September 16, 2008

Art as Health Insurance

Last night Nicole and I attended a Kathak Dance rehearsal at the 0brava Theatre Center in San Francisco's Mission District. The dance is a combination of yoga, singing and meditation. More accurately the yoga and chanting become the meditation.

The combination of movement and voice are built on layers of mathematics calculations. As the dancers become proficient in each new level they add another layer. Proficiency is realized when you have reached the capacity for your mind to wonder. This moves the dancers out of their meditative presence requiring new layers of complication which they describe as splitting the mind. One woman was able to sing, dance and play an instrument with 16 beats of movement. I'm confused just trying to explain it.

Watching the dancers, who are all women, you can see the joy and intensity they are experiencing by their facial expressions. It was awe inspiring to see their transformation into the meditative state.

Their guru, who taught them the methodology and inspired their self-created choreography introduced two of the youngest group members who have been studying with him since they were little girls. He asked them to share what it iis they do for their profession. One is a film maker and the other prices health insurance. The guru said, "this is your life insurance. It keeps you healthy. If only these women could make a living from their art."

It was an interesting concept to thin of art as being so vital to life that it was considered health insurance. Today I was struck again by this realization when I received an email from a friend in Houston. I had written her asking if she was okay after the storm. Her response was that they had no electricity and their house gate was broken but they still had enough sunshine to paint. Art as health and life insurance.

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