Loving Movement

“Intimate Distance” is an exploration of sensuous poetry, dance, and music.

In Tempo Magazine/The Taos News April, 2004

A Santa Fe dancer and a Santa Fe poet who share a similar vision and orientation in the exploration of how artistic creation is related to spiritual longing will be performing sensuous poetry, dance and music in “Intimate Distance; Courting the Beloved through Poetry, Dance, and Music” on Friday (April 9) 7p.m. at the Taos Community Auditorium (TGA), 133 Paseo del Pueblo Norte.

“Intimate Distance” is the creative effort of Myra Krien, choreographer and Director of Mosaic Dance Company of Santa Fe and Jennifer Ferraro, poet and author of “Divine Nostalgia – Poems” (2002) and poetry teacher at the University of New Mexico.

Just over a year ago, Ferraro returned from Turkey with her first published book of poems, “Divine Nostalgia,” in hand and began taking classes with Krien at Pomegranate Studios in Santa Fe. She had seen Krien dance years before and had recognized in her an artist with the “unique gift of uniting the sensual and spiritual qualities of the dance, the earthly and the cosmic.” Ferraro presented Krien with a copy of “Divine Nostalgia” to which she responded “enthusiastically.” The seeds for this collaboration were thus sown.

The performance centers around the act of art-making with spoken “modern, mystically oriented” word interwoven with oriental, devotional and Middle Eastern dance and live music in a “riveting tapestry.”  “Intimate Distance” corresponds with National Poetry Month and will feature Mosaic Dance Company, Darbuka Musical Ensemble and guest artists.

“The act of art-making is always about intimacy in one way or another,” explained Ferraro. “I feel that the creative impulse often comes from the desire to bridge the distance between self and Other, self and world, love and Beloved. The artist plays with the material of existence in a conscious way. Art is one way in which human beings create intimacy, touch the world tenderly and allow themselves to become impregnated by its beauty, its suffering, its mystery. Ultimately, art maps that intimate distance which is always with us as we stand simultaneously inside and outside the circle of fulfillment – needing to sing of both.”

The show contains a Sufi them. According to Hazrat Inayat Khan of Sufi Order International, the word “Sufi” comes from a Persian word meaning wisdom.

“Wisdom is the ultimate power. In wisdom is rooted religion, which connotes law and inspiration. But the point of view of the wise differs from that of the simple followers of a religion. The wise, whatever their faith, have always been able to meet each other beyond those boundaries of external forms and conventions, which are natural and necessary to human life, but which none the less separate humanity,” Krien states. “Sufism itself is the essence of all the religions as well as the spirit of Islam.”
In the case of the performance, devotional dance refers to Sufi “turning” which is based on the spinning of the “whirling dervishes” – a devotional movement ritual still practiced by particular Sufi orders and somewhat popularized in the West. Ferraro will be performing a Persian style dance which is devotional in nature, using primarily arms and hands.

The performance moves through three acts. Act 1 explores how everyday life gives birth to art. Act 2 explores how art relates to descent, encountering the shadow. Art becomes a voice for the sense of separation one experiences, for the difficult states of being that must be articulated and understood. Act 3 explores art as spiritual transformation. When art springs from the experience of union with one’s Beloved, from ecstatic realization.

Expect the “very spiritual and feminine” costumes to be somewhat Indian folkloric in the first act, very colorful and sensuous; more modern and dark-colored for the second act; and timeless white dresses and multicolored veils in the third act.

Ferraro will be the primary poetry reciter, although at certain times in the performance they will do poetry “duets” and sometimes the poem is sung. It has been said the Krien has an “amazing” voice.

“We wanted to really play with the collaborative element, having dancers sing at times and poets dance, etc., to create a dynamic on stage,” Ferraro stated. “The poetry is a living ‘off the stage’ presence in the performance, lending structure and theme to the dancing, creating a narrative container of sorts, a unifying vision. The poems are all adapted from my book ‘Divine Nostalgia.’”

Tickets to “Intimate Distance” are $15, $8 for children and students with valid ID. They can be purchased at the door or by calling the TCA box office at 505.758.2052.