Corpo-Reality

The following text was originally included as part “Corpo-Reality” (premier 2011).  It is a combination of musings and questions about the relationship of the body in which we live to it’s own history and circumstances . . . . The dance considers the effects of our ancestral lineage ont he person we become, and was premiered at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival in 2011, as well as in San Francisco, CA, Denver, CO, and Portland, OR


“Corpo-reality - of or belonging to, or characteristic of the body.

In other words, no matter where you go, there you are.”


So, what about this body?

It’s a genetic inheritence, a vessel,

a reservoir of collective experience

a collection of influences

a confluence of decades and lived moments


Sometimes I experience it as an island, which at unexpected moments is besieged by strange weather patterns which serve to alter the shape and dimensions of it’s landscape.


Sometimes I experience it as a palimpsest.  

A palimpsest is a word form Greek meaning scraped again, and refers to the way that old scrolls or manuscripts were often scraped clean to be reused and rewritten on.  

Often, the old text was still visible through the new  writing. . .  


another interesting use of the word is by historians, and they use the word palimpsest to describe the way people experience time, that is, as a layering of present experiences over faded pasts.



from geology a palimpsest is “a geographical feature composed of superimposed structures created at different times”.  

and from planetary astronomy a palimpsest is “a crater on an icy moon of the outer solar system whose surface relief has largely disappeared.”


It’s a metaphor, right . ..


I want to speak about it as belonging to my body . . . a living representation of a layered artifact.

what has been scraped off and written over?  What is visible under the rewritten surface.   

we, each of us, in this time and place, are an amalgamation of past generations,

filtered through the DNA of our parents, and containing the entirety of our geneological history, our “clan”.


There are things we know intellectually, and then there are those things which we feel or sense as a part of ourselves that arise mysteriously and seemingly without cause  . . .  a combination of history and circumstance.  


Until recently, I held firm to the belief that there was still some undiscovered part of myself that was going to show up and completely surprise me and everyone else with the sheer unexpectedness and brilliance of it.  Now I think I am beginning to know different.  What if we are already, each of us, completely who we are from the get go, completely here, completely complete, completely finished,

and the journey of a life simply the unfolding of that

the situations of a life conspiring together to continually hold up a mirror of self reflection that is as constant and plain as a nose, or a hair color, a tone of voice or a gesture.  

how is it that people walk, and talk, and hold their coffee cup in the same way as some distant  relative they’ve never met? . . . fascinating . . .


this “who am I” campaign for self discovery lingers underneath and is the impetus for so many of the actions we take in life

as we tumble and tunnel forward through our lives propelled by the forces of inertia and destiny.


And then, here I am, dancing, this being a part of my legacy, my dancing body.  Looking back, I wonder who I might dance like.  Do I dance like my mother, or my father, or my maybe my grandmother if she’d ever had the occasion . . . It’s hard to know, but I like imagining.



above photo courtesy of Bill Hebert