wat’s up? – Adam Sawatsky

DANCING IN THE PRESENT

The last time I danced publicly, I was passing a kidney stone.

The painful process began while preparing for a Dance Victoria fundraiser. My final rehearsal was cut short so I could rush to the hospital. The doctor said the feeling is the closest a man will get to experience childbirth.

I was working with Monique Salez, who’s now Artistic Director of Raino Dance. She calls my dance debut a “heightened” experience that we should all strive for. Not the pain part, but the opportunity to sense our body’s potential.

Salez says many of us are disconnected from our bodies – just heads walking down the street. During rehearsals, my head was attached to two left feet.

After months of practicing Flamenco, I didn’t get the routine right once.

Before performance day I was terrified of failure. As we were waiting in the wings of the McPherson Playhouse, I wasn’t thinking about my moves or the sold-out crowd, I was consumed by pain.

When we walked on stage and started the routine, something unexpected happened. Just like the movies, everything was in slow motion. The pain was gone. The fear was gone. And I remembered every step.

The feeling was unlike anything else. It was bigger than the rush of adrenaline and wave of goodwill that crashes over you as hundreds applaud.

Salez says I was simply “present” in my body. “You were throwing yourself off a cliff and birthing at the same time. The pain forced you to be aware of your body. You cannot successfully perform if your mind is somewhere else.”

AS: “What do you think the world would be like if everybody danced?”

MS: “A lot healthier.”

AS: “Because we’d be more fit?”

MS: “Because we wouldn’t be so cerebral. We’re all blah, blah, blah. The body holds emotion that is unresolved. In the physical world you can express your fear and anger and sadness. It just releases all those feelings that are held. If you don’t hold on to that, it can’t turn into illness.”

My body stopped holding on to the kidney stone it created shortly after the show. After struggling so much to dance so little, I was left with a new appreciation for what a good performer seems to do effortlessly. Now I sit back and watch dancers work with a sense of ‘wow.’ A lesson learned through feeling ‘ow.’

Adam Sawatsky reports on arts & lifestyle weekdays on ‘CTV News Vancouver Island with Hudson Mack’. On weekends he hosts ‘Eye on the Arts’ on CFAX 1070.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Scaredy Cats television series has turned Empress Avenue in Fernwood into a Halloween themed neighbourhood. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Trick or treat! Halloween comes to Fernwood in January

New television series Scaredy Cats filming in Victoria

Cindy Foggit plays the lead role of Eliza in Passion and Performance’s film production Eliza: An Adaption of a Christmas Carol. (Courtesy of Rachel Paish)
Victoria adult dance studio releases modern adaption of A Christmas Carol

Instead of usual stage performance, dance studio turns to film

Braden Holtby’s new mask designed in collaboration with Luke Marston and David Gunnarsson. (Mike Wavrecan photo)
Vancouver Island Coast Salish artist unveils new mask for Canucks goalie

Braden Holtby’s new mask features artwork by Luke Marston inspired by the legend of the seawolf

Comox-based cinematographer Maxwel Hohn’s new documentary captures the lives of Vancouver Island’s coastal wolves. Photo courtesy Maxwel Hohn.
New mini-documentary shot on Vancouver Island echoes the ‘call of the coastal wolves’

Photography heavyweights from B.C. come together for Maxwel Hohn’s second wildlife documentary

The 2021 Victoria Film Festival includes Vancouver Island produced feature film All-in Madonna. The festival looks a bit different this year, but film-lovers can still expect a full and diverse lineup. (Courtesy of VFF)
Victoria Film Festival returns with virtual viewing

Lineup features 50 films including Vancouver Island-produced All-in Madonna

Dr. John Hooper is the new conductor of Island Voices. Photo supplied
Island Voices welcomes new conductor

Dr. John Hooper to lead mid-Island based choir

Jorie Benjamin does a modern dance performance to ‘La Vie en rose’ by Édith Piaf, Louis Gugliemi and Marguerite Monnot, choreographed by Elise Sampson during the Cowichan Music Festival’s Highlights Concert at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre on March 1, 2020. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan Music Festival cancelled for 2021

The festival had already been limited to solo performances only for 2021

<em>Chinook Salmon: Breaking Through</em> by B.C.’s Mark Hobson was selected among 13 entries as the winner of the Pacific Salmon Foundation’s Salmon Stamp Competition.
Stained-glass lighting casts a win to B.C. salmon artist

Painting of chinook is Mark Hobson’s third win in annual contest

Apollonian means “serene, calm, or well-balanced; poised & disciplined”. The natural photo art for the album includes Vancouver Island mountains, rivers and beaches. Scenes from the Cowichan River, Witchcraft Lake, Pipers Lagoon, Wall Beach and other popular Island recreation destinations accentuate the album. (RICHIErichieRichie Music Publishing photo)
Serenity Now! Richie Valley debuts third LP dubbed Apollonian

Apollonian means “serene, calm, or well-balanced; poised & disciplined”

Victoria artist Noah Layne is conducting online workshops on portrait drawing as part of the Metchosin ArtPod’s About Face portrait show. (Photo courtesy of Noah Layne)
Metchosin Art Pod doing an about-face

Renowned artist Noah Layne hosting online classes in portrait drawing

This weekend Amy Pye is holding a virtual book launch for her latest children’s book, <em>Bruce the Silly Goose</em>. (Photo courtesy Amy Pye)
Victoria writer and illustrator pens children’s book about COVID-19 safety

Amy Pye to hold online book launch for ‘Bruce the Silly Goose’

The pantomime ‘Snow White and the 5 Dwarfs’ has been cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions. (Submitted)
Pantomime cancelled in Cowichan due to COVID restrictions

A partnership of the Cowichan Musical Society, the Shawnigan Players, and the Mercury Players.

A rendering shows the entrance planned for the Hornby Island Arts Centre. Image supplied
Work on Hornby Island Arts Centre to start this month

Community worked with award-winning architectural firm on design

Most Read