Monday 15 February 2016

Taking Up Space: Embodying Formations of Visionary Fiction

As I have noted in the past, I study with an organization that provides yoga training in the context of disability, and every year, they hold a month-long "Kiss My Asana" yogathon, which I take as an opportunity to explore embodied experience more deeply, particularly how every body can access the most experienceFollowing the lead of Matt Sanford, who runs MindBody Solutions, I'm organizing my yogathon practice around creating context where it is possible to try to take up as much space as possible -- a feeling I think can be easiest to access through poses that encourage you to push out like a star. 

Last weekend's amazing Formation video repeatedly featured this star-spaced theme -- combining the physical act of making space with attention to the social relationships that challenge or support this space making, something I'd like to stay a few more things about, given that moving the yogathon to February from its prior location in April has placed it squarely in Black History Month.

This child takes this space in front of a line of riot police, which gives a sense of how this act of reaching out can take different kinds of effort, since the star-reaching, dry-swimming, afro-maintaining dance formation in the pool is obviously not easy.

Beyoncé is obviously very powerful -- and part of what has made Formation rock the internet is not just the power of star poses, but their particular use: pitting that power in both powerful and vulnerable ways against oppression:

Splayed out on a police car as it submerges in a New Orleans flood, after asking "Stop shooting us," or restaging plantation representations, she enacts what Adrienne Maree Brown describes as important visionary fiction, showing possibility and what the space it inhabits looks like:

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