reconnaissance/recognition

A collaborative project between har leen (writer and performer), Cindy Belotte (choreographer and performer) and Isabelle Pin (choreographer and perfomer), for the show MIXTAPE CÔTÉ A as part of Festival Phénomena 2021. Special thanks to the show curator and Commissioner of Diversity Claudia Chan Tak.

Excerpts

(Prelude)

While I perform my ceremony,
I call it from my bones,
As if the ceremony has been written in the
cells of my being.
Still, why do I feel that ceremony alone
is inadequate?
Some days,
I feel my ceremony is merely ritual.
It is empty.

© Caroline Hayeur

Do you realize, that no new water
on our earth
has been created, destroyed, or lost?
This is the same water of our
ancestors. This water
is our ancestor.
Water is sacred,
and to honour the sacred,
we must recognize the sacred.
Water holds life for 9 months,
it is our first home.
For 9 months, we have gills
again,
reminding us of our ancestors of gills,
reminding us how to drink.
Water teaches us we come from one
mother.
At the wild watering hole, beings gather
to drink from the same palm,
water holds us still in a moment of
nourishment.
Water is the first divine being.
Water is the first line
of every poem.
The beginning of every
story.
Water is the first offering.
The first connection.

© Caroline Hayeur

Every time it rained my father would
peek out the window, lost in a memory,
as if he was looking out of a cage.
“Over here, when it rains,
people run” he would say,
“And there may be reason to run,
But they forget that rain is also a blessing.”
My father would tell me that we came
from a lineage of farmers,
and as farmers one harsh reality
was drought. Droughts were tough,
they starved. Killed. Weakened.
But one inescapable truth was that rain
was always coming.
We may not know when, but that rain comes
eventually
is a divine truth.
And when it rained, it rained monsoons. As if the
clouds themselves knew how much the
people were hungry.
When it rained, everyone was showered in joy.
My father told me that everyone danced outside
during the monsoons.
Children, elders, mothers, the farmers.
I think we have forgotten how to dance in the rain.

© Caroline Hayeur
© Caroline Hayeur

I wonder if care, a ceremony
of its own,
is also given.
Then, what happens when we’ve
been taken away before we could be
warmed by this wisdom.
Somewhere along generations,
we became displaced.
by circumstance,
by force,
crossing oceans, crossing skies.
Yes, crossing the sacred,
which has no borders, no matter
what others may tell us.
A love that flows without barriers.
Yet,

our journeys were born from divides.
The story of our migration
is a story of loss,
a story of violence,
a story of a grief that has
not been grieved.
A pain that has not been felt.
We are a child with a mother who’s
heart is not in her chest.
Home is a mother.
A love that flows without barriers.
Maybe we are always looking for
our mothers.

© Caroline Hayeur

Ceremony is always given.
When I was young, my mother would prepare
her ritual, and she would always
give me one incense for myself,
I would wave it around like a wand,
around our house, spreading its fragrance.
Perhaps your ceremony was given to you
from your struggle,
from your survival.
Perhaps your ceremony came from a memory,
came from your relationships,
came from the earth.
And what if we feel we are missing ceremony?
What if we feel our ceremony is empty?
We asked for an invitation,
We asked,

for our story,
May you also hear a familiar voice:
“A gentle song will journey to your bones,
A connection always invites you,
You can choose to accept it.”

(Finale)