Tori Types Thoughts
Tori's very average blog
It's true and I cannot deny it - I love to talk. I feel like I open my mouth and my voice is directly connected to some incessant energy that WILL NOT QUIT. When I get excited - I talk - when I get nervous - I talk - when I get angry - I talk - when I get inspired - you're sure as shit that I'm going to be talking to you. The only time I don't talk is when I sleep... that I'm aware of!
I chalk it up to a mixture of immaturity, vanity, and creative process.
Why am I (over) sharing this? I wanted to take a few moments to describe my excitement about the up and coming House of Secrets Show and to share some behind the scenes information that may be interesting before the Big Event! I also have some words to say about my time in Hawaii curated by Myra Krien. Basically, this is a post where I talk, and sometimes talk about talking. I hope you enjoyed the context... on with the blog!
But first - a testimonial!
Testimonial for Hawaii Adventures
Photo Credit to Peter Holt
The sun has set on a beautiful two weeks! @myramosaic has created an amazing experience on the Big Island that is transformative and inspiring! Through artistry, Myra's mentoring, and the power of friendship I think all of us involved in this retreat and show unlocked potential. I've written many testimonials for Myra and I'm going to keep on doing it until you sign up for one of the incredible events that she masterfully curates - how often in life do we get to say YES to our dancing spirits so beayoutifully? Special thank yous to @nouveau_gypsy for being such a gracious host and lovely guide on Kona, to my dance fam from @starbellydanceschool for peer pressuring me to attend, and the lovely Mosaic Dancers and local dancers for playing with me and dealing with my Minotaur raging.
I could go into a long, lengthy description about the exact happenings on this trip, but to be honest, many of them are close to my heart and I think that my extended ramblings would diminish the feeling of magic and mystery that the many images and posts from the participants on social media have evoked. Sometimes, things are meant only for those who are present - however, I believe that the world will benefit from the manifestations of this Hawaiian journey. Mahalo!
House of Secrets - Story Time
The description for the House of Secrets Event (click here to see it on Facebook Events AND to buy your TICKET) is only a taste of what this show holds. Throughout the creative process, the Starbelly Dancers delved DEEP into our hearts and bodies. We made some discoveries and acknowledged many of the wounds that have been left by the world (including the hurt from the pandemic). Usually we enjoy showcasing joy, humor, beauty, and wonder... but the show that called to us this year is one of naming, healing, and manifesting our kindest future.
It has been an honor to work on this show in tandem with Cecilia and use the Starbelly Dancers as my guinea pigs for my choreographic research for my graduate program in the last set. Cecilia was so gracious in letting me be a BIG part of the process for this show (Cecilia produces many shows every year, but this is the Biggest and the most Bad-Ass... and the most experimental! Not many Artistic Directors would share space like this!) and the Starbelly Dancers were also so generous with their time and energy during the creative process.
I'm going to describe my impressions and some behind the scenes information from each set to tantalize you and inform you about what we are dancing about and for... hopefully this will add to your enjoyment of the entire show!
Act 1: Ariadne
For this set we are performing a retelling of the legend of the Minotaur in the Labyrinth... but from the perspective of the often neglected princess, Ariadne:
The story starts with Ariadne, princess of Crete, dancing about the labyrinth where her brother, The Minotaur, is imprisoned. The Minotaur is a terrifying monster that requires blood sacrifices to appease him. A hero named Theseus comes to slay the Minotaur for glory and Ariadne falls in love with him. Ariadne provides Theseus a spool of thread and a sword and waits outside the labyrinth for Theseus to slay the monster... thus betraying bother her family and her kingdom. Theseus slays the Minotaur and takes Ariadne to a remote island where he abandons her to die. As Ariadne dances one last time, she catches the attention of the God of Fertility and Wine, Dionysus. They marry and at the end of Ariadne's mortal life, she becomes the Goddess of the Labyrinth, guiding those who have lost their way an bringing secrets to the light.
The show's choreography used several different processes. This set was a democratic process, with the devising and curation responsibilities shared between all of the Starbelly Dancers.
When Myra Krien asked the Starbelly Dancers to contribute a dance set to an up and coming show themed around God and Goddess archetypes, I thought: Easy.
I was wrong!
Cecilia and I spoke for HOURS (at least 5), and that doesn't include the ruminations of the rest of the group in Boise, about which Goddess we wanted to evoke and eventually came to the conclusion to explore the story of Theseus and the Minotaur. I will be frank: I thought this was a terrible idea at first. This story has no goddess, or at least not a simple one. I sent Cecilia a list of 20 much easier Goddesses but she was attracted to this story because it fit well with the other acts of this show. Eventually, I had to concede: this story was too good.
There are many more details but this post is already too long. I'll try and keep the rest of them short but I HAVE to add that the incredible Matthew Vorhies wrote original music for this set! He participated in our creative explorations in Starbelly Studio and made music for us based off of our rehearsals. How amazing is that!?
