The Return of Innocence: Performing at the American Dance Guild

On Sept 6, 2012, I had the honor dancing Swing Us Sky Rain(bow) at the American Dance Guild Performance Festival.  The piece was choreographed by Shani Collins-Achille and focused on breaking the generational cycle of domestic abuse.

Shani facilitates women’s circles for empowerment and this was the perfect intersection of the healing and performing we are here to create.  When the lights come up I am the only one laying on the ground, representing those women who have fallen.  My 5 sisters are walking softly around me dropping rose petals with compassion and starting the first moves of a dance that will ignite all of us into our fierceness.

During tech week I had the honor of facilitating our cast to get more connected to the work and to each other.  The piece centered on Ursula Rucker’s poem, The Return of Innocence Lost (see below.)  The dancers were so strong, so embodied, so passionate during this sound scape.

As we sat in circle preparing to share this work at the Alvin Ailey Theatre I shared this dedication:

For the women who have only known this

For the women who used to know this

For those of us healing our ancestries through the revolution of self love,

the sacred ending of relationships too small for our souls to fit in,

whether from addiction

from fear

from the medicine of sex turned toxic.

Our strength is part of you.

Our sweaty muscles, quickened breaths,

clear visioned eyes are yours too.

Our orgasms, our joy our peaceful nights of sleep

are sweetening the air for you to inhale,

to breathe deep within your lungs,

soft bellies, blessed wombs.

Be here with us now.

Remember the members of your being,

your life giving breasts,

your steady feet,

your truth speaking lips.

Be here full bodied with us now.

And let yourselves, perhaps for the first time,


Zahava Griss