(reverence)

Is this thing still on?

I haven’t forgotten how to type — I’ve been doing quite a bit of that recently. But this isn’t about that.

This is about the thing that I started earlier this year. A thing that I considered not finishing. The thing that took all of my energy and focus in some moments and couldn’t grab my attention for more than five minutes in others.

So why am I bringing it back up?

An update, if you will, or more appropriately a marking of my finishing it.

But it’s not really “finished”.

I’m finished with it. I ended up filming all of the videos before I left Brown at the end of the spring semester. I tried to finish my editing, get it out in one day so I could truly say that it was finished and put it out there so I could be “done”. But before I could finish it I realized I didn’t need to. It had already served its purpose before I opened the last few videos in iMovie, before I added the correct recordings to my versions, and before I tried to thing of sounds to overlap before submitting your version this internet thing.

But I was finished, I am very finished. I got the catharsis I needed. I went back through the things I needed to go through and I can let go if it now without feeling like I left loose ends.

I started this to tie up loose ends, and that’s exactly what it did.

So reverence? According to the internet thing, reverence is:

  1. (noun) deep respect for someone or something
  2. (verb) regard or treat with deep respect

There are other definitions out there, but I’m most interested in reverence as a practice. I’m thinking about the “reverence” that is pronounced with a slightly French accent. I’m referring to the ritual that anyone who has anything to do with ballet has either seen or done more times than they could begin to count.

The internet thing says that, “The ritual of the reverence in ballet is performed at the end of a dance sequence on stage before an audience and at the end of each class as a sign of gratitude towards the teacher and the pianist.” It’s the way you mark your end. If you’re on stage, it is how you part ways with your audience. You perform a sometimes elaborate port au bras (“carriage of the arms” for you literalists), you may bend forward, and you may arch your back. You may turn away from the audience in some moments or you might lunge towards them, opening your arms, signaling a more direct giving of your gift of gratitude to them. You perform a short dance after your dance. In the studio space, these after performance performances may not vary, although sometimes the instructor may switch it up. On stage, the reverence is choreographed — set so that every member of the piece knows how and where to thank the people for paying to see them. I wonder how long the longest reverence is. I wonder how many times people have forgotten to revere before running off stage. Whatever the case, the most important thing is that you bow. You stamp the envelope closed, you put a period on the end of your sentence, you make it clear that you’re leaving before the curtain gets to close.

In sum, it is how you say goodbye.

I had more thoughts on how to say my goodbyes (to this project and other things, not the wordpress though). I had many pretty words floating in my head to talk about the significance of what I found in these videos and which iteration of myself I feel that it commenced. But of course, as I start writing, these things escape me. Maybe they’re not that important. Maybe I’ll think of them later and edit this post and let you know. The main thing, though, is I had a lot of things that I wanted to say goodbye to. This video process was a long, slightly melodramatic, and very involved way to do so. But here I am, 25 videos deep in my thoughts and in my movement and in a process of learning more intimate things about myself and who I needed to be for myself than I care to share.

So a few things to note as I perform my reverence:

  1. The chairs are visible in this video. There is clearly no audience. There was never an audience.
  2. Sometimes in reverence, we bow or curtsey several times before we say goodbye. How many times can you try to leave without actually going anywhere? I spent 15 minutes trying to figure that out.
  3. Papers on the floor? Maybe some scattered musings. Hopefully, you can’t see the words.
  4. If there is any recurring theme throughout the videos, it’s falling. Or stumbling. Or tripping. Whichever shoe fits.
  5. Re: themes — this was improv, but there were conscious choices, at times, being made.
  6. There’s nothing wrong with your sound. If silence for 15 minutes is too much, pick a piece that you think fits with the movement. Dancer’s choice.

So if you stuck through this post, this process, and/or if you even remember what I’m talking about since I haven’t posted about it (or anything) for over two months, this is how I’m choosing to say goodbye.

 

 

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