MARTHA MYERS' EXPERIMENTAL MOVEMENT LAB: 45th reunion March 10, 2012

Text from Martha Myers compiled by Ara Fitzgerald, photographs by Peter Cunningham, adaptation in Realize Magazine


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The mystery of touch, the beauty of learning the many ways.
Just keep going in a straight line until you have to turn.
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What happens if?

Back then we caught up to the ancient idea that we have an inner life that can't be hidden.

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Feet, too, have their tales.
Let the touch touch you.
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Keep turning until you have to go in a straight line.
Turning points are an occasion for reflection.
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As greater clarity comes with age one must swallow the irony that it has come too late.
This is a team I want to play on.
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Falling is a part of risking, daring is necessary to freedom.
We’re here to dance!
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What did we used to do?
Experiment with free fall, do the impossible.
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What do the muscles remember?
For as long as I remember, behavior, my own and others, has fascinated and puzzled me.
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How are you feeling today? A gesture, a seed, take it into space.
You think that's dance? Get down on the floor and ‘moo’….
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Remembrances of a childhood flying hell bent downhill, twisting uncertainly.
How much fun was that?
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Find it, don’t fix it.
An artist grows from making things every day.
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I confess to a directional paralysis, old contrariness.
Structure and freedom, freedom and structure.
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I’m not going to be here forever, honey.
Your breath in laughter…
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Don’t be afraid to open, or there is no change.
Change is the work.
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So let’s begin again, getting to the bottom.
You cannot possibly do that the same way. Go ahead,
try to retrace your steps backwards.
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Brain’s not set yet. Imprint: brain’s not set.
‘Keep going Charlie, Go, go, go. GO, go, go!’…
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That’s when Charley broke his nose….
I ask in choreography, what is an ending?
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I’m not going to dance. I’ll just watch.
Forget imposing, just expose.
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What is tomorrow?
There is no there here.
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Disrupt your individual sense of phrasing, timing, energy, attention to space,
go beyond your comfort zone.
Breath in/breathe out. Inspiration comes in waves. High tide. Low tide.
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Don’t run away from developing your material in movement
any more than you would in storytelling.

I exhale smoothly. cautiously. lifting the corners of my sighs.
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How de we respond, rearrange, develop: choreograph our experience?
The lesson of lab is to let the self step outside conventions,
and thereby discover what they are.
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The feeling in the midst of a creative endeavor is close to flying,
to falling in love, to being intensely inside and outside one’s self,
and I suppose I would say, to a spiritual experience.

Close your eyes, bring your fingers together.
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Like voices in musical counterpoint, tone of voice, facial expression and body posture
form an integrated message.
Capture the repetition in your daily patterns of work and speech, include the silences.
Give it back to us transformed
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With twenty-six muscles in the face, and infinitely pliable fascia below,
the possible variations are staggering.
We learn from infancy to read, first from our mother's faces.
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It’s hard to lie. You have to fix your face which is almost impossible.
I dare say that to find out how we move is to find out who we are.
It may not be the image we identify with. This can indeed be unsettling.
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To have all one’s faculties challenged is to be fully charged. Consciously connect
to a community in a common pursuit, and for a brief moment win a stay in the
on-going struggle with questions of consciousness, purpose, and immortality.
It is as necessary to live with limitations as it is to overcome them.
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On a more sublime level…
It turns out there's no bottom of it.
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The moment - and a thousand images pass across our faces.
Energy in circles explodes like a cyclone.
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Stay in touch
Chime in
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…an inner image bank that’s clicking all the time.
Peter’s head is vibrating.
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We are seaweed.
All the cheese in the universe is not here.