Dance, music and dialogue make points about how we relate to our bodies
by Julia Sauvé
(Stuck up) Stacey: Didn't you know, that when the clock strikes midnight on December 31, we'll finally be in the age of Aquarius. Ya know, peace will guide the planets, love will steer the stars, and all that jazz. Jacque (le Jock): What the? (Stuck up) Stacey: Oh, that's some song from the 70s. Billy (the Bully): Yeah, well what if I'm not Y2K compliant? Teacher, Ms. B. (Brain): (entering) Well, let's hope you are now, Billy.
The above snippet of dialogue is part of a scene entitled, "Body Language 800," which is central to the performance piece It's a Body Thing, O.K. Combining dialogue, music, dance, and movement pieces, the show deals with the hows and whys of body, mind, and spiritual integration. Actually, it's my homework assignment. When I began my graduate work in Teacher Education (with an emphasis in Movement Education) at Goddard College in Vermont, I wanted my thesis project to be experiential-something engaging that could be shared with students.
It's a Body Thing, O.K. synthesizes my studies on the body and movement and illustrates the interconnectedness of some of the aspects that make us human. In my search for an appropriate term to define this project, I stumbled upon, "Edu-tainment."
Written to appeal to an adolescent audience, It's a Body Thing, O.K. toured to Queen Charlotte, Birchwood, and East Wiltshire schools in November. It played to approximately 600 grade 9 students and faculty in two days!
The story centres around four high school students, Billy the Bully, Brainy Brianna, Jacque le Jock, and Stuck up Stacey, as they navigate their way through the events, conflicts, and average ups and downs that typify the school year. Woven throughout are issues relating to body awareness and image, athletics, dance, body language, and youth culture. A major theme is the realization that these stereotypical characters possess opposing qualities that lead them to their own transformation. Change is possible and good!
I was blessed with an outstanding cast of talented and committed performers. Bill Collier made his acting debut as Billy, Shawna Van Omme played the intelligent Brianna, Thea Campbell was the soulful Stacey, and Ed Rashed the vulnerable athlete, Jacque. Our technician was Pete Martin and the sound was recorded at Marihekau Recording Studio. Ron Quesnell designed and built the set and Christine and Somelia Smith created the "mask of the subconscious."
The project was funded in part by the Cultural Development Program, The Department of Education, and dance umbrella. A special thanks to Vicky Allen-Cook, Peggy Reddin, Mau Dennison, Reg Ballagh, and videographer Rus Melanson. The video version of It's a Body Thing, O.K. will be available as a resource for educators and the public. The bodies and minds that blended together on this project produced incredible spirit. Brianna would put it this way, "You absolutely can not separate the mind from the body or the body from the mind because if you did, you would merely cease to exist."