Moving Ecology

Sandra Kammann

Mission Statement

To offer visionary performances and site-specific ritual events that prove disarming in their authenticity, nourishing audiences with new paradigms of cultural meaning and compelling messages for our time.

SK Forest Dance72

Introduction to Current Research & Performance

My current work, The Moving Ecology Project, encompasses embodied research on ancient and contemporary shamanic principles and sacred technologies associated with listening and responding to the Natural World. Through this work a ritual aesthetic emerges along with a deepening authentic presence, resulting in genuinely effective transformative events.

Driven by activist passion and anthropological training, I create multi-art performances that challenge culturally imposed paradigms. I intend to inspire audiences to discover deep meaning in their lives and communities. I believe that performed art has an innate power to inspire audiences in ways that linear communication lacks, potentially opening pathways to higher consciousness and tapping into the unified field of the collective unconscious. I am keenly interested in this transformational potential of performed art to expand the boundaries of human consciousness, and my research on this topic informs my aesthetic perspective. The pillars which inform and support my aesthetic and creative process include ritual technologies, energy work & sacred embodiment, contemporary dance and improvisational techniques, matriarchal aesthetics, and transformational activism.

I am inspired by the realization that s/he who tells the story rules the world. I am interested in telling stories that unravel and deconstruct belief systems that undermine our full potential as human beings. Often groups become disenfranchised by those who would oppress them to attain political and economic power. Control of a group’s true stories, cultural history, symbols and mythological rituals serves to undermine their identity, robbing them of their ability to thrive and effectively resist domination.

My latest play, Duir-wyyd: The Dreamer’s Doorway, follows a band of Druids, members of an illuminated spiritual elite revered as practitioners of ancient Celtic wisdom. “Duir-wyyd” or “Druid” translates as one who can traverse the veil between the worlds to experience and transmit sacred knowledge. Allied with the spirits of Nature, Druids were the shamanic leaders of their time, tending to their people as healers, bards and visionaries. With a stirring musical score, luscious vocals, ancient poetic lore and arresting physical-theatre, Duir-wyyd: The Dreamer’s Doorway engages with the spirits of nature, weaving tangible magic. The world premiere was presented in the Women’s Voices Theater Festival, Washington DC, October 2015. View an excerpt from the play: Willow Spirits Emerging.

Tree II is an ongoing site- specific work, communing with an elder Silver Maple Tree, listening and responding intuitively through movement and action to the tree and it’s environment. The park where this tree lives is currently threatened by a planned four lane commuter highway through EPA protected wetlands. I plan to continue to visit this tree on a regular basis, as I felt a gateway open as I listened and communed. This ongoing research will support my Moving Ecology Project through site-specific events that prompt inward & outward action, catalyzing ecological harmony and community based environmental activism.

Other recent site-specific movement ritual works include:

Druidess: The Dreamer’s Doorway, offered by candlelight in downtown Washington D.C. My intention was for the audience to be transported by the presence of the Druidess and drawn into alignment with her cellular wisdom and healing properties as she communed with a Black Walnut Tree in a courtyard garden;

Stick & Stones, Water & Sky, a listening ritual that explores functional and emotional experiences, including living sculpture through brief moments of silence. Inspired by dance artist Kei Takei’s hour long solo Reed, I undertook to follow elements of her score such as deep listening, a bundle of reeds, a staff, the dance to Earth & Sky, repetitive rhythms, and ultimately rest among the reeds.

Tree, an environmental advocacy work in which toxic trash is ritually cleared from an elder Oak Tree’s roots, followed by music played and sung for the tree to harmonize, balance and heal the site.

With my professional company, Sisters of One Eye dance/theatre troupe, I conduct cross-cultural research into the global disempowerment of women. Employing the technique of archeo-mythology, I reconstruct and enact stories that reweave the truth of women’s experiences into humanity’s cultural threads. These performances serve to illuminate women’s lives, offer visionary alternatives, and encourage healing perspectives for both women and men. A common principle underlies the oppression of women and the destruction of the environment, giving rise to the Eco-feminist movement: these themes of environmental justice are explored in upcoming works with the company. 

Current Methodology

When creating work, I integrate somatic investigation, shamanic journey and embodied mystical experience with the crafts of contemporary dance, improvisation and classical & contemporary theatre. My creative process includes intuitive kinesthetic research (solo and collaborative), material discovered through practices inspired by traditional indigenous and mystical knowledge, and the study of relevant historical and cultural discourse. These systems of investigation and discovery influence the aesthetic that underpins my process of creation.

