"Fundamentally, I am an improviser. My work is rooted in embracing the unknown with all of my being as fully available as possible. When I perform I want to be vulnerable and to tell the truth and I want to find the cracks in “the truth” and dive into them. What did I forget is possible? What have I never known before? What is here whispering? What happens when I shift the way I am showing up?
My deepest training is in Contact Improvisation and the Feldenkrais Method. I also have a long-term love of permaculture and I thrive when I’m outside and close to nature. From all of these I have developed a profound appreciation for the richness and freedom that are possible when we give less credence to our socialization and more to our sense of wonder and spirit of exploration.
I work as a performer, teacher, and facilitator and all of it feels like different facets of the same essence— outgrowths of my devotion to opening space for play, listening, not knowing, and not making sense. A space where everything belongs—the sublime soaring and the humbling crash. In this way, improvising is a radical remembering and reimagining. That’s what keeps me interested."
LSDC: How have the social shifts of 2020 impacted your life as an artist?
MW: I was already in a place where I had taken a step away from dance and I was working at a farm, so my job continued. It felt pretty easy to just lean into the extra quiet and spend my free time hiking and camping. The disappearance of so many activities opened a huge space for reflection and I have been able to feel my values and desires more clearly. I’m more discerning now about what I do, and how. After the initial months of the pandemic I realized how much I missed being engaged with art and committed to integrating it into my life again. I’ve learned a lot about how to show up for myself and be responsible for cultivating my interests and my practices and I’ve also developed a more profound appreciation for community and the power of resonance and co-creation. I spent much of the pandemic living with my favorite improvising partner. We danced and played together a lot and I’m inspired to continue weaving art, home, and community life.
LSDC: How would you describe yourself as an artist, and/or your work, as we step into the year of 2021?
MW: I’m in a process of reassessing and reimagining myself as an artist and I want to give lots of respect to the dark formlessness of that. It has been a year of reconnecting to old practices and jumping into new ones. For now, I want to just keep following threads and let myself be surprised.
LSDC: How has the broad emergence of this digital realm influenced your creativity/artistic work?
MW: I initially stayed away from online classes or performances. The invitation to digitally disconnect and to be outside was just too strong. Then, after my farm job ended in December, I was hungry to dance more and to have some guidance and structure in my artistic work so I started taking some online classes and was particularly nourished by studying with KJ Holmes through Movement Research. Then I took a workshop on zoom with her and Sara Shelton Mann. It was such a magical manifestation of the web of the internet-- I was able to emerge from a deeply personal and solitary space and, without leaving my home in New Mexico, connect with two artistic life-lines on opposite coasts. Now I’m spending a month in the San Francisco Bay Area, largely to take class with Sara again. So I’ve really followed threads across some distance and to surprising places and I’m grateful for the gifts. But ultimately, the growth of the digital realm has deepened my love of live performance and my commitment to making space for connection and experience in real time/space. I’m drawn to intimate engagement with what/who is physically present and the richness of sensual experience that can’t be translated digitally.
LSDC: Have you produced any new work, live or digital?
MW: In June I travelled to Indianapolis to visit a dear friend and we spent the week devising a dance theater piece which we performed for four friends in her living room. It was an intense process and we pushed each other in such expansive and fun ways. We didn’t film it, which felt like a mistake, but now feels like part of the magic. Maybe we’ll come back to it and expand it, or maybe not. Either way, the record is in our bodies, notebooks, and friends’ memories. Maybe we remember something more true that way. And in the same spirit of intimacy and ephemeral magic, I’ve been thinking a lot about organizing and facilitating events/experiences as art and I’ve initiated and co-created some really delicious gatherings and improvisation moments.
LSDC: How have you maintained balance and regularity in this time?
MW: I try to start every morning with meditation and Qigong and then make sure to do some more movement and improvisation training at some point during the day. Otherwise, I find it best to keep things spacious and unpredictable. I’m continually digging into something new and, particularly in the past year, I’ve been trying to choose what I work on based simply on what sounds delightful. I’ve been working through the book/course The Artist’s Way. I am learning how to juggle. I’m writing and drawing more. I think I’ve actually found more balance by being forced out of my previous routines and default activities.
MOVE WITH MEGAN
This video features Megan flowing outdoors in Eucalyptus