A poem by Barbara Dilley

Standing at the edge of an empty space.
Waiting. Looking. Hesitating.
Rocking forward on the balls of my feet,
Inhaling and tightening the front edge of my body,
Rocking back on my heels.

This is the Beginning.
Unexpectedly I step ~ step forward into space.
The stepping and awareness of stepping are together.
It is light. I smile, lift my arm, soften my knees, exhale,
and turning slowly, fall gently to the side and
the falling becomes a run.

Now I am in the Middle. I play with
*****sadness****sudden energy****gentle rain
********becoming the trees, the greenery and so on.

Slowness. I am looking at the room, the windows, doors.
The floor is strong beneath me.
I flutter quietly, become still.

Then it is the End.
Stepping to the edge of the space,
turning to feel the empty room
and it is gone ~ the dancing.
I have left no trace.
Now it is cool and light and there are no regrets.

– Barbara Dilley (creator of CDP-Contemplative Dance Practice)


19 thoughts on “A poem by Barbara Dilley

  1. This faculty concert was in my opinion one of the stronger concerts I have seen from the department. I felt like all the pieces were so different from one another which really appealed to me. I liked Lorin’s piece because it was very relatable. This society has become all about social networking and i have seen cyber bullying happen many times. Sophie’s piece was simple yet intricate. Having the live musician was an added plus and really helped bring her story to life. Gerald’s piece evoked a lot of emotions for me for some reason especially when Quita was doing her solo. I never got to see Keith’s piece on stage, but from the showing i thought how different of a dance this was from his other works and it was very joyful. I could tell the cast loved it as well which made it even more intriguing as an audience. Being in Andy’s piece was such a privilege because he is a great choreographer and as tiring as it was, it was fun. Overall I think this was a great concert and can’t wait for more!

  2. I attended our department’s Faculty Dance Concert on opening night. It was very exciting to see all of my colleagues performing what they have been working on this past semester on the stage of the Martha B. The performance was incredibly diverse. Sofie’s piece was elegantly devastating; Molly and Jobel danced with such passion and intimacy in accordance with the lament of the cello. I liked that Lorin’s piece had a lovely group of technically advanced dancers and a very clear story. Megan was the victim of cyber bullying. In contrast, Gerald’s piece did not seem to have a clear story but I felt it expressed the degradation of society. I was able to identify qualities in his dancer’s that we have been working on in class. Andy’s and Keith’s pieces appeared to be structure in the same fashion. They both included a variety of songs with dance segments that reflected the ambiance of each individual piece of music.

  3. I’m sad that the concert is over and that the year is coming to a close. Being backstage with everyone and rehearsing was a joy and I was able to grow closer to my fellow dancers, especially this week. This is the last perfomrance at CSULB for some, and although it’s too early for goodbyes I just want to show my appreciation for everyone in this class and in the show before life resumes its hectic pace. Frankly, this department special because of what the students and faculty contribute. This campus might not be seeing a few of these faces next semester, but life is about change and surely it’s for the better. Great show, guys!

  4. This week was interesting, I could definitely feel the more stressed vibe with everything going on. There were shows and exams…for some reason everything happens in the same week! The show was amazing, but I’ll talk more about that on the concert response post. This week I had fun playing with the rond de jambe combo and improvising with the different combos. It took me a couple times to really apply the head tail connection from going low to high, but it finally connected and I felt a lot more on my center. I’m loving the playfulness we’ve got going with a bunch of our exercises especially when I can make a connection with someone all the way across the room. Can’t wait to play more!

  5. As hard, exhausting, and fun as last week was, I am so glad that it is over. It wasn’t until the last day of the faculty concert that I realized that this could possibly be my last show at CSULB. I got sad for a second, but then realized that even if it was, I was proud of what I had accomplished onstage. Andy’s piece was very demanding, but I really had fun with it and danced as full out as I could. Dance/movement may be only a fleeting moment that we can’t stand back and actively look at. It’s an experience, not an object. Intangible, yet tangible.
    On another note, I want to specifically talk about Friday. It always amuses me that when you are tired in class, it can work to your advantage. I was able to really focus on the head/tail connection on Friday. I was able to tap into it, and explore it more, which was really nice. I also felt more grounded, like everything was coming together.

