This summer LAUKKU had many important events. One of them is a research residency “Active Body Memories” bringing together artists from USA, Mexico, Finland and Latvia. It took place in Lūznava Manor in July 2022 ending with three presentations during the Arts Picnic event – a lecture on Biomimicry by Lisa Helminiak (USA), showing of the film “Roma Mountain” by Jaana Kokko (FIN) followed by discussion and a structured improvisation by all the participants “Body Memories”. In addition to the activities in Lūznava two public events were organized in Riga before and after the research time.

Here are some some thoughts, ideas, notes, experiences from some of the involved artists. Keep reading, don’t forget about your body and enjoy!

It was extremely valuable after 2 years of postponing the project to have it finally happening. Even if connection was kept online the experience of live exchange of artistic practices was such a needed and timely reminder of the mission of GPS/Global Practice Sharing program – bringing together people with different backgrounds to dive into the shared time and space to learn, challenge each other, ask questions and enjoy silence together. We got also in quiet emotional conversations about “artists of color” ending with some tears and bigger amounts of local moonshine consumption one night. During the conversations the arts situation in Latvia, New York, Philadelphia, Minneapolis and also Finland and Mexico got discussed. Overall impression is that the situations everywhere are quite changing now due to the pandemic consequences and the war in Ukraine. More than before live encounters really matter and also broader society is searching for the solutions in the sensitive work with body, supportive community spirit, time spent together with people with different backgrounds but shared values.

Inta Balode

This residency and exchange between a powerful group of women in Luznava and Riga nourished, fed, reflected, and inspired me in so many ways. The process was organic and each person offered a wonderful activity for the group to do. I appreciated how time slowed down and as we walked and talked with each other over meals, over trips to the cement store that had everything and multiple types of vodka and pickles, to the creative workshop/process offerings. We drew together through movement and voice to reflect on our ancestral connections to the place’s histories bringing together words, movements, and memories that echoed into the trees. Sharing a sauna and sitting outside at our gathering spot over cigarettes, water, favorite chocolate snacks, and mosquito bites. I appreciated the multi generational group and I look forward to our next improvisation and dance together in nature.

Esther Baker Tarpaga

At the shared showing together with the audience there were tapes on the floor from the center connecting each dancer to their memories and integration in the present. Objects that relate to our memories and our practice were brought in by each dancer and made a part of the individual and the whole of the work. My personal movement was related to living in two worlds moving between Latvia where I was born and USA where my home is, the challenges of saying goodbye and returning. Before our performance I «warmed up» the audience by having them do some Energy movements. Near the end of our performance little children were dancing! During the residency I offer the Eden Energy Method Daily Routine. Exercises cycle to move energy, clear blocks, increase vitality through movement, intention and practice.

Anita Demants

Exercises, which  accumulate energy, lead to new paths, even though certain causes turn to nagging anxiety. Need to figure out how to control it .

The feedback transmitted through the other body reveals the experience much more accurately, including the ugly. In verbal feedback this experience is often replaced with beautiful words. Do similar movement paths and habits of nature, rhythm and place also exist for similar people in terms of their inner nature?

Someone walked softly through the grooves of my brain.

Don’t just look to nature, act like nature.

Information is everywhere and it is cheap.

Humans make information expensive.

Skin throws away the memories. White peels or brown twisted skin lines scatter around where you have been- in clothes, towels, pillows. Only the deep scars stay with you, those that scratch to the point of blood.

Agate Bankava

Laukku’s Active Body Memories research residency was an important break in the hold the COVID-19 pandemic had over my body memories. It was the first opportunity I had to re-engage with dance artists, in person, to move, collaborate, and learn from a group of beautiful humans from across the globe. The most impactful part of the work was sharing practices and the work we each were exploring. It was an opportunity to be in a small group focused on looking for the joys of life while shifting through the painful parts and pouring those learnings into our work and art. Thank you to Laukku for intuitively bringing this open group together!

Lisa Helminiak

Artists participating in the project: Agate Bankava (LV), Agnese Bordjukova (LV), Anita Demants  (LV/USA), Esther Baker Tarpaga (USA), Inta Balode (LV), Jaana Kokko (FIN),  Lisa Helminiak (USA), Martita Abril (USA)

This project is supported by the 2022 GPS/Global Practice Sharing program of Movement Research with funding from the Trust for Mutual Understanding.