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test-traveler/polar star

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salt water solution
polar star
miracle manor
woodstock nation
63 frozen sirloins
cleansing the senses
main street

© photo by Dona McAdams 2000

scene 9

cleansing the senses

Sitting in Veselka's Polish Restaurant on Second Avenue and Ninth Street  after Open Movement in the summer of 79' in New York, it was always difficult talking about Poland, Grotowski and his influence on the East Village Dance and Performance scene. Open Movement was an occasion for dancers, actors and regular people to meet and improvise. Later, we shared ideas over bowls of soup and challah bread.

I ordered borscht and kasha with mushroom sauce and kielbasa with horse-radish or hot mustard. Veselka's menu and waitresses answered questions about Polish life better than I could. Friends ordered pirogis, cabbage soup, bigos and other dishes that I'd eaten in Wroclaw, Krakow and Warsaw a few months ago.

"Litwo ojczyzno moja, Ty jestes' jak zdowie," I said, which turned heads in Veselka as it did in downtown Wroclaw, or at the alley entrance to the Lab Theatre at Rynek-Ratusz 27. "Lithuania my motherland you give me health and spirit!" The Polish National Poem by Adam Mickiewicz began.  Lithuania and Poland shared one national spirit at that time. My grandmother was born in Lithuania.

At Veselka's the group was more interested in Open Movement and asking everyone to move in silence and stop filling the air with tapes of new wave music or experimental composers. Did this have something to do with with Grotowski's influence?

The food arrived and I took a chance.

"Cleansing the senses" I said. To live and create more fully. That's one of his goals."

My friends looked at me strangely, enjoying the soup.

In open movement everyone prepares and participates. Like preparing  a field for planting corn, sweeping a space, opening a window, sensing the air. Arriving, acknowledging one another, waiting.

I gained confidence as the main dishes arrived.

The space is a landscape, floor, earth, beach.
Safe for the body: breathe, heartbeat, sweat, rhythmn, play, sense and sensuality.

Present, attentive, still. Seeing, waiting, standing. holding and letting go. falling. In the river: the rush and mix of spontaneous memories. new experiences. exhaustion. fresh inspiration. "Cleansing the senses to live and create more fully. That's it!"

Everyone paid and left except me.

The waitress cleaned the table. Her red hair and open face looked at me expectantly as I picked up my pack preparing for our duet:

"Litwo ojczyzno moja, Ty jestes' jak zdowie."



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