When your third thought is your first thought.

Today we started in earnest with the company's next project - tentatively titled Time & Space - in which we explore a number of inner focused dance/movement modalities. We will be primarily exploring Awareness Through Movement, Authentic Movement, Contact Improvisation and Contemplative Dance Practice, along with some dance improv structures that are contemplative or focused around mindfulness. We're certainly not sure what the outcome of this exploration will be or how we will eventually frame this work for performance, but that is the goal. As part of this process we are asking ourselves (as a company), "what is a performance?", "what are the elements that are essential for a performance?", "what does it mean to perform?"

In rehearsal today we discussed the saying "First Thought, Best Thought" that often surfaces in improvisational contexts. Recently I was re-reading Dharma Art by Chogyam Trungpa in which he writes "First thought, best thought is not necessarily a chronological event". This follows my recent thoughts that first thought is actually most often, for most of us, our habitual thought. Only after reaching some state of clarity, emptiness, maybe even enlightenment does first thought become best thought. For most of us first thought is just the routine or predictable. So, how do we get to that best thought (for right now best might mean unexpected or new or unique)? My colleague Sharon Mansur talks about letting the first thought or impulse pass and go with the second thought or the third thought. I think this approach is one way to begin to discover best thoughts - certainly not the only way, but one way. We are also using sitting meditation to, if you will, prime the pump and see if a period of precise focusing helps clear out some space before we begin to move. We'll see...

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