A BOLD Presentation

March 8 – 12 2017 saw the inaugural BOLD Festival in Canberra, Australia. The BOLD Festival, celebrating the legacy of Dance in Australia, is the brain-child of Liz Lea, dancer, choreographer and event organiser.

As a new comer to the dance theatre scene, a ‘mature mover’ (over 50), and facilitator of dance and performance, I was honoured to present and perform at the BOLD Festival.

The invitation came about through the successful project, “The Forging of Men”, designed and performed with 6 rural men, under the directorship of career theatre-maker, Sue Hayes.

The presentation to The Bold Festival was in the form of a short Pecha Kucha (powerpoint slides presented within 5 minutes). Below is the text to go with the slides. To enjoy the presentation, please open the slides and arrange them beside the text below

Slide 1 Cover slide: This presentation is about my recent journey into dance.
Slide 2 From my years of health work I recognised that a healthy community requires robust empathetic leaders who are the enzymes for bringing that community into integrity and discourse.
Slide 3 ACTUALLY being fully alive, being fully human, is a function of wonder, inquiry, creativity, and performance / action.

Novelty, the surprised recognition of a distinction, is the source of wonder and a vital ingredient for brain development and learning.

Slide 4 Performance is that we are in action in the world and there are witnesses.

Performance is where we get to become adults, leaders, and dancers.

Performance is the wonderful, human thing about life.

Slide 5 The performing arts can be a fantastic access for ethics and leadership training by:

·      supporting the empathetic imagination of the live of others and;

·      the possibilities of self as leader

through the conditions for wonder, inquiry, creativity, and performance.

Slide 6 Over the past 7 years I have designed human sized board games, as a fun approach to movement training, and a way of seeing the world through the body.
Slide 7 2011 – My first dance project with Jess Jones on the Atherton Tablelands.

The project was an awakening for me to the possibilities for facilitating dance theatre work with untrained people.

DANscienCE 2013 was an inspiration – a motivation to develop my own skills as a mature aged dancer, and find that breakthrough into establishing a community dance group.

Slide 8 Mastery – the ability to recognise and perform as by the finest distinctions as a function of performance before increasingly discriminatory witnesses.

Taking any age you were and any skill (technical or creative), plotting novel and masterful experience over time might give some indication of your actual neural and physical ageing robustness.

Slide 9 I have been creating small dance programs for the middle to older aged person for a few years. From that came a vision and a model for an inclusive dance training program that I call rEvolve with connotations for dance as transformative in life.
Slide 10 In my rEvolve program I work with several characteristics of training and design to allow the most embodied expression of an idea. The team works by building through exercises by collaborative feedback until eventually, there’s the performance.
Slide 11 I recently began to feel it is time for me to take a stand for a male culture that is authentic and embodied. At stake is the flourishing of our communities and nations.
Slide 12 In 2015, I found three men who were interested in attending work in dance / physical theatre . We called ourselves ‘Men in Motion’

We won a grant to bring theatre-maker Sue Hayes weekly from Cairns to Atherton to building a performance about our male identity

After we had commenced the development of the work, a further two men turned up, and so a performance was developed, “The Forging of Men”.

Slide 13 The men were, mostly, inexperienced in theatre, dance or any type of performance which gave us a perfect conditions to trial a ‘proof of method’ of the rEvolve model.
Slide 14 There was a moment in the project when Sue Hayes turned to the men and said, “Okay men, tonight you are going to touch each other.”

The contact exercises essential to physical theatre is another potential boon to a transformed male culture.

Slide 15 As the project progressed, one of the men told me, “You’ve been a bit bossy lately. I’m not enjoying myself.” The group conversation that resolved that tension showed up in the performance in what the audience saw about the team work.
Slide 16 I’m now facilitating two groups of about 12 dancers in total:

·      the all-men group for the contribution to male culture that could continue to make; and

·      there’s now an all-in group.



Mastery of Life: Being Out Here!