Working solo or with colleagues, I employ an improvisational approach I call Dropping the Mask, designed to develop authenticity in the present moment. Key elements of this approach are: abandoning judgment, listening deeply and surrendering to the moment. Once these elements are in play, I introduce another practice, Unfurling the Sail, which is meant to nurture creative responses by employing spontaneity, transcending the obvious and developing intensity through commitment. I embrace the collaborative power of the ensemble by fostering kinesthetic & intuitive communication.

A profound influence on my aesthetic has been my embodied research into the cosmologies and sacred systems of indigenous cultures. The cross-cultural study of ancient and contemporary transformational ritual was the focus of my M.A. in Cultural Anthropology, and ongoing research into these embodied pathways continues to inform my work. I have taken the study of myth, symbolism, ritual, and relationship to sacred landscape beyond academic investigation into embodied inquiry, and the results have proven personally nourishing and artistically empowering. It is my intention that audiences respond viscerally, intuitively and spiritually as well as intellectually and emotionally during my performances, and that there exists a genuine exchange of energy amongst artists and witnesses.

When conducting intuitive somatic explorations, I listen attentively to inklings and guidance, preparing myself with ritual that opens pathways to heightened consciousness and revelation. One practice central to my preparation as creatress is embodiment of spiral pathways. This approach entails embracing and riding spiral patterns of energy as they move through me and around me, communing with my cellular microcosm and the cosmic macrocosm. As Michael S. Schneider points out in his seminal work, A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe: “The lesson of the spiral is that every ‘thing’ is not a noun but a process, a dynamic ‘energy event.’ The world resembles a whirlpool of transformation with which we can cooperate for our benefit.” The spiral’s golden mean is, mathematically speaking, a building block of the universe, from tornadoes to whirlpools to plant structures, shells, the ear’s cochlea, and DNA: the list goes on. Spirals are recognized world-wide by ancient and contemporary cultures alike as a path which opens a portal to the mysteries of the Infinite.

I also work with the ancient practice of embodying light, which serves as a tangible metaphor for the movement of universal consciousness. Energy healing modalities and many ancient Eastern meditation systems recognize the Light Body as the central organizing system of the human field, with the physical body encased within. The chakra system reflects our understanding of wheels of light acting as energy centers along the central nervous system, and spiral pathways of awakened Kundalini energy rising up the spine contain light, as does the energy healing practice of Chi-lel. In my movement meditations, light replaces the marrow in my bones, light becomes wings, and a cocoon with unformed potential energy therein.

I experience the hara line as light and sound vibration, which connects us deep in Earth’s center and extends to the infinite reaches of starlight. This practice creates a dynamic relationship between my physical presence and my eternal nature: consciousness expands and my ego concerns subside when the hara line is activated. Brennan’s guidance reveals that “By connecting down to the center of the Earth through the hara line, we can synchronize our field pulsations with those of the Earth’s magnetic field and therefore entrain energy from the Earth’s field.” Creating performance while aligned with Earth’s energy field affords me an expanded template of consciousness, which in turn supports emergence of transformational ritual events.

Relevant to this approach is the revelation of quantum physics that everything and everyone exists as an interconnected matrix, which has been interconnected since the big bang of 13 to 20 billion years ago. This has profound implications for the application of transformational shamanic principles in contemporary performance. As Greg Braden points out in The Divine Matrix, “Both science and mysticism describe a force that connects everything together and gives us the power to influence how matter behaves – and reality itself – simply through the way we perceive the world around us.” Furthermore, Heart Math Institute experiments demonstrate conclusively that directed human emotions have specific effects on DNA, and that DNA in turn gives us access to the universal matrix. When performances are created with shamanic intent, exposing audiences to empowering symbols and vibrational frequencies, this creates opportunities for paradigm shifts in consciousness, both individually and collectively.

Creating new symbols and healing old wounds requires vision and commitment. I am inspired by the words by the Sufi teacher Dr. Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee: “In traditional cultures…along with a greater closeness to the natural world, the images and symbols of myth, sacred art, architecture, music, dance and ritual also served to remind people of the divine, to connect them with humanity’s real roots….These ancient images have survived into our modern era, but we have forgotten how to keep them alive, how to recreate them anew out of our own deepest experience…we have only the fragmented remnants of past cultures in which the images of the creative imagination and myth and art functioned as sacred mediators that nourished the soul.” With my work, I intend to offer such nourishment, perhaps moving us toward wholeness.

