Yaroslavl, Russia Day Four: Forgiveness Project Lab Begins

Day Four was a long one! The second day of workshops continued with our first laboratory for the Forgiveness Project during which text and movements are generated. Anne and I were both moved and pleasantly surprised by the response of the participants to the tasks. It brought up insights to our cultural differences, approaches and responses to certain subject matters – in particular, forgiveness and how pain is harbored within. Today, we finally met Irina, our Russian translator for the duration of the festival. Stage rehearsals began, and we are officially in prep mode towards performance night. (FRANCES)

First Forgiveness Project Lab: Anne and Frances with dancers and community members

First Forgiveness Project Lab: Anne and Frances with dancers and community members in Yaroslavl, Russia

Rehearsal this morning led to our first Forgiveness lab, then right into translating my performance text, more rehearsal, more translation…I had time to slip into Liz Lerman’s workshop on the Critical Response Process, which was such a pleasure. After years of using Liz’s process both in academic and professional settings, it was lovely to witness Liz’s own introduction of the process and get to talk about it with her afterwards. Then, more translation, technical consultations with Heidi Eckwall (our Technical Director who is from Minneapolis)…finally, ravenous, a retreat back to the hotel for…potatoes and mushrooms 🙂 :(.

It was a long day – invigorating, provocative, intriguing, revelatory, and exhausting. I am hungry for more conversation about all that is emerging, about the insights, questions, challenges; eager to hear my colleagues’ stories. Specifically, Frances and I were touched by the emotional accessibility of the students – their willingness to give themselves over to the process, to allow themselves to have strong feelings without reservation or embarrassment or shyness. One lovely student acknowledged to me that we had taken her/them to difficult places and just when I thought her response was turning into a complaint, she thanked us for that opportunity.

Getting our interpreter 3 days late has been a real hardship to us. Not only were we more left on our own to navigate Yaroslavl, it meant that our performance text only had one day to get translated. With all of the dense language, metaphor, and cultural irony in them, I am doubtful the translation will work in performance. We’ll see. Tomorrow Frances and I will perform! (ANNE)

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