OR Ways Ordinary People can reach World-Class

Robin Sharma, Author of the #1 International Bestseller “The Leader Who Had No Title”, has a list of 51 ways to reach world class. Here are the one’s I feel especially important to develop in my own way of being:

    1.  Clarity is power. I have been on a lifelong journey for clarity. On some things I am clear and confident, on many others – not so much. I have Landmark Education much to thank for showing me ways to access clarity. Shortly Landmark graduates around Cairns will commence the Landmark ‘Wisdom Course’. This is an exciting development for this transformative education community. What is the Wisdom course? Well, I’ll be able to tell more after I have experienced it, however, the message that popped out of my introduction to it was, “to communicate as an adult”. Well, I figure, at 53 years, that would still be none to late.

    2. Become the most passionate person you know. Being passionate has not been a forte. In the spirit of protecting myself from just about everything and everyone, I play a great game of life-poker. Before I attended Landmark Education course, I was embarking on a role to facilitate the fusion of performing arts with my local rural community discourse. Since doing Landmark courses I have become a contemporary dance facilitator. This process has challenged that whole ‘pker playing’ way of engaging with life. I am yet to Be the most passionate person. Anxiety with myself and of others is like looking at a thousand choices, many of which I cannot decide, most of which require no decision at all. My life has increasingly become being aware of how I am being and occurring to myself, in order to live out there where creativity and dance and the exuberant exploration of life, lives.

    3. When you transform your fitness, you’ll transform your business. Fitness is a characteristic and an outcome of dance. Through common life’s adventures as a youth, and my manual work as a physiotherapist, I am troubled bu chronic spinal pain with more recent shoulder pains. A few years ago I began scull rowing which has provided some major breakthroughs on my spinal pain. And now I am appreciating that my goals to be a mature aged contemporary dancer is creating fitness, strength and balance levels that are encouraging for returning to a leaner, versatile me that I can wear into my older years.

    4. Every time you do what scares you, you take back the power that you gave to the thing that scared you. And so you become more powerful. As the quintessential scardey cat, I was once too scared to even be able to read seriously a concept like this. Now I can engage with it, openly, with some confidence. Well, to be clear, I can now separate out individual anxiety from what was once just a morass of background noise. In making the distinction of what I am anxious in this moment, that fear can be addressed directly. Gradually I am finding that my more habitual responses are loosing engagement, allowing more choice.

    5. When you push through a difficult project, you don’t get to the other side. You reach The Next Level. Here I am working on small but foundational projects. I get this although it takes a lot of effort not to just give in to my little voice saying, “Oh well, why bother, you don’t need to be dancing, creative etc. You can do fine without it.” Until I really look at what that ‘without it’ future really looks like, and it is, frankly, rubbish.

    6. If your not being criticized a lot, you’re not doing very much. Ridicule is the price of ambition. My ambition is for contemporary dance to become an ordinary rural community art in Australia. A few others are emerging from the community with interest and enthusiasm, and that is great.

However underpinning all these characteristics of ‘best’ is the nature of Being itself.  In a 2011 presentation, Werner Erhard, described the process of mastery. “One critical point about being a master in life is getting yourself clear that “who you have known yourself to be” is not who you are. “Who you know yourself to be” is simply one way of being that is available to you, and you are not stuck with that way of being.” “Your only way of impacting the world, others, or yourself is by acting. Remember that acting includes speaking (this includes speaking to yourself about yourself), and speaking also includes what is said by your actions (as in the saying “actions speak louder than words”).”It is important that you get clear for yourself that your only access to impacting life is action. Take a look at life as it is lived and see for yourself that the world only moves for you when you act.” “From moment to moment, your way of acting and your way of being are consistent with each other.” “HOWEVER OUR WAY OF BEING DOES NOT CAUSE OUR ACTIONS – Our Way of Being and our Way of Acting come together as though one thing.” “What is going on in our brain that generates our conscious thought to act and generates our physical action happens in a very different way than the way it appears to us at a conscious level.”