  6. Loved the faculty concert, and everyone in it was beautiful!! So inspiring. After reading it a couple times over a few days, I think this poem speaks well to the positive, indulgent side of improvisation. I personally enjoy improvisation more with my eyes closed or somewhat closed, soft gaze because it is more internal and I feel that I am having more of a kinetic experience. Dilley, I think, has described a more direct and tactile form of improvising, which I appreciate, and sharing this has given me the chance to reflect what improv is for me and look at my form and hers side by side. In the past two semesters with so much new somatic information, I’ve found that exploring improv can feed into my phrase-based movement if I am able to retain the same sense of ease and flow in my body. Improvising with the phrase we already had was a challenge for me because I wasn’t in an internal, comfortable state, so I think that exercise showed me that it’s good to note my improvisational tendencies in different approaches and that I can think about translating what I’ve found onto improvising with phrase material.

  7. It was nice to see my fellow classmates dancing on stage and pouring their hearts and their souls in their dancing!! It was a wonderful faculty concert. This being my first show i was not a part of since being in the dance department it was nice to experience watching the show as a complete audience member. Being in the show i never got the chance to really be in the audience and get a full on experience but this time i felt over joyed and so proud of the dancers in the concert. I definitely agree with Kelly Atwood’s comment about how each piece was different from each other but together it created a marvelous cohesive strong concert, even with the choreographers movements and ideas.
    On another note, Friday’s class i really enjoyed and actually found myself putting my wall down and letting go. I especially enjoyed going across the floor i really received a sense of the spiraling and twisting moving across the space. Also, i found myself pushing through my comfortable boundaries and really going for that little extra after each step like that imagery Gerald gave the class, “There’s a little more in the phrase, really getting the juices out of it.” I am looking forward to more across the floor combinations! 🙂

  8. I can’t believe that the faculty concert has already come and gone. It’s been such an insptiational week and I have to say that in the business and exhaustion that this week has endured, I learned a lot about my body. In class on Friday, although I was tired, I noticed that I was able to work much more efficiently in class and still feel the same results without exhausting my muscles. I definitely will try to work towards being more efficient with my energy output (muscularly) and be more untune with when my body is working “too hard.”

  9. I believe this was one of the better faculty concerts I’ve seen here at Long Beach. Not only were the pieces so varied and interesting, they each brought a lot of feeling and humanity to them. I felt like I was not just viewing technique, but rather watching art through movement. Lorin’s piece can be very relevant to many with the clear story line and strong visuals accompanying the dance. Sophie’s piece was technical and more abstract, but was embedded with meaning and emotions that the audience can draw from. I also thought the live accompaniment was great. Geralds’ piece was very “human” to me as the title suggests. I was not distracted during it even though it was long. Something about the choreography, the dancers and the music made it very appealing and fascinating. Keith’s piece exemplified a lot of joy and liveliness. The movements were very fluid and pleasant to watch. The dancers came alive during it, but were also very natural in the way that they performed it. I think the lighting and costumes contributed a lot to Andy’s piece, and the dancing was very dynamic and exciting. I can see how the attention to detail and clarity was exhibited in each of the pieces. The dancers were focused and present in their bodies. I also saw a lot of connection and the relationship between the dancers onstage. I saw use of the full body and kinesthetic awareness in the movement. Overall, I think that the attention and awareness to our bodies that the somatic techniques we’ve learned requires, stands equal in importance with a lot of aspects about dance. I find all of these things we’ve been learning in class relevant to any type of dance or movement in general. I see how extremely important and fruitful it can be to work with the mind and body in a connected way, and how incorporating these kind of ideas and techniques can render the most satisfying results for both the dancer and viewer.

