KulArts “She Who Can See”: A Revolutionary & Healing Dance/Theatre/Film Production

Yesterday was one of those fly dreams.
Where swift currents carry you exactly to where you need to be.
No need to swim upstream when you have the gift to SEE.

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Journeying through Frisco to the heart of the SOMA, 6th street, cutting through Saturday drivers, whose break heavy feet clog up the city streets. The parking gods were with us, we pulled up, blessed up, right in time to slide into the small theatre at Bindlestiff Studio. It was my first time going to this theatre that opened in 1989 and stands as one of the only, permanent performing arts venues that is rooted in showing Filipino American and Pilipino artists. The doors swung open welcoming us out of the cold windy streets into the warmhearted lobby.

We slid through the open doors, I walked up, received our tickets at the will call for “She Who Can See”. I spotted Alleluia Panis, the founder of Kularts and the choreographer of the piece standing up front, surveying who came in. She reminded me of a gatekeeper of sorts, making sure that those who entered the space would be safe in what I could already tell would be a magical undertaking. Every ceremony has an elder that creates a sacred space, keeping in that which is good and out what does not need to be there. This multimedia dance, film, and musical production was no different. Like all forms of healing art, this was just as much a prayer as it was a performance.

We descended the steps into the belly of Bindlestiff, and my eyes fell upon the audience, chirping and chattering in anticipation, packing the intimate studio space to the brim. No two seats left, said the big bodied bouncer who was guiding people to rest in their small wooden chairs. I said “Okay” and he kindly sensed my reluctance (which I thought I hid). He said, “We can ask this whole row to move over a seat for you? Do you want to ask?”

I smiled. Now, I’m all for asking for what you need, but often I’m not the one to be the first to throw a rock into a glassy still pond, to start all the ripples. I like to dip my toes in gently and smooth into the flow most of the time, like water.

He said “I’ll ask with you, let’s go”. As we ascend the steps to the top row, he says “Oh wait, it looks like there’s two seats, right there for you.”

“Perfect.” I said. In my heart I feel another blessing as I am guided to the apex of the theatre, centered in the aisle so nobody is between me and the dancers, and I’m levitated a few feet above the floor so I can survey the whole scene. I prepare to receive the transmission.

Before the lights dim, it feels like a family event, bay strong community present. Lights go down and Alleluia appears on the stage, introduces her visionary work, and again like a shaman herself playfully asks us to be aware of the surroundings, in the event that the spirits come into the building. We laugh, I pray, and so it goes.

I’ll be honest, before coming to the theatre, I thought that I was coming to see a FILM. Like, eat popcorn and zone into a 2d screen that would no doubt tell a compelling story, but still be on that 2 dimensional level. THIS. is the evolved version of a film, that tells the story of a young Pinay woman who can see beyond this world, and has a very intense and life shaking “homecoming” as she finally faces the spirits and energies that visit her.

Live dance performances, dope original music, and deeply moving theatrical storytelling with cinematic background, “She who can see” invites you to fully embody the experience of this young woman as she stands on the border between this world and the next. Her visions collide with her ability to exist in the day to day world, encroach into her intimate relationships, and ultimately change her mind-body and spiritual composition.

Four spirits danced in an out of her life, in a hauntingly graceful, yet playful and optimistic fashion, embodying the movements of water, earth, and fire. In the background, cinematic art is projected onto 4 screens, creating a fragmented effect that mirrors the hybridity of this woman’s awakening process.

I watched as this woman danced/swam upstream against the current of her spiritual inheritance, until she literally shook herself into chaotic exhaustion. As her grip on this dimension broke, I witnessed a healing take place. In one of my favorite scenes, spirits came into screen and stage, to perform an otherworldly intervention, (a)tuning up her vibration, and thus all of ours together.

