongues,

              told us that’s the way it is

              and gouged out our eyes,

but we will not remain blind

as we claw our way back home,

in the dark, us descendants, us enrolled,

us twenty-three-point five percent,

us sixty-seven percent, full blood, half blood,

reservation, inner-city, high schooled, college schooled,

no schooled, boarding schooled, with our fathers, without

our fathers, our mothers in hospital beds, our mothers

in nursing homes, our mothers in agony, we

will weave our stories together                 and end

this end-time colonial settler nightmare

they call America.

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Anthony Ceballos

Anthony Ceballos received his BFA in Creative Writing from Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota. In 2014 he won Hamline’s George Henry Bridgeman Poetry Award. In 2016 he was selected to be a Loft Literary Center Mentor Series mentee. His poetry has been featured in Yellow Medicine Review, Midway Journal, Sleet, Writers Resist and upcoming from Great River Review.He lives, breathes and writes in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He can be found penning staff recommendations at Birchbark Books and Native Arts.

Photo by Sasha Suarez

Sarah Agaton Howes

WEAVE movement workshop

September 23, 2018

As an Indigenous person I have received messages my whole life about space-  I take up too much space, I should disappear from space, I don’t deserve space. I work actively to reclaim my own right to be in space.  What I never took was my freedom.

There is a freedom in this movement class that is positively terrifying.  And I knew, oh I knew going into this that at some point someone would say “move through the space.”  And I knew I would have no idea how to move without instruction, without restriction, without being who I am expected to be, without FREEDOM.

I am not free.

My body, especially as an Indigenous woman is under attack.  We are kidnapped, raped, murdered at rates so high no one even keeps track.  I scarcely know an Indigenous woman who has NOT been sexually assaulted in her life.  We walk through our lives trying to be safe, trying to be strong, trying to be brave, and our bodies are wounded.  We carry and protect these wounds by isolating and shutting off parts of ourselves.

I am not free.

We laid in a circle on the floor, closed our eyes, and Rosy Simas Danse artist Sam Mitchell asked us to feel where our breath comes in and out. With all we carry -what sickness forms in these shut off parts of our bodies.  And what if we do not allow breath and water to touch them?

In this movement class we are dancing with our whole body.  I was crawling across the floor, feeling the air, dancing a groove, and spinning with laughter.

With people around me and my eyes closed?  How do I trust them and how do I allow my daughter to also move in this way in a world where she will likely be hurt?  And what If I don’t teach her to be brave and unafraid? What if I am teaching her to hide herself? How do we raise these children to be smart but unafraid?  How do we teach them to stand their ground while feeling that ground gently with their fingertips?

I am not free.

I wonder how many times today did I think about being kidnapped, raped, killed, and or if my daughter would be and what we do.  How many times did you?? Can we breathe into this? Can we move through this into freedom?

I am not free.

This movement was inside our breath, inside our bodies, inside our hearts.  We deserve the freedom of safety and the ability to move across our lands without being attacked.  We deserve to feel like our bodies are gifts, not burdens.

Our whole lives are built upon trying to be the best at who we are.  We work hard at reclamation of ourselves as cultural people.

I have not yet moved my breath into all the parts of me.  I have dark and swirly places that I hold tightly bound. I left the Ordway swirling and glowing with the light of our amazing life.

My 8 year old daughter is at this awkward girl 8 year old stage where she has become aware that her body is up for critique by others.  She did NOT want to dance, but I convinced her to JUST TRY. She danced for two hours surrounded by mirrors. I saw her freedom.

Sarah Agaton Howes

Sarah Agaton Howes is an Anishinaabe artist, teacher, and community organizer from Fond du Lac Reservation in Minnesota. Her arts business House of Howes specializes in Ojibwe design. Sarah is the recipient of grants from the Jerome Foundation and the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council.Sarah is a 20 Under 40 Award Recipient for her work in community leadership. For the past 6 years, she has organized an Indigenous Women’s Running Group and utilizes social media to provide inspiration and support to promote wellness and health.

Photo by Ivy Vainio

Heid E. Erdrich

“Recorded sounds blow out of their original proportion – digitally made both larger and smaller than they were once. I am immersed in the sounds of water. As I listen, dancers before me are co-creating Weave for Rosy Simas Danse. I imagine my own body in motion, in the pleasure of expression, exploring the sound Rosy choreographs with, a composition of heavy vibration.” – Heid E. Erdrich on Weave

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