Brandy Leary slows it down

Ever watch ice melt?  It’s slow.  Slowness is the theme behind Rhubarb show [color]Glaciology[/color], where dancers form a massive glacier that slowly makes it’s way through city streets to Buddies.  We asked Glaciology choreographer [color]Brandy Leary[/color] to give us a playlist for slowing down.  She took liberties with the assignment.  Check it out

I was originally asked for a playlist of music to slow down to.  For Rhubarb I am working on piece called Glaciology, which in its simplest sense creates a human glacier moving across the urban geography around the Buddies Theatre.  So I am thinking about the elasticity of time and time process that are witnessed by humanity and those that seem hidden.  Slowness has been a radically explored theme in performance and for me; slowness is really just a way to expand awareness, a way of looking rather than a specific rhythm of movement or sound.  I find slowness harder now than I did 15 years ago…very simply because we are in a faster world that demands and rewards immediacy. So I know the world is not slowing down, in fact many of our situations are escalating at an alarming pace but I work toward a practice in my art where I can apply a way of visioning from a place of slowness. Where there is time in the observation process to see all the layers and potentials even if that has to happen at a fast rate.  It is a paradox I know.  So in thinking about a playlist it expanded to a list of experiences that occurred over long periods of time and includes teachers, travel, artistic collaboration, breathing, sitting and dancing and are in no particular order.

1.  James Bunton. James will be creating the Glaciology score, which can be downloaded from the net onto audience’s phones/players for the performance. This is our second choreographic collaboration. His music is deeply layered and really asks that you listen.  It always puts me into an altered zone and supports shifting my perception of how sound and image relate.  Here is some of his music from our last collaboration together.     <listen>

2.  Breathing. Stop. Right now and listen to your breath. This always slows me down. It gets better if you do it for a long period of time.

3.  Repetition. Repetition slows me down. Something about well-done repetition liberates you from the surface narrative and allows something deeper to drop in. Pina was a master at that.   <watch>

4.  India. I have spent half of my artistic career here training in dance and collaborating with artists there.  Something about the density slows me down.  It is just not possible to go fast.  In researching Glaciology I went into the densest, oldest areas of Delhi and just walked, experiencing how to negotiate moving with so many people.     <watch>

5.  Frey Faust. Frey is one of my teachers.  He highlighted for me that coordination changes when the speed of a movement changes. I had heard this before, from different teachers, in different ways, but he made it so very clear.  If you understand the differences of coordination at different speeds you have more choices. This means you have more time to make decisions because you can consciously see more options.    <read>

6.  Centre of Gravity pod casts. I am committed to a mediation practice and do this at the Centre of Gravity in Toronto. It is led by Michael Stone and these pod casts are really valuable in the process of slowing down to see/hear/feel/choose/do your practice with more options.    <listen>

7.  Seraikella. In my early 20’s I was training in a dance style called Chhau and I lived in Serakella;  a semi tribal village in eastern India.  At that time  the village had very little electricity and little running water. My life was dancing and spending time in nature with the rhythms of the world. It was a rare experience of natural slowness. Here is a photo from those days working with Padamsri Guru Kedar Nath Sahoo.

8.  Kalarippayattu. This is a martial art from the South of India. I spent my late 20’s in Kerala practicing this form and continue to this day. It teaches an expanded awareness of movement and space that is useful for any performer. It requires fast movements and reactions but a slow and multidimensional way of seeing.    <watch>

9.  My Collaborators.  They slow me down in beautiful ways because they ask questions,  push me in thoughtful directions and we often respectfully disagree. That is important for me.

10.  Glaciers. I have been working in Iceland in the Glacier regions for choreographic research on this project.  I spent days and days dancing with the landscape.  It is slow and fast, old and new all simultaneously. Here is a photo from my residency there.


Brandy’s show, Glaciology, takes place February 20th as part of Rhubarb’s Mobile Works series. Click here for more info.
For more about Brandy, visit her website.





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