Grace-Moves: What WING IT! Performance Ensemble Taught Me About the Relational Nature of Grace
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InterPlay is an embodied practice using movement, story and sound in creative, improvisational ways. It is a way for individual exploration but is also fundamentally relational—the “forms” we use are most often done with at least one other person if not a whole group. We are rarely just “on our own.” InterPlay also, interestingly, creates not only internal experience but also outward manifestation—we’re “feeling stuff” inside and “making up stuff,” which others can witness.
Grace has been defined in this particular context as “the deep experience of being connected to great things.” This implies, primarily, internal experience. But I would maintain that any experience of grace is likely to have outward manifestation—something that is perceivable in the moment or something that comes to fruition in the future (i.e. “because I had this experience of grace, I did this…”). Cynthia Winton-Henry and I started developing InterPlay in 1989 after dancing together in Body & Soul Dance Company for a number of years. Because we were performers, InterPlay has always had a performative aspect to it. At the same time, we began teaching our first InterPlay classes, we also formed WING IT! Performance Ensemble, which would use InterPlay techniques to create fully improvised performances.
I would maintain that the company, which is still going after 28 years, is an excellent case study of the “internality” and “externality” of grace. As participants, we get to have that deep and yummy experience of creating together in the moment (“being connected to great things”) and at the same time, the grace is manifest in what we create. This is one of the powers of the arts, to marry inner experience and outward shape. Improvisation does that marriage well and WING IT!, in particular, does it really well. The intent of my article would be to describe the WING IT! experience, explore its unique grace-creating ways, and to imagine what implications there are for the wider world.