Blog post 6 – May 6, 2016 by Marta Singh
Last Tuesday, as my Art Place residency came to its end, I met the question that awaits at every project’s ending: How was your project a success? I answered the question with these true-to-fact words:
It broke new ground – it was my first storytelling residency. It lifted me above a stage-centred practice into artistic insights I could have never otherwise gleaned. It raised me above the fear of what I could or couldn’t do and opened windows to everything that is possible and that – thank to this residency – I will endeavour to make possible, to bring art, artist and community together. This residency was my teacher.
It put every creative belief to the test! It drove me straight out of my known comfort zone to reveal how much stronger I was in resources and means. It transformed logistic weaknesses into creative strengths that I used to expand, deepen and enrich every participant’s understanding and experience of story. It taught me how to allow every single woman who walked into the storytelling room to discover how deeply an image can connect to a lifetime and how relevant a one-thousand year old fairy-tale can be today.
And yet … A big part of my job is to hunt for images – to speak true to story – brimming with feeling, meaning and resonance. In my line of work, it’s what it feels like that tells you what it looks like. So, I thought to myself: Success. What does it feel like? Wednesday and Thursday I hunted. Like a hawk.
Then Friday came along. At yoga, the teacher said we’d be doing the wheel next. I always pass. My yoga practice is not that strong. Got wobbly thighs. Skinny arms. What if my lower back gives? And I’ll be 49 next January. And, once, six years ago, walking my dog, I slipped on the ice and got three months of vertigo. Hold the crown of my head above the floor like that?
Only last Friday, my larger than life teacher was teaching. She stood at the top of my mat. She showed me how to wrap my thumbs and fingers around her ankles. She said now push yourself up. My head rolled back and the crown kissed the mat. She guided something along my spine upwards, held it softly, and like a rainbow, my whole back arched and lifted, and my head rose above the ground.
At long last! I was breathing! With the full capacity of my lungs! With the ribs expanding me upward and forward! A long-hunted image brimmed with meaning, feeling and resonance. And I thought to myself: Yes! This is what it feels like! To trust the strength of what is offered. To rise over the fear of fallible. To rise above the thought of weak. To hear the heart pump at new altitude! To take in your full horizon and see the known anew!
There, said my teacher. That’s what it feels like. Now you know.
Born and raised in Argentina, Marta is renowned for the skill of her crafting, her poetic use of language, unique expressiveness and passion of presence. Her one-woman shows lend language, body and voice to what comes forth when fairylore crosses paths with personal narrative. Expect beauty, depth and emotional impact.