We also had the chance to premier this set during the Namaka: Eyes of Kahai show in Hawaii - the reviews are positive and I KNOW you're going to enjoy it. Plus, I get to channel my rage in my role as the Minotaur, with dance movement inspired by the art of Butoh! Okay, now I have to move on to...
Act 2: Thunder Mountain
Cecilia is the lead in creating the narrative and devising the movement for this second part of the show.
Way back when the idea of "House of Secrets" was a baby, Cecilia was reminded of a place that holds special meaning to her named the Thunder Mountain Monument. It is in no-where's land Nevada outside of Winnemucca and it is truly a bizarre place created by a man with feverish passions. I'm not even going to try and say the story of the monument because it is convoluted and involves cult themes and incest - think True Detective Season 2, but no car chase scene.
Click the image to check out what Wikipedia has to say about this place.
Thunder Mountain Monument is interesting... but I am more interested in Cecilia, who I love and adore and admire, and I am thrilled that she decided to make this show a personal exploration of parts of her life. Long story short: Cecilia continues to return to Thunder Mountain Monument throughout her life's journey and it has become symbolic to her. Cecilia has created a work that is incredibly raw and vulnerable.
Included in this presentation is imagery in the form of videos and photos edited by Chad Rinn, who will be creating the video for all of the show. I don't want to give any more away so I'll shut my yap.
Fun musician facts: Music for this set was provided by the incredible Sean Daly of Portland, OR and Erik Messal of Albuquerque, NM. They remastered and wrote original music just for us... Erik also joined the devising process and was fundamental to my choreography which will be featured in...
Act 3: Mind's Body
The final set of the show is the culmination of my graduate research for my MFA (Masters in Fine Arts), so I was the lead choreographer. As you may know, I am getting a graduate degree in choreography to help me take my next step as a dance artist and scholar. My research has been tied to the somatic practice of ideokinesis. Ideokinesis is a practice that uses guided imagery to correct the postural alignment of the body through stillness... think of it as a Pilates/mediation hybrid! I used this practice to help create movement for the entire show, but I collected certain themes to culminate this final set which has turned into an attempt to pass trauma through the body in order to heal it. I was interested that this theme arose out of my research, but not surprised - we have had a traumatizing two years, my friends.
Through exploration, noticing, mindfulness, and the power of friendship I created dances that emerged from the theme of "healing from trauma." Because my set is the only one that isn't a narrative, I'm going to list the dances:
Body Secrets features all of the Starbelly Dancers - in this piece we share the secrets we hold in our body but through dance. I don't expect anyone to discover a secret, but it is a fascinating practice of vulnerability and also a tantalizing way to begin this set dedicated to the body/mind connection. The music for this piece is a cover of belly dance classic Hadouni Hadouni and was contributed by the amazing band Safar from Spokane for Starbelly's use.
The 4fs features Alyssa Kimm as Fight, Bayla Night as Flight, Cassandra Joan as Freeze, and Cecilia Rinn as Fawn as we explore and share our interpretations of these Trauma Responses. I was so impressed with the research done by the performers for their solo sections and how each performer deeply immersed themselves in this dance. The music for this piece was created by Erik - his contribution to our creative intensive was the inspiration and I INSISTED that he make a song for this piece.
Naming the Feeling is a duet featuring the beautiful Chad and Cecilia Rinn. I always joke that they do a "love" duet and as a way to break them of this tendency I curated a "loving one" haha. As we created this work, I have asked Chad to embody a feeling he would like to release, and for Cecilia to embody someone on a journey to face their inner demons/big emotions. The music for this is another classic Lama Bada contributed by Safar - a beautiful cover that sets the tone for this dance.
Inner Child is a quasi duet/solo featuring Cassandra Joan and me. This one is self explanatory and perhaps the thing that I am most proud of for this entire set. In the devising process, Cassandra and I had that magical moment where we were vibrating on the same creative frequency - a feeling that I will treasure forever. I felt like I could feel her feelings as I jumped into her skin... this may not sound pleasant but Cassandra will read this and nod, knowingly. Erik was both an inspiration and the musical contributor for this piece.
Practice of Gratitude is the grand finale of my set and the entire show and I wanted it to be warm and expressive. It features all of the Starbelly Dancers doing a live improvisational exploration of gratitude carefully set up by yours truly. My goal is for everyone in the room, the state, the country, the world to be affected by the positive energy we manifest in this final dance. The music for this set will be performed live by the incredible Matthew Vorhies - who we strong armed into doing EVEN MORE for this show.
I hope these explanations are helpful and interesting! You'll certainly want to be getting your tickets ASAP for this incredible event. Don't delay!
Tori King is a belly dance artist, culture enthusiast and general weirdo. Is this a good biography? Do you like me yet? :-)