Pathways to Ecstasy, Avignon Festival, France 2010
No end, no end to the journey,
no end, no end never,
the heart in love
ever stop opening? - Rumi
'Pathways’ is an
exploration of the archetypal journey of the soul through sadness and
isolation towards the ecstatic release of self through the simple movement
of turning. It is inspired by Sufi poetry and the dance of the dervishes but
this dance is not the traditional dervish dance of surrender and
communion with the Beloved.
The dance explores the pilgrimage towards
surrender and the perceived distance from the Beloved. It is both an
instrument of expression of pain and a means of healing. It moves back and
forth between reactions of the everyday self and freedom from self.
According to shamanic and mystic traditions ‘the cure for pain is in the
pain’: the ecstasy comes through permitting the shadows, fear, sadness and
emptiness to be expressed without entanglement. Gradually the dance unravels the threads that bind the soul to time.
Birds make great sky circles
How do they learn?
They fall, and falling
they’re given wings – Rumi
The journey moves through poems and interviews with people in Avignon,
through music from Bach via Turkish rap and Nina Simone
to the ecstatic Sufi music of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
Dance, when you're broken open.
Dance, if you've torn the bandage off.
Dance, in the middle of the
Dance, in your blood.
Dance, when you're perfectly
free – Rumi
Through the dance the illusion of separation perpetrated by time and mind melt away. No longer
trapped between the memory of pain and desire for redemption the soul
rediscovers its own beauty of Presence. The ghosts of the past are placated
and exorcised, fragmentation is woven back into wholeness. The face of the
dancer at moments emerges from the trance of self to reflect a glimpse of
ecstasy. When the mind stops seeking to grasp the experience then the body
becomes light as if made of air. The dancer is no longer separate and the
emptiness is no longer full of restless shadows but starts to be blissfully
The whirling creates the quality of patience out of nothing, impresses
with waiting for nothing the mind's pressure to endlessly move towards
something, to want something. Then suddenly the ecstasy comes out of the
nothingness, so overwhelming a liberation from the small space of self that
one is ready to give up all the other wanting for that new greater end of
There is no end to this story
final tragedy or glory
love came here
and never left.
Now that my heart is open
it can't be closed
love came here
and never left - Lhasa 'Love came here'