Looks like it’s still gonna be awhile before we can move about our communities and our country freely. One type of experience I’ve been missing especially is being able to attend plays, dance concerts, and performances of live music. We’ve been lucky to have televised programs and even some zoom versions of performing arts, produced often under heroic conditions and circumstances. Whether it is the fact that each performer must operate within the limits of their own living space, and the director/editor must tie disparate pallets and sound tracks together in some kind of artist composition, or musicians and dancers must don enough clothes to perform while socially distancing on rooftops.
A ballet company in Scranton PA performed and filmed around the holidays, a complete Nutcracker Ballet while all performers wore masks. My granddaughter was encouraged to hear about that since her dance teacher in Palm Springs CA had given up waiting to be able to return to a theatre. She has her students performing the Nutcracker on this upcoming Valentine’s Day in the school parking lot. They’ll be wearing tennis shoes and masks along with their elegant theatre costumes. And of course, as the proud grandmother, I won’t be there.
I have also missed engaging with people in person using the art-based system InterPlay that I have taught and performed for nearly 30 years. When I look back on my life, especially the tough times, I’m clear that playing with the dancing, singing, story-telling InterPlay forms in community is a big part of what got me through. Now in these present tough times, I’ve been surprised that we have been able to dance, sing, tell our stories and support one through a community meeting on-line. The enlivening uplifting feelings that I’ve experienced during in person session are present in our on-line sessions as well. I would never have guessed that to be possible.
For many, art exists for its own sake, an arrangement of elements that communicate to the senses and the emotions. But for me, the arts are portals into our individual and collective creativity –igniting different intelligences. Cynthia Winton-Henry, a co-founder of InterPlay shared with me recently that for her, the arts awaken soul wisdom. Each art form is a circuit for specific information.
According to Susanne Langer, the twentieth-century art philosopher, in her book Feeling and Form, each art form accesses a realm of experience irreplaceable by any other art. If we wish to engage a sense of Energy and Power, Dance is the art form. To engage our sense of Time we call on Music. Story engages our sense of History, while film engages our sense of the Present. Visual art engages and creates our sense of Space. Knowing that all of that is possible on-line is good news but there is more. If we are not strong in an art form, we can enjoy the art vicariously by becoming audience or witness.
With all these gifts, let’s not wait for the arts to return to brick and mortar buildings. Let’s keep exploring and experiencing the arts and our creativity on-line. I’d welcome more players at the classes and events I’m sponsoring, so consider this your invitation.