A man in a black suit. Two native dancers. The set is hanging tree branches. Music incongruous. Rock rhythm with a two-four beat. Lights flash in the black, and we know from the pamphlet that this is the creation of the universe. The earthwoman arrives. She is beautiful and powerful, radiating energy from the center of her body. This man in the suit. I am not sure about him. He is dancing like an intellectual. His movements seem beautiful, but they are not grounded. He seems confused. He is aimless and lost. That much is clear to me. The natives around him are dancing a native dance. I am not sure what it means, but it is important. I am lost too, in my own thoughts, in my problem. Like the suit I am distracted, removed. I am isolated from a friend and from myself. This is a matinee in the middle of the week, and the audience is mostly elementary school children. A large proportion of them are native. I am surprised at how well behaved they are for this, but it is a lot to expect. Some are making their way along the aisles, pretending they have to go to the bathroom. And the two ten-year-olds beside me can’t sit still, giggling and punching each other and throwing things. I get hit sharply with something and begin to react, but now the earthwoman returns. Her presence stops the wandering in the aisles. We all want to know what she is going to do. And she does a lot, but I’m not sure what it all means. It is real though. She is not confused like the man in the suit. He sees this. He wants contact with her. He approaches. She grabs him. She twirls him around. She pushes him. Hard. And at the moment he is pushed, I am pushed. In my seat. I am pushed hard, forward. Fast. No, it’s not the kids beside me. I was pushed by the earthwoman. And she pushed me hard. I am astonished. I am disrupted. I am shocked out of my trance. Suddenly I realize that she will not put up with it. The earthwoman will not put up with me the way I am. She will not accept this. No matter what. And if I want to approach her I must become real. I must find myself, within myself, and walk upon my own feet before I can approach her. He knows this too. The native suit. The steps he takes after the push are tentative and halting, but much more real than before. I believe his movements now. He is only walking, but it is he who is walking. He returns to her and she accepts him now. Turns him around, this time gently. He still needs to face what he needs to face. But if he is in himself, and within his own energy, she is willing to help. She supports him from behind now. She gives him strength, and confidence. The two ten-year-olds beside me have had enough. They can’t hold their giggles in any longer … I am ready to put my hand on one of their shoulders, but the performance is over. The children are clapping wildly and shouting their approval. The suit, and the native and the earthwoman are holding hands in front of us, bowing to the applause, taking it all in. They cannot contain their smiles. I leave. I have no idea what this dance was about. I can’t relate it to the pamphlet I was given. But my walking is more grounded to this earth than it was … I understand what I must do now. I have been pushed.
Sjahari Hollands – Langley, BC
Tagged: Indigenous, Performance, BC