But let me re-wind to the fantastic experience that proceeded this current scenario. I had set forth the mission that on my last day in Albuquerque, my last day in New Mexico in fact, I would film a hoop video of me simply rocking out, demonstrating all the things I have been teaching in my workshops and studying in my flow. This ability to film in new exotic places is one of the most valuable opportunities that presents itself while traveling. With so much time and energy no longer consumed by my day job, I’m able to use the momentum gathered there to fuel my creative work.
I had suggested to Travis that we should film in front of mural paintings on several down town buildings but Travis threw down a far more tantalizing option. There is an old abandoned rail way station right near the train station that he had wanted to film in for years. Driving by this tattered monstrosity of a building told the tail of a majestic and expansive interior, inside of which, what treasures lay, we could only imagine. We drove back forth on one street flanking the station, pacing like an animal measuring up a kill. Two layers of barbwire topped fence encircled the entire building. Oh but here was a driveway with no gate through the first layer of barbed wire! Hmm. Perhaps there existed a chance we could penetrate these defenses after all.
We parked the car and now were pacing the fences on foot, still muscling up to dare each other to do it. We came to the open drive way and walked in to inspect the inner layer of defense. In a matter of minutes we discovered a perfect, and clearly previously used, place to lift up the bottom of the barbed wire fence. Of course! Why tackle the business end up top when the bottom is closer to the ground and not covered in layers of spikes? This was too easy. We went back to car to grab the hoops and camera and jogged back to the fence, ignoring the red and white signs warning of unlawful trespassing. In two quick movements I then Travis slid under the fence, popped up on the other side and then slinked into the dilapidated building. It felt absurd to be sneaking around dressed in full throttle pink, wearing a fluffy pink tail and carrying neon shiny hoops. But not many people saw us and anyone who did, didn’t care. Still I watched my tail as we crossed the threshold.
Upon turning around, I was met with an enormous space, in which silence seemed to sing. A decaying painting of shattered green glass, rusted wrought iron, and steely cement unfurled before me. A thousand wooden bricks spread the warped floor, scattered with many pockets of rotting, crumbling wood like dark pools in the slanting surfaces.
A victory smoke was had while we surveyed optimal locations for filming. I gave Travis my camera so he could familiarize himself with how to work the video option. Watching him walk about the space, testing the light and backdrop of various walls, I was suddenly struck with a very clear and concise message from Pacha Mama, Gaia Sangha, Source, whatever you want to call her. All I know is I didn’t think it; it’s arrival into my head space was perceptible and it even had a patient, all knowing tone that was not mine. The message pointed out my strength and tendency to be a bossy lead and warned that if I engaged in a romantic partnership with this beautiful, outrageously fun and sexy young man in front of me, before we both had a chance to grow, I would risk trying to manipulate and control him with an upper hand. . . in much a similar way to how I feared Angie might have ruled his heart with her powerful presence. Alternatively, it was imperative that we wait and instead direct our passion and curious chemistry into a potent partnership in the creation of movement art.
I was roused with a start from this dream like download, by Travis pointing to the far wall as a good place to shoot, as it stretched high and was well lit. But it was much closer to the opposite street than the side from which we came. My ears prickled and something in my feet urged me to turn around, but I stayed the course as we marched to the far wall. As I moved to put my things down on a filthy counter close to an archway door, I looked up from my things in time to see a cop car drive by on the nearby street and lock sight on me.
“Aw Shit, shit, shit!” I muttered, quickly scooping up my things and my hoops and marching back the way we came. “I just saw a cop car. And I’m fairly certain he saw me. God Damn my bright colors!”
But we decided rather than flee right then and there we should at least get some filming done before our arrest arrived at our feet. Wasting no time I put my belt and extra hoops down, picked up my smallest hoop, Zippety Pink, and walked to the first filming location. This one was backed by a mosaic of clear and green windows, frosted with filth and in various stages of demise. It was framed by rusting iron and peeling paint and had a floor of cool smooth cement. Standing in front of the camera, and looking right into it’s one eye through my hoop, I thought of the police man, or woman, driving that cop car. To the cop, and to the world at large I sent out a silent message of intent: “I’m here to create art and do no harm.”
And so I launched into that hoop, with no music but my breath and my steps. I could feel the smoke I inhaled peeling apart the layers of my mind, like the fabric of curtains, to allow the unfiltered and blindly bright love of ever creative source to flood through my body, out my finger tips, my eyes, my poise.
After filming in a variety of locations in the building we closed with me walking toward the camera and hooping, staring right into the lens as I approached. It was brilliant work, all of it. It was everything I have been studying and teaching, everything that I wanted to demonstrate to the wider hoop community. Most importantly, it was pure beautiful flow, caught on film. We paused to watch the footage. Only, no, something was wrong. He hadn’t filmed any of it! Instead he had pressed record only during the gaps in my dance and had no footage of me falling deliriously into flow.
I was baffled, breathless, incredulous. How? HOW?? How do you not know how to use a goddamn video camera?!? You press the button and look for the little blinking red dot. ALL video cameras work like that. WHat? SERIOUSLY?! NOTHING? You got NONE of that??? I made a snide comment about him functioning worse than a tri-pod and stomped around for a minute.
None of this brought the footage back.
In my barely bottled rage I let loose a roaring cry of “FUUUUUUCKK!!” into the expansive space and it ringed among the broken window panes.
This also did not bring me back my lost moments.
My knees buckled and I squatted under the weight of this horrible feeling. Tears threatened but I stopped the nonsense right then and there, stopped it dead in its tracks. “Enough,” I scolded myself quietly. “This doesn’t help anything. It’s gone. It’s done. Get on with it.”
Travis walked up beside me and I couldn’t stifle the snarl of another stinging comment. “Hey now,” he said “we’re professionals here, we can handle this.” And something about this straightforward affirmation shook me free from my disappointed, poisoned mind state.
“Alright” I said, a stubborn determination gathering in my chest. “Let’s do this.”
So again, we started at the first location. This time I bid my tiring limbs and smoke winded lungs to work double time. And yes, despite my frustration and my fatigue, there it was; the distinctive presence of flow slipped easily into my bones and directed me about the space. Was this session any better or worse than the one I lost? There will never be any way to tell. The important thing is we caught most of the images and techniques I was hoping to capture on film and we did it in the most bad-ass location I could have ever wished for.
We still had time to kill before my train arrived so I took the camera and pointed it at Travis. He took his turn filling the space with his floating, spiraling and fierce dance. His flow was Tango flavored and Karate spiced with the sweet softness of free form ecstatic dance thrown in for good measure. I captured some brilliant footage of him as well and will use it to create a Tango workshop promotional video for him.
Finally we gathered up our things and took one last survey of this beautiful and ancient space, tinged with decades of neglect but shining with a certain raw authenticity. It was an ideal, expansive space in which to make art.
We slipped easily out of the building, under the fence and out to the street. No cop car fleet awaited us. I can only suppose that either I was not seen or the cop got my telepathic message. A solid high-five exchanged between us hardly functioned to encapsulate the elation I felt at our outrageous success in completing our mission. The thrill of toeing the line and of the rush letting loose our creative expression in such an inspiring place was still pounding in my heart. I relinquished any residual anguish I had toward Travis for his filming fumble. Instead I felt my heart fill with the purest gratitude for my most fabulous adventure buddy, my partner in crime and co-creative compadre. YES. One can only hope to have friends that inspire such lunacy as tangoing with fate in an old abandoned rail way station.