Footage Friday: Muscle Memory

This is the third video in the creative collaboration series that my friend Marsha and I are working on (you can see the first 2 here and here).

When Marsha sent me this piece, I had to smile. It took me back more than a decade.

Long, long ago, when we were teenagers (I think…I’m bad with chronology), Marsha and I were both training intensively in our chosen art forms. She practiced increasingly complex and beautiful pieces of music on the piano, and I practiced increasingly complex and beautiful steps in ballet class.

And when we hung out at her house, we had a ritual of going into the play room where the piano was. She would play through her pieces, and I would stand in the small rectangle of open space behind her and dance. I’ve lost a lot of memories from my childhood, but this one remains a treasured favourite.

Marsha went home over Easter weekend, and she recorded this piece on the very same piano she used to play on when we’d dance and play together. And this video is my response.

I call this piece “Muscle Memory” because I started out with the idea of doing a very “balletic” dance (and you can see how the dance begins and ends that way). I wanted to see if I could still capture the essence and feeling of the dances I used to do in the play room, having not taken a ballet class in 8 years.

I think I managed it…but it wasn’t very comfortable (physically as well as emotionally—the inside of my right knee did NOT enjoy my attempts at turnout). And I couldn’t sustain it for the whole piece. I still like the end result, though. It’s more Meg-now than Meg-then, but it still, I hope, pays homage to the young girls in the play room.

Thank you, Marsha, for a beautiful piece, and for the great memories. <3


7 thoughts on “Footage Friday: Muscle Memory”

  1. EVERY time I watch you dance I cry, Meg – I cry for the beauty of your dance and I also cry with an ache — some sadness at having left my body to live in my head starting very early in my life. I’m back IN my body now, but there’s some sadness for what I missed. Let me be clear – I LOVE watching you dance – I even love the bits of sadness it brings up, because those feelings lead me into enjoying the beauty and GRACE you share — and somehow that leads me to move differently. I sure wish I lived close enough to take a class with you, I have an idea it would be life changing!

    1. Karen, thank you thank you thank you for this. <3

      I know what it's like to live in my head too. I feel like I spent the last year slowly getting back in my body after years of exile. I'm still settling in, and every step feels amazing!

      I wish you lived closer too! (I saw you signed up for the telecircle mailing list...I'm going to schedule a new one soon! It's been on my list for ages!)

      1. Yes, I did sign up for the telecircle — saw the note about it right after saying I wished I could take a class with you (looks like you get what you ask for – yea for desire!). <3

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