Thorsen’s“Higher Ground” takes a penetrating look at mental illness in contemporary society. This work is a butoh performance for 5 dancers. the dance explores the struggle to maintain control in the face of madness, and the humanness and vulnerability of a soul coming to grips with their own unraveling. The inspiration for the work comes from the documentary “The Library of Dust” based on photographer David Masiel’s photos of the Oregon State Mental Hospital. Masiel’s photos document the decay of the hospital and the 3500 copper canisters which hold the remains of residents of the mental hospital who were unwanted in life and in death. The dance honors the journey for wholeness, and explores the interior life of our most vulnerable, the people on our streets, the resilience of our human spirit, and the courage to go on in the face of adversity.
“In the process of creating an indigenous form of modern dance, Japanese butoh founders discovered a universal poetry of the body. Rather than transcending the human condition, butoh asks us to descend into it- down into the turbulence, awkwardness and uncertainty of life- and from there, deep in the thick of things, we discover our own healing and capacity to love unconditionally.” Lani Weissbach
It is important to see that the main point of any spiritual practice is to step out of the bureaucracy of ego. This means stepping out of ego’s constant desire for a higher, more spiritual, more transcendental version of knowledge, religion, virtue, judgement, comfort or whatever it is that the particular ego is seeking.
When you live your life in accordance with basic goodness, then you develop natural elegance. Your life can be spacious and relaxed, without havingto be sloppy. You can actually let go of your deprssion and embarrassment aboutbeing a human being, and you can cheer up.
The result of practicing the discipline of warriorship is that you learn to stop ambition and frivolity, and out of that, you develop a good sense of balance. Balance comes, not from holding on to a situation, but making friends with heaven and earth. Earth is gravity,or practicality. Heaven is vision orthe experience of open space in which you can uplift your posture, your head and shoulders. Balance comes from joining practicality with vision, or we could say, joining skill with spontaneity.
First trust in yourself. Then you can also trust in the earth or gravity of a situation, and because of that, you can uplift yourself. At that point, your discipline becomes delightful rather than being an ordeal or a great demand… learn to float…Each step is a dance. Chogyam Trungpa
“The body is a sacred garment.
• There is a vitality, a life-force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost.
• The body says what words cannot.
• The body is your instrument in dance, but your art is outside that creature, the body.
• Our arms start from the back because they were once wings.
• No artist is ahead of his time. He is his time. It is just that the others are behind the time.
• Dance is the hidden language of the soul.
• Dancing is just discovery, discovery, discovery.”