This was a post I created almost a year and a half ago, at the beginning of my process with joyUS justUS - and I never uploaded it - the world has gotten even more hateful towards women, mamas and families since then… so some of the sweetness of this feels outdated but these were my thoughts a year ago before joyUS justUS was born. Now that we have premiered the work and are about to world premiere the version with live music in about a month - I now recognize these beginning reflections as some of the seeds of the work- joyUS justUS is a work about mothering, it’s a work about the feminine, a work that unappologetically dismantles patriarchy, and is a chaotic, beautiful, rich, complicated, layered, luscious and fierce as the world of mothering is. So I share this now.
March 2017 - The act of mothering is a revolution - both personal and collective - being in a constant state of 'it's not about you', creating, building up and moving forward the next generation of people who you hope will continue to fight for a more loving and just world and finding in yourself the continuing capacity to grow, regenerate and expand in ways that you never imagined you could, and I won't even go into the sleep deprivation part! The sacrifice mothers endure - Mothering is revolutionary. I have over the last six years become hyper aware of how much I depend on my community as a mother but also how often I feel completely alone. I joked when we adopted ou second son that my calling in life was to dismantle male patriarchy by raising two loving, compassionate and feminist boys. I'm working on it.
Both of my babies have grown up on the road with CONTRA-TIEMPO and have felt deeply connected to and inside of our work from day one. Sid (now six years old) toured with us until he was 2. I was performing in the work regularly then and although I was completely exhausted and stretched thin - those years were so special and fostered a powerful imagination and sense of connection to art for him - his belief that he can create anything definitely came from those formative experiences on the road with us. In 'Full Still Hungry' I performed a solo about my struggle to nourish him, not being able to breastfeed but wanting to form that deep maternal bond with my baby even though he hadn't grown inside of me - it was a huge risk as an artist to put one of my most vulnerable moments as a mom onstage but I also found that every time we performed the work someone always deeply felt this moment and thanked me for going there. "Agua Furiosa" was inspired by my desire to make us look at our humanity honestly and deeply with the hopes that my son (now sons) or maybe more realistically their children wouldn't one day fear for their lives as so many black and brown boys and girls do now. And joyUS, which will premier in Fall 2018, will embody our birth right of joy as a revolutionary practice. I feel no greater joy than being and dancing with my boys. Their joy is so unbound and free flowing - it is a constant reminder for me of my own capacity to be inside of love and light!
The last several tours Arizona, Arkansas and Alabama - Luca (now 6.5 months old) was with me and I took him to gallery talks, lec dems, master classes and rehearsals. It wasn't always easy but I'm am always struck by how having him with me opens up conversations about how involving our children in our work will deeply impact them, their learning and their capacity to be in relationship to the world and to others. It also seems to ground folks in what's really important and in human connection. The act of bringing my baby/babies is dismantling our male dominated paradigm - that makes women feel shamed and othered for having their children be a part of their lives - but especially their work. My mom took me everywhere - not because she always wanted to but because she had to - but growing up on picket lines, in union halls, in public access TV stations, in community arts spaces, seeing and listening to my parents engage in complicated social and political movements, made me who I am today - and I will continue to make sure that my children have these opportunities to be in the world this way! I know that being a mama and having my family with me is sometimes challenging, and that not all 'jobs' would allow me this capacity - but I also know that as an artist I'm committed to being a mom and that my mothering informs my art and my art informs my mothering - so present they will be! At least until hanging out with me becomes embarrassing for them :)