Dance-maker Lucinda Coleman making dance with wily words and syllables that clamber to be stories gently moving.

and let it ring

April 2015

Our task as artists is to find spectators for whom the kind of work we create is truly necessary. - Grotowski

When the soul is bruised, no one can see it.  Changing colours go unnoticed; waves of pain lapping at internal organs unseen.  Careless words slap at the bruises. We bruise again.  Trauma that causes capillaries to burst, trapping blood beneath the surface can take a long time to heal.

The unseen and unknowable pain is not easy to understand.  It is grief. It is loss.  It is anger, helplessness and something else that wanders restlessly in the middle of the night.  We make warm milk and pace the shadows, seeking comfort in memories.

It occurs to me that only soul speaks to soul.  And I wonder . . .  The inimitable language of spirit, taking shape and form in colours on canvas, or splashed across the sky: in danced syllables and sung songs is deep calling to deep.  Our art is necessary.

Our openness as soul-beings is necessary.  Painful (because of the bruising) . . .  but necessary for teaching the soul to sing.


When the heartMeeting Places- Tallulah SO 474

Is cut or cracked or broken,

Do not clutch it;

Let the wound lie open.

Let the wind

From the good old sea blow in

To bathe the wound with salt,

And let it sting.

Let a stray dog lick it,

Let a bird lean in the hole and sing,

A simple song like a tiny bell,

And let it ring.

Michael Leunig




 Photography by Tallulah Southby-Osbourne © Remnant Dance 2014, reprinted with permission.


Fayed Not

March 2015

. . . the artist is the one who arrests the spectacle in which most men take part without really seeing it and who makes it visible to the most ‘human’ among them . . . Merleau–Ponty

I hate death.  I hate how it steals, kills, destroys; a legacy of grief leaving those lost to claw their way back from the abyss in search of light.  I fear the fading of memory and struggle to grieve because I don’t want to let go.  Fade not, I screech in moments of silence.  Stay, I beg in the night.

My friend and colleague battled to stay present in this life, until her last breath at the end of last year.  Faye was known for her courage and tenacity: for her grip on all things living and the hope that holds firm to faith.  She fought the good fight and rallied against things unjust… and did so as an artist who made visible things that we should not miss.

We taught together as part of a team of idealistic academics; she a theatre practitioner amongst a quirky faculty of dancers, musicians and dramatists in a performing arts department.  Faye was fierce and held on in the times I did not.  She fought for her students and challenged them to be fully human in their creative pursuits.  They are part of her legacy.

They have also scattered, these students.  I wonder if they know what gifts reside within them, nurtured by the woman with curly hair and large wise eyes.  I wonder if they have taken hold of the insight and knowledge she shared freely, in bursts of laughter and gestures poignant with wisdom.  What are these talented artists, trained by one of best, up to now?  How are they using all that lies dormant within them?

I hope they are making stuff up.  I suspect that would please Faye.  I hope they are fierce and tenacious: full of hope and courage and humility.  I hope they honour her legacy and take risks and fight for what is real in the spectacle of the absurd.  I hope they lead and teach and allow all that Faye was and is and always will be, to grow within their own practice . . . to arrest the fading away of that which is true and good.  I hope they remember her, and live it out.

Mother  Children Sculpture 003 Mother  Children Sculpture 018 Mother  Children Sculpture 019 copy

Sculpture by Sophie Edhouse, Photography by Dianne Bodein © 2015, reprinted with permission

To read a tribute poem by Dianne Bodein written for Faye, December 2014: click here.





February 2015

Legend has it that if two lovers kiss in a gondola under the Bridge of Sighs in Venice, their love will last for all eternity.   My husband and I were in Italy last month and I suggested it couldn’t hurt to secure a little legendary blessing by kissing under the bridge.   Ever enthusiastic, his response was “We can do better than one bridge! I’ll kiss you under every single bridge!”

“But that’s not how the legend goes”, I laughed. “That’s okay”, he responded. “We can make it a better legend…”  

In fact, our romantic adventure evolved as simulacrum, having a likeness to the original, but really a reproduction or imitation of an idea.  Ours became a copy of a copy of a legend. French postmodernist Jean Baudrillard on the simulacra suggests “It is no longer a question of imitation, nor duplication, nor even parody. It is a question of substituting the signs of the real for the real”. (1) In this sense, there is no distinction between the reality and the representation; there is only the likeness or similarity: the simulacra.

The simulacra then is not just a copy of some other thing, but becomes its own truth and in our case, our own reality of romance, commitment and to my husband’s way of thinking, the creation of our own legend. 

It can feel confusing or even sad to lose a sense of the original or that which is the (perceived) reality, through a distorted representation.  The likeness lacks the substance and story of the (perceived) original.  However, I take inspiration from artists who have for centuries played with copying the other: at times the simulacra outright counterfeit, at other times a deliberate distortion, parody or criticism, while at other times a commentary on contemporary culture and its representation.

Marcel Duchamp’s extraordinary Nude Descending a Staircase, No.2 (1913) has been parodied and conceptually reinvented in multiple ways as in J. Amswold’s The Rude Descending a Staircase (Rush Hour at the Subway) (1913), or more recently Marion Jones’ Nude Barbie Descending a Staircase (1990).  In these works I see that simulacra has allowed for conversation between the past, present and even future.  Meaning may be buried or distorted, obscured by interpretation, but perhaps we can be open to what simulacra enable us to understand about how things can change, and even should change.   “Traditional forms are also contemporary shaped by the forces of the times in which they are enacted” (2) and something real can emerge from grappling with representation. 

Personally, my recent experience of simulacrum involved a lot of kissing under a lot of bridges in soft Venetian light.  This in itself reminds me that in the end, whether descending a staircase or riding a gondola, to be responsive to reproduction is a most basic human joy, allowing for delight in the discourse. 


Duchamp - Nude Descending a Staircase Amsworld Rude Descending a Staircase Jones Nude Barbie Descending a Staircase
Duchamp - Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 (1912)  J. Amswold - The Rude Descending a Staircase (Rush Hour at the Subway) (1913)  Marion Jones -  Nude Barbie Descending a Staircase (1990)



1. Baudrillard, Jean. "Simulacra and Simulations." Jean Baudrillard, Selected Writings, ed Mark Poster. Stanford University Press, 1998, pp.166-184.

2. Martin, C. (Winter, 1999). Brecht, Feminism, and Chinese Theatre. TDR (1988-), 43(4), 77-85. p.80



Quartet for the End of Time

Poem - quartet for the end of time


Growing Up

December 2014

…the how is the mystery of art…  Michael Chekhov

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Image reprinted with permission.