Keywords

  • Shamanism
  • Ritual Performance
  • Embodied Knowledge
  • Environmental Activism
  • Eco-feminism
  • Matriarchal Aesthetic
  • Site-specific Performance
  • Transformational Theatre

 

Moving Ecology Project / Tree Spirit Emerging

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

This work catalyzes ecological harmony and community based environmental activism. The artist engages with the site, responding with movement ritual that prompts those assembled to be transported and drawn into alignment with the cellular wisdom and healing properties of Trees. The work employs embodied research into ancient and contemporary shamanic principles and sacred technologies associated with listening and responding to the Natural World. These events are designed to prompt witnesses and participants to experience shifts in environmental consciousness and support engaged environmental activism. The event involves embodied site research, community workshop & dialogue, and video documentation for inclusion in the Moving Ecology Project web presence.

ARTIST BIOGRAPHY

Sandra Kammann

Founding Director of we the temple www.wethetemple.com, a non-profit organization exploring the inherent power of performed ritual to expand and alter consciousness and define cultural meaning. She is a performing artist, choreographer & theatre director, playwright, cultural anthropologist and educator. Her research on authentic enactment and transformational ritual culminates in creation of mythic, visionary performances and public enactments. Sandra holds an M.A. in Cultural Anthropology, graduating with honors from The George Washington University with the thesis “Performance as Gateway: Revitalization of Ritual by Performing Artists.”

Sandra’s Moving Ecology Project includes ongoing research utilizing ancient shamanic principles and sacred technologies associated with listening to the natural world. Her latest work, Duir-Wyyd: The Dreamer’s Doorway, informed by research on shamanic traditions of ancient Ireland, premiered in the Women’s Voices Theater Festival, October, 2015. Her site-work Tree events, which originated in the environmentally endangered wetland Winding Creek Park / Rock Creek Stream Valley Park (Silver Spring MD, a northern suburb of Washington D.C.) are devised to prompt inward and outward action, inspiring ecological harmony and community based environmental activism.

 

BOOKING A MOVING ECOLOGY PROJECT

Dear Environmentalist,

Thank you for your interest in The Moving Ecology Project / Tree Spirit Emerging. I have enclosed pertinent information for our work together, including contact information, a brief project description, artist biography, budget and contract rider. Please let me know if you have any further questions. I look forward to meeting you and engaging with your community and natural world site.

Truly Yours,

Sandra Kammann

Moving Ecology Project

                                                                                                                               

Moving Ecology Project / Tree Spirit Emerging

Company Name: Moving Ecology Project

Company Address: 12428 Dewey Road, Silver Spring, MD 20906

Principal Artist: Sandra Kammann

Primary Contact: Sandra Kammann, Founding Director

Mobile Phone: 301-758-5606

Email: skammann@aol.com

Website: www.wethetemple.com 

 

BUDGET: Moving Ecology Project / Tree Spirit Emerging 

ARTIST

Solo Artist Fee $300 / performance event

Experiential Workshop / Lecture (2 Hours) $200

VIDEOGRAPHER

Provided by venue for Workshop and Performance event

TRAVEL

RT Airfare $500 (depends on location)

Car Service $150 RT (depends on location)

Baggage Fee $100 RT (depends on location)

ACOMODATIONS

1 Hotel Room @ $125 / night x 2 nights = $250

(alternative accommodations can be arranged depending on site location)

PER DEIM

Daily $50 x 2 day = $100

TOTAL $1,600

 

CONTRACT RIDER: Moving Ecology Project / Tree Spirit Emerging 

PERSONNEL

  • Contact person knowledgeable about site chosen for the event, who is responsible for attending site research, workshop and performance with Artist. Ensures access to the chosen site. Organizes transportation to and from the site for research, Workshop and Performance. (can be the same person as #2)
  • Organizer responsible for assembling workshop participants and audience/participants for the event. Ensures contact with environmental activists / organizations for community engagement. (can be the same person as #1)
  • Provide Documentation Videographer with Camera (can be the same person as #1/2)

 

REQUIREMENTS

Site must be outdoors. Event can engage with preservation of a wild site, celebration of a newly designated site, or healing of a damaged site. In general the event will occur regardless of the weather, but exceptions may be made at the discretion of the Artist or Producer. Site photographs and relevant information will be provided to the Artist prior to booking the event. Artist will receive copies of all venue photos & video documentation of the event for inclusion on the Moving Ecology Project website.

HOSPITALITY

  1. RT Airfare from BWI/DCA to site’s closest airport
  2. Ground Transportation to & from airport & site
  3. Accommodations (preferably w/ internet access)
  4. $50 food stipend / day
Advertisements