Sara Shelton Mann / Abby Crain: Moving Alchemy

 ‘Between lightning and thunder’

22 – 24 / 07 / 2021, Sanvicenti

I want to explore short stories of people in my local community and my student base, specifically through writing on topics that are global, universal, family, personal, private and focused into vignettes that are healing driven – thus not performance driven but performative, private and personally driven as public healings. Each image/dance acts as a willingness to be a surrogate for the collective. Lightning and thunder are simultaneous it seems, yet the gap occurs with light traveling faster and heating the air. This is cause and effect – that which comes around goes around – cliché yes – but here we are at death’s door due to greed and sleepiness while as always, the poor suffer, and the natural elements of the earth are squandered for a moment of a gold toilet.

My performance work has now become the same thread in that what I teach, I perform, and my students work with me to create the work. I work through writing, technical improvisation and choreographic puzzles and healing modalities to create a full platform of possibilities.

We will make offering of these short stories through writing and performing:

  1. Teaching how to write from interim space as a shamanic portal
  2. The exploration of turning them into spoken word, images, small theater pieces – states and sound work as performance, dance as performance
  3. Cultural pictures and warps of where we live and who we are, and do we remember our essence and what is the job now?
  4. The collective holds the key so as individuals share truth and stay present and, in the body, the collective moves together – say we have forever so all time is now

Specific skills taught that may and can be directed toward and organized around goals of social and political and human interactive exchange:

  1. A study of being grounded deeply in the body as a soloist and then as a follower and then as neutral. A study in choice and a study in patterns – what movitates one to move? Nervous system ready – fight or flight, the send wave which is a stroke in space, and end point or a period?

Space and geometry – organizing movement and space as a series of intersecting lines from tiny to touching the ends of the universe. Space moving through the body and moving the body thus the body becomes transparent – and much less heavy.

Writing for scenario – using the imagination muscles to create – movement, images, songs, stories, thought forms and all manner of trauma drama quick fleeting and dissolving.

Healing as an act of intelligence and surrender. Holding sacred space and working with form so that the content of movement acts as a surrogate of healing for the collective.

Sara Shelton Mann has been a choreographer, performer, and teacher since 1967.  She was a protégé of Alwin Nikolais and Murray Louis in New York City before moving to Canada where she met Andrew Harwood and fell in love with Contact Improvisation.
In 1979 she moved to San Francisco to work with Mangrove, now Mixed Bag Productions, for which she serves as artistic director. One of its early manifestations was the company Contraband, launched as a performance group and research ground combining the principles of contact, systems of the body and spiritual practice into a unified system of research.
Among her awards are 7 Isadora Duncan Awards, including a special achievement award for “erasing time: celebrating 30 years a radical dance legend” (Sara Shelton Mann with David Szlasa and Norman Rutherford), Lifetime Achievement Bay Guardian Award, 10 Women Who Made a Difference, Bay Guardian “Goldie” Award.
Her Movement Alchemy training is an ongoing teaching project and is influenced by certifications and studies in the metaphysical and healing traditions. Sara’s performance work is a platform for collaboration and research in consciousness.