Guest Notes by J. Akiyama. Reflections on the Global Underscore. June 23, 2015

June 23, 2015.

An event called the Global Underscore has taken place near the summer solstice (Northern hemisphere) since 2000 which connects dancers all over the world in a simultaneous practice of the Underscore, a long-form dance improvisation score developed by Nancy Stark Smith since the 1990’s.  This year, with 70 sites all across the globe participating, I decided to embark upon the four-hour score — usually done as a group improvisation — by myself at Floorspace Studio.  Here are my reflections from my journey.

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A Harvest of Sorts, from my Solo Global Underscore

“Alone together.”

Thinking of some of my favorite dancers along the “ribbon” of sites across the world. Nancy and Mike in Geneva.  I face Nuevo Leon, Mexico during the opening small dance.  I hope to dance there some day.

Two laptops.  A number of livestreams in.  One livestream out.  Feeling rather self-conscious.  Familiar faces and spaces in the Earthdance stream, their laptop sitting in the cubbyhole near the main umbrella barn door.  A practice in Telescoping Awareness.  How to be alone.  Not knowing who might be witnessing me virtually.

My habits feel so obvious when alone.  My attention to my habits, too, feels amplified.  I bore myself sometimes.  Then, I surprise myself.  Yay.

A skeletal dance partner.  My current anatomy studies keep flashing through my mind.  “The Circus Needs More Interesting Little Clowns” = “Talus, Calcaneus, Navicular, Medial cuneiform, Intermediate cuneiform, Lateral cuneiform, Cuboid.”  The skeleton is a patient partner — I’m glad.  I let him solo for a while as I observe.

Feeling loopy after two hours.  A stack of cushions onto which I jump and roll.  Balance, unbalance.  I feel scared to do a handstand on the cushions, so I don’t.

I try to do the Underscore wrong by putting on some recorded music.  A few performance-y vignettes come to mind, which I hope I don’t forget.  

And, I announce, to myself, five minutes until Final Resolution.  And, it comes.  And, it goes.  And, I face Tokyo, Japan during the closing small dance.  I hope to dance there again some day.

All in all, it wasn’t that different an experience.  And, it was totally different.  Just like every time I do the Underscore, I guess.

Thanks for dancing, everyone.  I look forward to the next time, some day.

— J. Akiyama, Boulder, CO,