Bodies of Water 50 minutes - HD video
A free body dance workshop with Eric Kupers
We have arrived at the parking lot at Folsom Lake in California after finishing lunch in the town of Roseville. There is excitement in the air as the 20 of us get our stuff together for the short hike to the nudist area to the north along the shore of the lake. Eric Kupers (Dandilion Dance Theatre), who is going to lead the group today in a body movement workshop, explains briefly to everyone what to expect. Then we head out along the path.
We are surprised to find that the water level of the lake is at maximum, hiding almost all of the cool rock formations we were going to use as a backdrop. After making our way through the brush, avoiding poison oak, we find a spot we like. The group assembles on a rock outcrop for a photo sequence where clothing is removed bit by bit. In the movie, using time-lapse, clothing disppears ultra fast until everyone is naked and free! It's already becoming a warm afternoon so spending the rest of the day nude is especially welcome.
The workshop begins. Erik gathers everyone around and explains that we will discover natural body movements and allow them to evolve into dance, without imposing any real choreography in the conventional sense. We start with what he calls "the small dance" - we are just standing, feeling the natural sway of the body as it keeps balance. As we stand and mediate we feel the ground beneath our bare feet, feel the gentle breeze caress our nude bodies, tune in to the lapping water and birds that share our space. We are to use the rhythms of nature in contact with our bodies to inspire us to move to an inner music.
Next we pair up to do a "mirroring" exercise. One person is the leader and moves very slowly as the other person follows as closely as possible. It is like our pure bodies become one with each other. Eric plays a drum to help create a foundation to the flow. The variety of spontaneous movements that people create is inspiring.
The idea of "flocking" is introduced. We are now in small groups, where the person facing out is the leader and the others follow. As the leader turns, and everyone faces away, there is a new leader who everyone follows for the moment. Interesting complex movements arise and ripple through the group, bare arms, torsos, behinds, all gyrating and twisting gently to the same rhythm, without anything having been planned or choreographed.
A sea of nudist bodies undulates in varying patterns as Eric encourages everyone to move freely and interweave and flow around each other.
After a taking a little break, everyone is asked to think about something in their lives they miss or have lost. Now we are to think about what it felt like when we had that missing thing or quality, and express that feeling through a gesture, a short bit of body movement. The next step is to pair up, and each of us learns the other's gesture movement. Moving the group so we are all standing in the water, we start a short group performance using these new gestures as the basis. The ripples in the water add a new dimension to these beautiful body expressions.
To culminate everything that was learned in the session, everyone spreads out in a big circle around a large rock outcrop. While Eric and Apollo play drums from above, the dancers below practice "circular flocking", a new idea invented on the spot. Movements ripple around in a big circle and gradually change from person to person, evolving continuously.
These last series of dances in the round are very interesting, expressing the highest form of pure body spirit in clothes-free contact with the natural elements. The energies of the universe seem to rise up through the transformed naked humans.
Finally, the movements slow down as the drumming trails off and everyone comes back to a state of stillness, just standing, swaying gently, just being in the moment.
And it has finished. Happy faces, and applause, from us to ourselves.
A future video covers the relaxing time everyone now spends swimming in the lagoon, climbing rocks, leaping off...
But this video finishes with evening closing in and people gettting dressed and packed up ready to head back to the cars.