The world of mastery is constituted by a unique “conversational domain” (linguistic domain), from which a master lives and interacts with life.” What makes a master a master is simply the way he or she interacts with life.” “What You Are Dealing With” includes: 1. The circumstances on which you are acting. 2. The circumstances in which you are acting. 3. The way in which you occur for yourself in acting on whatever you are acting on in the circumstances in which you are acting. When you are engaged with life there is nothing else to be dealt with. Those three things are all that there is.” What occurs for you is what is going on out in life. That is, what occurs for you is 1) objects and situations out in the world, and 2) other people and yourself out in the world – all these occurring as a whole (a holistic unity). Note that when you are engaged with life, you occur as an interactive part of the whole, not as something separated from (distinct from) the whole.

The answer to the question – “What is the source of my way of being and acting in life?” – is absolutely critical to your being a master in life. The source of a person’s way of being and acting is that their way of being and acting is correlated with the way in which “the circumstances they are dealing with” occur for them.” “Llanguage gives you access to the way in which “the circumstances you are dealing with” occur for you! Specifically, the way in which “the circumstances you
are dealing with” occur for you is sometimes constituted in language, and when it is not, it is at least colored and shaped by language, and is in any case always accessible through language.” “Your choice of language (what you say) about
“the circumstances you are dealing with” provides you with actionable access to yourway of being and acting in life.” “The way you choose to speak to yourself and others about 1) the circumstances on which you are acting, and 2) the circumstances in which you are acting, plus 3) the way in which you occur for yourself in those circumstances, determines the way in which each of those occurs for you. And, your way of being and acting is correlated with that occurring.” ““It turns out that if you change how people talk, that changes how they think. If people learn another language, they inadvertently also learn a new way of looking at the world.” “The structures that exist in our languages profoundly shape how we construct reality [the way in which what we are dealing with occurs for us]” “The one thing you have complete dominion over is what you say and what you listen to.”

“Masters distinguish between the facts of “the circumstances they are dealing with” (what is so independent of language) and any story or interpretation added to those facts. Then, they use language to create a context for “the circumstances they are dealing with” so that “the circumstances they are dealing with” occur for them such that their naturally correlated way of being and acting is one of power, freedom, full self-expression, and peace of mind.” WHAT A MASTER DOES IS “HONEST THINKING” “for a master this is coupled with the use of language to create a context (what exists only in language) for those facts that allows the master to see possibilities that empower and enable the master in effectively dealing with those facts while maintaining a high quality of life.” “If one lives from this possibility, and does experiment and practice, that is available to any of us. This is called achieving mastery through “live and learn”.”

“A master encounters life as it is lived, and as a consequence deals with life as it is lived, and holds his or her theories, beliefs, knowledge, and memories, above himself or herself so to speak, so that they don’t act as a filter, but illuminate what is encountered.” “Our experience of seeing the world and others actually happens for us what you have called “out there”.” “What you are referring to when you say “I” or “me” does show up for you, with all the rest of life, in the clearing for life that you are.” “As life is actually lived, who you are is located where what a master calls “out-here” – out where life (the world, others, and who you are referring to when you say “I” or “me”) actually happens for you. This is where a master  lives: out-here, living where life actually happens.” “ou – the one for whom life shows up “out-here” – are not located either “here” or “there”. You, the one for whom life shows up out-here, are a clearing – the clearing in which life shows up.

“By taking a stand on yourself as out-here, you will actually experience yourself being out-here, and interacting with life where life actually happens. THAT IS WHAT MAKES AN ORDINARY PERSON TO FUNCTION AS A MASTER”

“To say that either “in-here” or “out-here” is the truth is not true.  Rather we are saying that you have a choice. People who practice being aware of where their experience of objects and situations in the world, and of other people in the world, is actually happening, report a breakthrough in their effectiveness in dealing with the world and with others. This allows you a certain DETACHMENT from your automatic way of being that leaves you free to be. When you are practicing being out here, what is going on with you internally will stop being who you are for yourself. And, you (the you that you refer to when you say “I” or “me”) will simply be one of the things that shows up for you in the clearing for life that you actually are.” “Who you actually are is: Out Here!”