Got talent? Got pride? Got commitment? Got compassion? I am pleased to report that the answer is YES, to each and every one of those questions, as they apply to the 80 or so members of the Soul Rhythms Team!! Culture Builds Community: yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!
It’s a feel-good process! And the list could go on! Got imagination? Got fun? Got friends? Got community? YES! That is our goal with education and outreach – getting to YES!
One of the things I learned early on in theatre training was the unspoken commandment of the YES. Particularly in improvisation, the play forward requires that you say YES to your scene partner. If not, there is no scene. It’s similar in music. While watching LaFrae Sci work with the young Stivers musicians, I was struck by the importance of invitation, making the YES an opportunity to accept. Each of those musicians say YES by the way they follow the “conduction” process: thematic cues, symbols for dynamics and the gesture I will call “invitation” to solo. As LaFrae extends her arm from elbow to fingertips in the direction of a player, he or she is invited to bring their unique skill and interpretation to the moment. It’s an invigorating process!
We’re held to account in the creative process. Our response to invitation is action. YES does mean work. For sure, you are on the line when you accept such an invitation. You must produce. The invigorating part is when you realize that what you’re producing is yourself. Nobody else. Your talents, your choices, your deepest ideas; even the things you question become part of the product, deserving of your time and exploration. As human beings, we are always “becoming.” The choice, then, is what we become.
As community builders, working through arts and culture, we have a distinct opportunity to invite every Dayton dweller to say YES to the growth of our community, to the tremendous assets, by getting involved, taking action. Yes is an action!!! One thing we strive to teach with Culture Builds Community is that commitment is positive. It is an active response, a YES! Involvement invites each voice in this Dayton portion of our human family to be heard! This Sunday afternoon at 3:00pm at the Masonic Center, Soul Rhythms will unveil a series of remarkable choices made by a troupe that has said YES to commitment, creativity, hard work and big fun! On that stage, YES is the star whose glimmer is powered by the 75 or so performers that accepted the invitation. Youth and adults alike, working in collaboration, making art, sharing traditions, establishing friendships: the YES is working!
Soul Rhythms is a tour de force of percussive dance, multicultural musical form, spoken word, history and tradition. The theme of migration is visual, on stage and screen, with filmed sequences affirming the texture and movement of the dance, and audible in the array of instruments beings played throughout the show. Truly, this is a feast for the eyes and ears. And then, there’s the soul! The rhythms of the soul are well nourished in this performance, as they have been for the past 6 weeks in residency. Seeing young people take on challenges and meet them, artists working with youth as peers, so many diverse traditions sharing in one beautiful effort: it is surely a model to embrace. This is Dayton! We are saying YES to who we are, individually and together.
Got soul? Darn right!