Connected Selves -- CLUTCH Vol. 6 Workshop Day 4

Written by Veronica Abrenica, Edited by Bea Palanca

A trip to the Cahoots Theatre Company marked another chapter for us, CLUTCH womyn warriors. Upon entering the space, we were greeted with open smiles by the workshop facilitator for the day, Andrea Mapili. Andrea's mission in life is to empower women by unlocking the power they hold by helping them to connect inwardly, so they can also connect outwardly (more info Andrea's website here). With Andrea's professional background and the open space of the Cahoots Theatre Company, I had a strong feeling we were in for a satisfying, awakening treat.

To introduce the workshop, Andrea discussed more about her background as a movement and awareness coach, a public speaking consultant, and her desire to show women they are powerful beings who do not have to be held down by societal standards. Andrea also briefly described how the day's events would unfold by focusing on the physical, mental and emotional bodies, aiming to separate and connect the three bodies to awaken our internal selves through expressive means. At the time, I had no idea what that might entail but knew and felt that as womyn warriors we were ready to take on what Andrea had in store with open minds and open hearts.

To prepare for the workshop we were told to bring a piece of previously made artwork we were interested in exploring further which provided a starting point for the workshop. (I personally brought a piece I created two years ago, of a portrait I created through multiple layering imprints of my actual face with the use of Inida ink and wet coloured charcoal. It was the only 2-D piece of work I felt the most connection with and the most curious in exploring its potential to create new meanings.) Andrea had us all choose a spot in the space we felt the most drawn to which in a sense was our own mini private island. On our islands we were guided on a journey to explore our pieces through movement giving them new meanings and titles. Andrea then opened up the space to connect our mini islands with that of another's in order to share and reinterpret our pieces through movement.

The space livened up through the sharing of our work as we were able to witness the movement of another fellow womyn warrior's reflection of our previously made pieces. To respond to the 'performer', as the audience we used the phrases "I Notice… I Feel… I Imagine…", to separate yet connect the physical, the emotional and the mental bodies.  After sharing through this particular form of communication we went back to our personal islands to create a second, new title for our pieces.

For many, the titles almost echoed or spoke to one another:

(I am) Soft knot,   (I am) Soft-Start

(I am) Vibrant Venus, (I am) Goddess of Victory

(I am) Celestrial Abyss,  (I am) The Orb

(I am) Vibrantly Awake,  (I am) Elemental Vessel

(I am) Embodied Sorrow,  (I am) The Search for compassion and love

Can 'I' knot? ,  (I am) Twist of fate

Andrea helped us realize, through the act of adopting "I am" in front of the titles, our pieces were inherently a reflection of ourselves and they embody who we are as individuals.

Throughout the day, the activities echoed themes we had explored through our previously made artwork. With the use of our body movements, newsprint, pastels, and written dialogue we created new work that reflected upon the three bodies (physical, mental, and emotional). For the grand finale of the workshop we set ourselves up to perform for one another in anyway we felt necessary and through forms that resonated within us. This portion served as an eye opener to the internal thoughts and struggles each one of us contained within ourselves and I felt connected to each one of them which made me realize how connected our internal spirits actually are.

I strongly feel this has been a beneficial workshop for all us CLUTCH womyn warriors in our growth and development to truly exploring who we are within ourselves and as a whole. Thank you Andrea Mapili for providing us with more artistry tools to enhance the work we will continue to develop through CLUTCH vol. 6! And thank you to Cahoots for hosting us.