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The Intern Diaries: Chloe's Week 2

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I don’t think I truly arrived in Kalk Bay until I decided to go hiking in the mountains. I started out on the wrong trail, lost sight of the path three times as I tried to scramble up the rocky mountainside, and had to take some deep breaths as I half-rock-climbed to finally arrive at the mouth of a cave. And from that moment I was in love. 

It was so beautifully quiet up there, alone with the wind. I sat for a while and could feel the power of the energy emanating from those regal pillars of rock. When my whole body felt filled up with an immensely humbling awe, I gleefully hopped back down the mountain, and when I got to the bottom I felt much more acquainted with my current place in this world. 

Since then I have returned to the mountains a few times to conduct movement “research." In my compositional dance work, I have become interested in taking dance out of the theatre and experimenting with what arises when dance takes place in natural spaces. My idea is to work with the unique limitations and advantages of different environments to hopefully discover a new movement quality that responds to the intricacies of each natural setting. For example, I want to play around with how my movement changes when I am dancing in sand, on rocks, in a forest, in the mud, or even underwater. In the mountains above Kalk Bay, I have been filming myself as I play around with movement that sensually responds to the shape and feeling of the rocks, the wind pushing against me, and the instability of dancing on an edge rather than on a solid dance floor. My hope is that this process will flourish into a study of how human bodies are shaped by nature, and conversely how bodies affect the spaces around them. 


I got a different but perfect example of how an environment can shape a life when the I AM WATER team went out with marine biology PhD student Lauren De Vos for a tour of the tidal pool ecosystems in False Bay. 


Lauren sits on the rocks with her legs twisted to her sides as she plucks creature after creature out of the water to display on her fingertip. Watching her excitedly rattle off facts about how these animals survive in harsh conditions, I can imagine her as a little girl sitting on the floor of her bedroom, presenting her coin collection to her friends. 

Except this is so much better than coins. I can’t stop giggling at all the slimy, squishy, pretty, and quirky creatures thriving together in such a small space. It’s like a colony for all the hipsters and artists of the sea, where the sea urchins build eco-friendly sun protection by collecting the broken shells and debris around them, the snails artistically craft their own shells and no two starfish like to wear the same pattern. When a wave comes and disperses foamy bubbles right in the tidal pool we are viewing, Lauren briskly brushes the bubbles away with her hands as if dusting off a large textbook. We lie belly-down on the rocks and stick our faces into the pools, coming up only to ooh and aah at the newest discovery. 


It always amazes me when I’m reminded of how many different worlds can exist on one planet. Diversity is one of my favorite aspects of life, and I hope that humans can find a way to sustain the coexistence of all these different but intricately connected worlds. South Africa feels like it exists in a separate universe from my home in Hawai’i, but one of the best things about staying in Kalk Bay has been how welcoming the locals are. Friendly faces stop me to chat and ask how things are going as I stroll through the streets. It’s almost like a tidal pool of its own, with its close-knit community and waves of tourists coming in and out. Everyone just going about their lives in their little wedge of space in this big world. This charming village and all of its inhabitants are quickly gaining a soft spot in my heart.


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