PROJECT HOME - MARIEL MADRID

There are just some things that will happen eventually because they must.

I have been watching my brother dance since he was a little kid.  And I mean, grass stains, innocently smells like dirt and sweat in a way only little boys age 5-9 do, bowl cut, all of it.  He’s been enjoying music since we were children.  Some of my favorite memories are rolling around on some God-awful brown carpet (whose stale smell I am still nostalgic for), and hearing the sounds of legendary musicians intermingle with our parents laughter.  These moments make us both believe that the combination of music and movement is a 100 mph straight shot to a highway of joyous life.  We come from a family of dancing Davids.

It’s insane to me that we’ve both ended up on this creative life path, and not only that, but both in dance.  I find it an enormous blessing to share so many experiences, appreciations, friendships, and community with my sibling.  Not only that, but my heart swells to near bursting when I think about how far he’s come and how proud I am of him as an artist.  To further that, its also been a magical thing seeing the ways that Chris and Larkin have pushed and awakened things in each other.  They’re both some very special lima beans to me.  The way they can be so honest and human, yet also so surreal and amazing leaves you thinking about how you can be a better person.  I mean, for me this is the ultimate goal of art; to motivate others and draw out the good in them.  They make a marvelous duo.  As someone who shares her career with her husband, I intimately understand the challenge of collaboration, but ultimately the strength and fruitfulness that comes from it.  If more than one mind can figure out a way to join their forces, their resources, and visions, you get beautiful things. 

This is something that’s held more and more weight with me as I’ve gotten older, especially in the current world of sharing everything.  When the world seems to be constantly chattering, how much do I appreciate those who push to make beautiful things.  How much do I hope and have faith that this is a necessary part of human experience; the existence of beauty - making it, seeing it, letting it slow down time so that the rushing energy of the anxious way we live can breathe, even if just for one drawn out breath.  That these things subconsciously connect humanity.  And I know this process will be one of challenge, anxiety, facing fears, pushing body and brain, adapting to changes, accepting the whirlwind nature of the process of creation - but these moments are so precious.  It’s the people who are willing to put the heaviness on their shoulders to make beauty that ultimately become carriers of light.  This is the man my brother has grown to be.  This is what kind of person I strive to be, and something I think is a common thread to all the people who will make Project Home a reality.

So adventure time.  Saddle up betties.  I promise to all who have supported this so far, we will work to the bone to make this beautiful thing exist.  And, I do believe, that we will relish every second of it.

PROJECT HOME - BEN STAMPER

When I watch film, I am
shown the impossible,
what can never be.

When I watch dance, I am
shown the possible and
what must be.
— -Ben Stamper, from “Stewards of the Moment”

To merely superimpose one art form upon another is a waste of time and won’t bring anyone closer to the truth, though it is done all too often. But to bring dance and film together like two distant cousins meeting for the first time, allowing them to work out their shared blood without compromising their individuality; this is an opportunity for something new. A collaboration is only worth something when one element elevates the other. The merging of dance and film in a landscape that routinely leaves its inhabitants speechless is why we have come together. Iceland is the perfect context to explore the homeward impulse in each one of us: primordial and refined; serene and treacherous - this country takes on the physical expression of “home” in all its dimensions. In short, we are not out to simply make a dance video with a really cool backdrop. Our aim with Project Home is to create a piece of art that speaks to our deepest yearnings as humans: To belong. To welcome. To conflate the possible and impossible and forge a new creative language together.

PROJECT HOME - JANELLE GLEASON

A little over a year ago, Larkin and I spent an afternoon wandering around San Francisco, talking about our lives, our goals, our cities and a lot about dance.  I was at a point in my life where I wasn’t really sure what I was doing. I was working, I was thinking about moving, I was thinking about going back to school. I asked Larkin if I could dance with him. The idea for this project didn’t even exist yet but wherever he was going next, I wanted to go, too.

I’ve believed in Larkin and Chris as storytellers and artists and just good people from the very beginning. I’ve trusted their movement and their honesty in every class, performance, and conversation we’ve shared. I’m so incredibly excited to go on this journey to explore and create with them and the rest of this amazing team.

But this is bigger and bolder than anything I’ve ever done in my dance career and it makes me anxious, not just in the sense of “will we raise enough money? Can we do this logistically?” but also in the sense of “can I do this? As a dancer?”

I believe in Project Home because it scares me. And I’m taking that as a sign that it’s important to move forward.

I’m challenging myself to lean into these doubts, embrace them, push past them, and find what’s waiting on the other side. Giving into my fears in the hopes that they’ll help me grow, as an artist and as an individual, alongside everyone involved in this project.

I still can’t say that I know what I’m doing with my life with any more certainty than I did a year ago with Larkin in Dolores Park. But being a part of this team and a part of this story of a wandering soul and her quest to find where she belongs, makes me feel like I’m on the right track to finding my home, too. If only I’m brave enough to seek it.

 

 

THE LIGHT

On March 25th of last year I found myself surrounded by people I deeply admire in the middle of a blossoming, dew covered field. Miles from any cities or cell phone coverage, we were isolated but far from alone. That day, my peers and I danced in a sea of yellow and green so vast that only the steadfast mountains could contain it. I watched in awe as everyone took turns improvising beneath the bluest of skies. While my friends writhed, thrashed and raged, I couldn't help but wonder at how truly beautiful it was to see these masters at work. They danced not for the amusement of others, but rather for the sake of losing themselves in their expansive surroundings. Trading in their prestigious stage for the far more sturdy and ever humble ground. Lit not by soldered metal and pieces of glass but instead by the bountiful sun, these remarkable artists moved with breathtaking honesty, and none of them had ever been more radiant.

 Dance is not something that we need, by definition. Without it we would not starve or go thirsty.   The economies of the world would not fail if we ceased to bend and shake to soulful sounds. The policies of our politicians would undoubtedly be proposed and passed. But without dance, the world would be robbed of a sweetness…one that needs no currency or legislation. Martha Graham once stated that “the body says what words cannot”. This is certainly true, but I also believe that the body has no need to say anything. The body and its dance gives us that which words cannot. It gives us purpose.

-Do not go gentle into that good night-

Dylan Thomas, 1914 - 1953

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.