Tuesday, October 21, 2014

SOULPRINT PLAYERS: An InterPlay Performance Group is Forming in Atlanta

written by Ruth Schowalter,  InterPlay Leader-in-Training

SOULPRINT PLAYERS. Here is a logo in progress for the Soulprint Players for Atlanta's InterPlay performance. As we rehearse and get acquainted with one another for our first public performance as the Soulprint Players on Sunday, November 16, 2014, we are collaborating on our logo. (ideas by Marie Carrera and Jennifer Denning, art by Ruth Schowalter)
What an opportunity to go deeper into play by participating in an InterPlay performance group! InterPlay is many things to many people and can be used in so many different venues. 

Here in Atlanta, we are so fortunate thanks to Jennifer Denning, to be forming an InterPlay troupe to help us connect and build communities within our large city as well as help create positive social change. We are the Soulprint Players! Ta da!
SECOND REHEARSAL FOR SOULPRINT PLAYERS. On Friday, October 17th, 2014, we had our second rehearsal since forming as the Soulprint Players. Here in this photo are only  a handful of us. It is so exciting to know that we have grown in numbers since our first performance workshop with Sheila K. Collins in January 2014 (to read about this first workshop, see "Ecstatic Following: Learning what it means to be part of an InterPlay performance group!"). (photo by Jennifer Denning, director InterPlay Atlanta)
With five performance workshops under our belts from seasoned InterPlayers, Sheila K. Collins and Phil Porter, we are gaining momentum through incremental steps. 

Last Friday, on October 17th, we had fun playing with a familiar InterPlay form, "Walk, Run, Stop." We expanded the form by adding solo dances with frills! Yes, "solo dances" and "frills"!

In InterPlay, we like to be curious and see what emerges for us when we move. And, yes, when we experiment with that movement how we feel differently. For example, to see what happens if at first we move simply in a group, just walking, running, and stopping and then begin to create more dance-like movements, waving our arms, tapping our feet, spinning, whirling--frills.

Add another important ingredient to this form--the distinction between "ensemble" or group movement and "solo" or individual movement. As we played with this improvisational form in our performance rehearsal, we were invited to have "break-out" solo dances. And the rest of our performance troupe would copy that solo dance. This creation of solo dances with frills was an incremental step. Because...
PLAYING WITH FRILLS. (photo by Ruth Schowalter)
...then we used each "solo dance" as a "dance phrase," which we could use as a part of the vocabulary for building a community or group ensemble dance. 

Was it fun playing around with this form? Yes!

Was it energizing? Yes!

Was it expansive? Yes!

Afterwards, we all felt amazed at how much fun we had had. How surprisingly beautiful this improvisational dance appears to the witnesses!
FINDING THE THING.  As we experiment with each others dance frills, we search for the "thing," the movement that has magic and creates the spell for everyone. (photo by Ruth Schowalter)
We will have two more rehearsals before we have our first performance as the Soulprint Players. We have decided to celebrate "Gratitude" for this first performance occurring during the season of thanksgiving. Please come see us at the Mask Center in the Little Five Points Community Center on Sunday, November 16th, 2014. 

Then in December, we are already looking forward to the next performance workshop, "The Power of Story," which will take place on Friday, December 5th and facilitated by seasoned InterPlayers from North Carolina , Ginny Going and Tom Henderson (see their website). We are so excited to be here! The Soulprint Players!

TOM HENDERSON AND GINNY GOING. InterPlay Leaders in Raleigh, North Carolina, are coming to Atlanta in December and conducting an InterPlay performance workshop on story telling.

Friday, October 17, 2014

InterPlay and Grace Making

Dear Friends,
This is the sight that greeted us this morning as Jennifer Denning, regional director of InterPlay Atlanta, and I traveled to Lee Arrendale State Prison in collaboration with Reforming Arts to provide InterPlay to women inmates.

Sunrise October 17th near Alto, Georgia
As we drove the ninety minutes, we conversed about our week and all that we had been up too.  I don't know about you but this Fall has been way too busy!  I remarked that even in the midst of being overbooked and juggling four major projects (including the upcoming 25th anniversary celebration) I had a feeling of Grace thanks to InterPlay.

Last Friday Jennifer (Grace Maker extraordinaire)  had introduced the concept of "Physicality of Grace" to the ladies during our time together.  At the end, they were coming up with a list of activities that created the experience (opposite of stress) of grace for them and they included things such as dancing, music, gardening, cooking, listening to a story, and reading inspirational books. 

It reminded me that we may not be able to eliminate all stress in our lives, but we can build up grace right next to it.

We can focus on joy and we can create grace for each other, ourselves, our communities, the Earth and all of creation.

One way we can do that is to pay attention to what brings us Grace.
Monarch on Zinnia
Last weekend I had several grace making moments when I was on a girl scout camp out with my 7th grade Cadettes. One was taking a moment to take pictures of the beautiful butterflies that were feeding on the fading zinnias.

This week I had the pleasure of attending Deep Play led by Jennifer. In this six week series, we have the chance to deepen our connection to each other and expand our InterPlay forms as we play together with the same friends.  Every time I participate in InterPlay, I experience grace.

Afterwards the InterPlay Atlanta leadership team met to talk about details of the upcoming 25th anniversary celebration.  We are so excited about the growth of InterPlay here in our community, and we hope you can join us on Saturday the 25th for our FUNdraiser. It's a free lunch that includes inspiration, entertainment and celebration!
One of my Grace Makers, Ruth Schowalter
On Thursday,  I also had the chance to play with my Leader-in-Training buddy Hallelujah Truth Ruth who is definitely a grace maker for me as we journey through the leader training together.  We meet bi-weekly on Skype and do a short InterPlay session and then work our way through the Core Element Self-Study Training Program.

I am so grateful to be surrounded by Grace Makers in my life.  I do my best to create grace for others too.  This week a small way I did this was to give a ride home from the grocery store to a friend in need.

Today I finished out the week with InterPlay at the prison (a big shout out of thanks to Jennifer Denning, an amazing grace  maker for me, who drove today and prepped me for our lesson) and then back to town for Atlanta InterPlay's SoulPrint Players performance rehearsal.

Ta DA! It was a grand finish indeed!

As I take a deep breath in and release it with a thankful sigh I give gratitude for InterPlay and the reminders it gives me to seek out Grace and how it is physical.  As the week draws to an end I am aware of how much better I feel when I put this concept into practice.

Wrapping you around with infinite love and grace,
Christine Gautreaux, Leader-in-Training