25. Gotta Dance

I've referenced myself a couple of times in the last few months as an energy person. I've been fortunate no one has pressed me for further information or clarification on what this might mean because I'm not sure I can explain it. I know my study of and my understanding of the energy that draws me organically began when I was in graduate school working on my first full-length play, an adaptation of Acting: The First Six Lessons, by Richard Boleslavsky. If you're familiar with the book or my adaptation you might remember the 6th lesson, "Rhythm." My having to navigate something Boleslavsky said he didn't fully understand, challenged me to begin my own journey to better understand rhythm for myself.

My first conscious dealing with rhythm came when I was sitting in rush-hour traffic, frustrated. I could feel the rhythm, the energy, but I wasn't in-step with it. Boleslavsky has a monologue trying to explain the emotional difference between what and how by exploring the changing rhythms from street level in New York City to the top of the Empire State Building. This monologue is acutely aware of its rhythm and it instantly drew me in. When I was sitting there in traffic, this monologue popped into my head and helped me to better understand the inherent energy underlying all of life's and art's rhythm.

Energy is everywhere and is in everything. It is in everything we are and in everything we do. We contribute to it; we take away from it; we go with it; we go against it; we encourage it; we confound it; we delight it; we stumble around it; and we stumble through it, as we live it--each and every day and each and every moment. Energy is individual; energy is collective; energy is personal; energy is social; energy is outgoing; energy is reserved. All human and character interaction is based upon energy. When I was sitting in traffic, full of frustration, and thought about Boleslavsky attempting to define rhythm, something happened. In that one moment, I changed; when I changed, the energy of my sitting in traffic changed--the frustration was gone and for the rest of the drive I was experimenting with how I could be in-step with the energy, not working against it. In that one moment I didn't fight my frustration--I embraced it! I changed and the whole traffic-fighting world changed with it.

originally posted November 2013
reposted March 2018

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