Dancing with Ferns

September 22, 2010

Early in August I visited the National Museum of Dance. One of the exhibitions there was of photos by Michael Manheim – multi-exposure photos of naked Butoh dancers in what he calls “nests of nature.” A flyer at the exhibit said he was looking for “volunteers who can move comfortably in the nude, for his fine art project on the body in motion. I sent him an email and we agreed that he would come to Easton Mountain in September.

On Saturday, September 11, Michael showed me several of the nests of nature. The one that called to me had a patch of beautiful ferns. I stripped naked. I started beyond the ferns, but Michael suggested I move into them. My movement turned into a dance with the ferns that attuned me to their nature and life – a kind of outdoor trance dance, though I kept my eyes open most of the time.

Most of the photos don’t convey the emotions that I felt during the sessions. Perhaps they show something deeper – another facet of my being that was not in my conscious awareness when the pictures were taken.

In the Ferns - 1

© 2010 Michael Philip Manheim. All rights reserved

This one suggests my Higher Self, embracing all aspects of my being.

Dancing With Ferns - 2

© 2010 Michael Philip Manheim. All rights reserved

This one suggests some complex sub-personalities coming up from my unconscious.

Dancing with ferns - 3

© 2010 Michael Philip Manheim. All rights reserved

This is a disturbing image of shadow forces, or maybe death, taking control of my being.

Dancing with Ferns - 4

© 2010 Michael Philip Manheim. All rights reserved

This one comes closet to what I remember of the feelings I had at the time – that of dancing with the ferns.

I hope to return for a subsequent session in which I videotape a dance with ferns.

My thanks to Michael Philip Manheim for permission to use these pictures.

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