When I was an undergraduate student at Stanford University, I spent a lot of time with friends in Berkeley, and every time I went there, I attended Motivity performances or classes. Motivity was the brainchild of Terry Sendgraff — and, some say, the precursor of Cirque Du Soleil.
This unique art form combines gymnastics, modern dance, improvisation, theater, and circus arts, using low trapezes and other vertical equipment in an enclosed performance space — or, sometimes, outdoors. Terry was the leader of a loosely connected troupe of women and a few men who were all highly creative, and to me, highly inspirational. (Of course I loved Terry’s Tall Women Walking series.)
I wasn’t any good at Motivity. Gymnastics and dance have never been my strong suits. But that didn’t matter, because in that era (late seventies, northern California), talent was not required. What mattered was participation. Openness. Adventuresomeness. Creativity. Courage. Those qualities are available to us all.
If you look at her Web site, which I happened across this evening, you’ll see the seeds of other aerial circuses. And you’ll see people who knew how to express themselves through strength, play, and teamwork.
In her seventies now, Terry is mostly retired, but still choreographs and offers some workshops. If you’re ever in the Bay Area, check out anything she’s touched, twirled, or flown over.
And if you’re bored with “exercise”, ask yourself, How might I discover or develop more creative ways to move, play, and express myself?