  10. Can I just say… it is such an honor to be able to dance in the company of such beautiful, amazing dancers!

  11. The faculty concert was wonderful like always! I was working wardrobe so I was able to hear the beautiful music every night! What I found interesting with the show was observing the differences between the double casts, especially with Sophie’s piece. Both cast were beautiful as well as the musician but I found it interesting watching the different approaches each couple made. Melissa and Joey had a more edgier and faster approach compared to Molly and Jobel who had a softer more delicate style. I was thinking about how since it was with a live musician if she played faster with one cast by reading off how they were dancing. Even though it was the same choreography I saw different stories and perceptions between each cast. I loved how they each found a different way to do the same step with different intentions and it gave the appearance of Melissa and Joey as being more aggressive. Joey also looked more angry and seductive compared to Jobel which always told a different story to me than the other cast. Watching both cast perform and also with Keith’s piece was refreshing and almost changed the atmosphere of the dance.

  12. Last weeks class, ( the week after faculty concert) was really refreshing for me. I appreciated that we had the opportunity to work on the same combinations for a few days and I felt like I was really starting to be able to connect the movement in a more full body way. This class has really been such an awesome experience this semester, I’ve learned so much in such a short amount of time. 🙂

  13. Love Dance! I can’t believe this year is almost over and next year is my last year. I can’t wait to get started and see where life takes me. Thank you for this class everyone. I can really see the commitment and the drive that everyone has and it is a beautiful thing to be a part of. Thank you to Gerald as well. Your beyonce hips will be missed. 🙂
    p.s.This poem is beautiful!

  14. The Faculty Concert showcased a wide range of genres. I’m happy to say that I learned something from each piece. Gerald’s piece in particular incorporated Bartenieff fundamentals that I studied for my somatic paper. I was able to recognize many of the fundamentals like connectivity of motion, body half relationship, gathering and scattering, distal extremes, central, peripheral, and transversal paths, and especially utilizing the core as the center of gravity for the body. Like any dance composition, core work is essential; it is the foundation of energy and movement. When used correctly, the core can allow the most effective movement and positive outcome. Head and tail connectivity was also very important in the piece, this contributed to the bigger picture of movement connectivity. I also saw how important it was and is to distinctly know the three planes – vertical, horizontal, and sagittal – so that we may understand the relationship of the body with movement and accomplish whole body connectivity. The Basic 6 exercises from the Bartenieff Fundamentals prepare us for movements in class that lead to choreographed pieces and then to the stage.

    P.S I’ll miss this class SOOOOOOO much :'[ </3 Thank you, Gerald!

  15. The Spring Faculty Concert was so different from anything I’d ever seen at CSULB. Every piece was so different and unique and because of that, the show as a whole was so exciting and enjoyable. I was shocked by Sophie’s choice of choreographing a duet, but I absolutely loved the style of the movement and how different it was from her usual style. Keith’s choice of music and the style of his choreography shocked me too; it was so happy and playful. Gerald’s piece was one of my favorites. I was so moved during the slow ballad towards the middle of the piece, Alexes and I were totally crying at that point! It was such a beautiful moment in the piece because it was like everything stopped, regrouped, and started again. I noticed a lot of repetition with the movement phrases, and I felt pretty cool that we did a large amount of the phrases in our class. It was so interesting to watch the movement fundamentals that we’ve been studying all semester put to work; it made me more aware of the quality and content of the movement, and I feel I was able to see the piece from a different angle or point of view. Overall, I’m so proud of our department. This show was not comparable to any other show I’ve seen. I felt overwhelmed with happiness at the end of the performance! My fellow dancers definitely pushed themselves and I feel that the faculty pushed themselves just as much to create something so different and new.

  16. What a great poem. This poem reminds me of a lesson I was taught in my first choreography class. “A good dance has a beginning, middle and end.” Linda Sohl-Ellison

    The dance imagery of this poem is quite fun and useful. It is important to understand the movement that you do, to place some kind of meaning into the movement to add quality to it.

  17. Reading this poem now that the week of finals is upon us, and our regular classes are over, it is very sad! I have enjoyed this semester and this class so much, and have really gained a lot. I think this poem is very fitting to how fast this semester has gone by, and how we all feel at the end of it. Thank you Gerald, for an amazing semester, it really has been a pleasure having you as a teacher! You will be missed at the department next year, but I hope you enjoy your new job!

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