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I was floored. No drought for me, rivers flowed down my face, straight up! This piece was so powerful and timely. To watch a young woman dance through indigenization, acceptance, healing and thus…empowerment, is a gift. I am in awe of Alleluia, the musicians, photographers, and dancers. All of whom I had the pleasure of meeting and thanking at the end of the production.

I live for this type of work. It gives me so much life to see these kinds of productions. And we know that it is much more than just art, it is ceremony, history, healing, consciousness, and awakening. What we all dearly need and crave in this lifetime. Everyone who left last night could see a bit more, and that impact is a revolutionary act.

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With my Friend and Performer: Sammay Dizon

For more on this Film & the talented artists involved like Alleluia Panis, Sammay Dizon, Florante Aguilar and Wilfred Galila check out the Ma’Artes festival artists page. Or better yet, enjoy the arts and pin@y culture in real life during the Month of May 2015, at the San Francisco festival. Check it out at: http://www.maartesfestival.com

Power up and power on brothas and sistas…

__Sam__

Eternal Queens

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She Heals: A Dancer’s Story

How are women connecting their art to health? Eternal Queens explores through She Heals, a series focused on female artists discussing health, social issues and healing through art.

Kaley Isabella is an Oakland based dancer studying the Silvestre Technique. She uses dance to stay healthy mind, body and soul.

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Find Kaley Isabella at http://www.facebook.com/kaleyisabelladance

 

ONE BILLION RISING: Dance to End Violence Against Women

One in three women on the planet will experience physical or sexual violence in her lifetime. That is one billion sisters, mothers, daughters, partners, and friends that will be affected.This year, one of the most massive art and healing movements has been organized to address women’s issues including the undocumented but ongoing prevalence of domestic violence,  rape and sexual harassments, and the absence of operational support system for abused women and children.

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ONE BILLION RISING will unite women and those who love them in over 197 countries across the world to collectively address the global issue of violence against women and girls. This V-day, February 14th, 2013, those in support of this movement will come together in a worldwide DANCE, to break free from violence and oppression, and  empower and activate women across the world to demand that issues of violence against women are addressed.

This movement embodies what we at Eternal Queens love to see. People coming together to use their creative potential to make waves, heal our personal and cultural wounds, and voice their truth. Dance is a creative healing force that everyone of us has the ability to do. Dance keeps you moving and promotes a healthier physical, emotional, and community life. When you dance, your body has a life and a wisdom of its own that is free to come alive. When we when we dance together with an intention to end violence against women, we are invited to have fun and let loose, express and embody emotion, release tensions, connect with others, and non-violently harness our collective creative force to make change.

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Those based in San Francisco have organized several ways to join the movement. Break it down by dancing across the Golden Gate Bridge at 10:00 AM on February 14th or join Mayor Ed Lee at City Hall to vibe with some DJ’s, guest speakers, and Flash Mobs. Eternal Queens supports this powerful gathering, and pays homage to the women of the Bay Area and across the world that move together heal our culture from sexual violence and support women’s rights. Heal yourself, others, and the earth in 2013.

With love,
– Eternal Queens

Eternal Queens’ “She Heals” series goes into production.

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She Heals: Kaley Scofield

Sunday was a phenomenally empowering day for Eternal Queens producers Sam and Claire. We met up with dancer and long time friend, Kaley Scofield, at Oakland’s Tropicana Ballroom for the first in a series of interviews we are going to be releasing called She Heals. Seeing Kaley dance is always memorizing. Meeting her at first, you see a gentle, calm, and soft woman with piercing eyes and smile. Then when she dances, the power she exudes is unbridled and fiery,  and you can feel her strength flowing to the top of the ceiling and into every corner of the room.

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Kaley’s parents were dancers in New York. They became teachers after she was born and took her from class to class, instilling dance in her as an art form. She states: “It was a kind of language that I learned from my parents and ran with it.. if there wasn’t anything else, there was always dance.”

Hear Kaley’s story in She Heals: A Dancer’s Story. Coming soon.

Much love,

Eternal Queens.