I left Brooklyn three times in the past year, each time more definitively. By the time I’d officially given up my beautiful space on Dean St at the end of February, the heartbreak was so tangible that I was actually diagnosed with a broken heart by two cardiologists.

My 11-year love affair with Brooklyn was deep and passionate. That’s the longest I’ve lived in any one place my entire life, and it’s the first place I truly created a home for myself in.

But in order to make life in Brooklyn work, I increasingly had to sublimate my deepest passion – my fiery longing to dance. Worse, part of me started to believe that it was a doomed relationship, that dance was a lover I would never be allowed to hold, and I buried my sadness in busy-ness.

Moving out of Brooklyn was really moving towards that fire again, pleading with it to come back to me. I put my business aside and for several months didn’t see any clients or bother with many computer tasks, while I gently went about rekindling my love affair with dance.

I’ve had to be careful not to smother my fire with expectation or bury it under the weight of the past. And I’ve also had to fan the flames of the fire by investing precious resources without any demand for results other than a deepening connection to the longing to be together, dance and I.

Throughout all of this, there’s been one particular Rumi poem that I’ve found myself turning to over and over again (from Birdsong, translated by Coleman Barks) ~

TRF2W Long Dock – by Craig Chin

The way of love is not
a subtle argument.

The door there
is devastation.

Birds make great sky-circles
of their freedom.
How do they learn it?

They fall, and falling,
they’re given wings.

 

 

I’ve written before that I’m a professional faller, I teach people how to fall with grace and thrive in dynamic situations. So I took the leap myself and fell into the fire of my love for dance.

If the journey hasn’t been entirely easy or comfortable, it’s been a deeply moving and sometimes ecstatic lesson in the power of surrender.

Connection and Surrender have been the at the core of my dancing since April. The lessons and gifts along the way have been overwhelmingly beautiful. Here’s a truth I now know with every cell in my body:

Remember to keep moving towards what you love, no matter how fast or slow, with ease or difficulty – it’s the greatest contribution you can make towards a better world.

And here’s a glimpse of my rekindled love affair with dance, through photos & video, starting with an upcoming performance this Sunday and working back to April:

TRF2W_StMargaretsThis Sunday, 8/23 – if you’re up for a summer adventure in the Hudson Valley, Craig and I (aka The River Flows Two Ways – dance & ambient guitar duo) will be doing a unique site-specific performance at the beautiful and haunting St. Margaret’s Orphan Asylum¬†in Red Hook, NY this Sunday, 8/23. This abandoned historic home for girls will be full of art and life at this weekend’s pop-up event, Dog Dayz organized by the Red Hook Community Arts Network.

It’s family friendly and free. And there’s a great ice cream shop next door! We’ll be performing hourly, on the half hour, between 12:30 – 3:30 PM.

You can find directions and more information here.

 

 

 

Anna_Halprin_Tribute_WashSqPk_8-18-15This past Tuesday, 8/18, I hopped on the train to NYC to take part in this beautiful and loving tribute to the great Anna Halprin, who turned 95 this year. Nine of us met at Washington Square Park in the early evening to take part in a score organized by Laura Colomban and featuring dancers from Los Angeles, Europe and South America.

 

 

 

The beautiful video below was filmed and edited by Alysia Mazella, from our July 25 performance at the FAST.BACK. exhibit at Newburgh Last Saturdays. Jane Rigler, a dear friend and an incredible flutist, joined Craig Chin and I for the first and second of three sets.

If you’re curious to see more, follow these links:
1st set, short: https://vimeo.com/136833903
1st set, long: https://vimeo.com/136315715
2nd set, long: https://vimeo.com/136318826

AwostingFalls_EarthBodyI spent a good part of the Spring and early Summer up at Minnewaska, at the gorgeous Awosting Falls, exploring movement and connection to nature with Teresa Smith’s Earth Body project. The project started in May and culminated in three public showings on the weekend of July 17. It was nothing short of cathartic to be rehearsing and exploring amidst such beautiful and majestic nature, and my other collaborators were sensitive and inspiring in so many ways. (Photo by Teresa Smith)

 

In June I snuck into Brooklyn one Saturday evening to perform an excerpt from my Duchamp-inspired piece that’s been in the making for over a decade now. I called it “The Bride Loosens Up”. Around 10PM, in the backyard of a house somewhere in BedStuy, with dance performances unfolding in fits and bursts outdoors and in in support of my colleague Rebeca Medina’s upcoming dance project, I came out in a white dress, took the silk handkerchief out of my mouth and let my voice rise from my belly before sliding into a big hole in the ground. It was dramatic, and funny, but it was entirely undocumented. Until the Bride rises again…

And finally, here’s a short video from the April performance that started it all, at the Art About Water event, my first public collaboration with guitarist Craig Chin under the moniker The River Flows Two Ways. You can find more videos on our YouTube channel:

Love,

Ophra