Autumn is a long-term project and currently in the research and development phase.
The seasons and the symbolism ascribed to them have always fascinated me. I love them all and I celebrate their arrival. I believe that there is a time for action and a time for reflection, a need to push forwards and a need to relax. While these can happen at any point in the year, I feel that the changes in nature during autumn are particularly inviting for reflection. Autumn, leading up to Christmas and the beginning of a new year, instils in me a need to review, to take stock and to pause for a moment.
Also life goes through larger cycles, in which again we find phases of expansion, phases of consolidation and phases of pause. Before my departure to Chile I felt a need for consolidation and pause. I took up a project we did as part of our studies in our final year at my college London Studio Centre. We had to make a dance film. Mine was a film about the dance of leaves, because I find it so beautiful.
The film has many, many shortcomings and has been criticised by the lecturer as “a mish-mash, a visual, kaleidoscopic and psychedelic nightmare” in which “there is NO CONTROL AND NO LOGIC TO THE MADNESS!” [original emphasis].
In my modest opinion though it also creates strong atmosphere, it’s dramatic, weird and oddly poetic. Moving forwards these are the elements to keep and these in conjunction with further research constituted the next phase.
Phthinoporon, an ancient Greek goddess of autumn, embodies the time when youth has passed but old age has not yet come. She symbolises early autumn. She is wise enough to not act on foolish impulses but still powerful, active and full of vitality.
Trees, with their roots strongly connected to Mother Earth and with their branches reaching out to the sky, symbolise a connection between the real world and the supernatural world. I don’t believe in anything supernatural, but I believe that nature itself is extraordinary and superlative. The tree’s yearly growth and shedding of leaves symbolises renewal, cyclic-ness and thus infinity.
Why does symbolism matter?
It helps to focus the many thoughts one has. It helps to contemplate complex processes in isolation in order to gain understanding. It enables to draw comparisons with processes that in and of themselves are maybe too complex to grasp.
The cycle of a tree shows us that in order to reach higher, one needs to pause. In order to succeed one needs to fall. Or in the wise words of Jack Donaghy of “30 Rock”, “Climb down, Lemon, climb down.” Thus darkness must not be feared but embraced as an invaluable part of life.
At this point I visited Lizzie J Klotz in Newcastle, took a few days off from London and we filmed to focus on ideas for choreography, costumes, colours, locations and style.
Autumn is coming up again in Europe and in my internal clock. But here it is barely winter for my senses and spring will start soon. This project can’t continue this year, but I will pick it up again throughout life whenever it feels that an autumn is upon me.
Do you share this love of the seasons? Are you intrigued by symbolism?
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