A Woman’s Perspective as an Artist in Dance and Life
Apollonia Holzer and “The Woman I Am”
The approach of a new year inspires me to reflect on the challenging, interesting and unprecedented year behind us… a year where women marched together, a year where the “me too” phenomenon brought perhaps the first time that women’s stories of a certain type are being taken seriously with resulting consequences, and a year where our world faces a radically changing landscape. All of this tumult has brought many women together, but what is it really that connects and strengthen us as women? What roles have women had throughout the ages, and what does that mean for us in today’s turmoil – with the dangers and the possibilities that change brings?
Maybe now is a time when women have an increased possibility to reconnect to the intuitive power of the feminine – the power to give life and create in many ways, to nurture and protect, and to feed the Spirit of the world on the perilous journey into the future. Protest marches and political activism are one way to express strength, collective power and women’s rights – but what are other ways to find, feel and express the same? This year offered me a rediscovery of the empowering and affirming qualities of ‘Woman,’ with a deeper dive into “the woman I am”.
Apollonia Holzer, a friend, colleague and member of Omega Dance Company which I co-direct, created a dance entitled “The Woman I Am” in which I privileged to perform. For me, doing so demonstrated the power of Art to strengthen the spark that makes us human, thereby empowering us to live each day doing our best to serve The Light.
“The Woman I Am” took almost a year to choreograph, and its creation was a microcosm of the changes women, and indeed all, face in today’s world. It addresses the journey and archetypal characteristics of Woman: Child, Sage, Mother, Queen, Warrior… and Apollonia carefully chose a cast of 8 women from different cultures and generations to express these different values and strengths of the feminine. The youngest dancer was a child of 8, as the number 8 is a symbol of infinity, and the oldest a woman of 80, embodying an ancestor with wisdom to pass on to the next generation – grounding and empowering the child…the future. In a happy accident, the dancer chosen to embody the “Mother” role was pregnant while performing, and the ages represented encompassed a wide spectrum.
The work of creating this dance was unusual on several levels, as each facet of the process continued to add awareness and depth for the entire cast. We sought together to express our collective consciousness of womanhood, our participation in dance of humanity across the ages and across boundaries of race, ethnicity and culture. The sensitive and clear guidance Apollonia provided during the rehearsals created a remarkable space for this sacred journey, free of the competitive ego that can be present
during artistic creation, even as she challenged us and we each other. Somehow our growing appreciation of each other’s strengths created a safe space where we could support and enrich each other’s gifts to the process. The awareness and sensitivity we created under Apollonia’s leadership allowed us to experience ‘oneness,’ a microcosm of what can be in the larger world when communities unite around the common good. The performances were magical and moving to audience members, many of who expressed their emotions to the cast afterwards.
In the many challenges we surely face in the coming year and beyond, perhaps it is time not just to step out to march in the streets, though this is needed, but to step in and to connect to who we are, to the ‘Woman I Am’. To connect to each of us as human beings who have the power to inspire and connect to each other if we only try. Looking back on this past year, I am grateful to Apollonia as an artist, healer and a person of depth, who shaped her creation of “The Woman I Am” with courage and grace. I look forward to watching Apollonia’s progression in the world – and the sacred responsibility each of us shares to inner truth. May we all find ways to be part of the best of who we are as humans on a sacred journey. Our world needs no less.
Co-director, Omega Dance Company