Mystic River Celebration

by Caitlin Meehan

photos by JK Photo

On October 20th, Monkeyhouse had the opportunity to perform outside in some glorious fall weather during the Medford on the Mystic festival. Organized by the fantastic Alli Ross, this festival included live music, food, hula hooping and various vendors.
Monkeyhouse dancers Courtney Wagner, Sarah Friswell, Sarah Feinberg, Nikki SaoPedro Welch, Nicole Harris and myself arrived on the scene and began to work our magic on a lovely stretch of pathway by the river. We had an improvisation game to play- and audience participation was encouraged!

On our stretch of walkway, we divided into groups and began at either end with various words "labled" on us. "Sneak," "Float," "Twirl" and "Wiggle" were just a few examples- our assignment was then to embody these words while traveling from one end of the path to the other. Partnering and interaction ensued when we met other dancers along the way. The challenge (and fun part!) was having two or more words to embody at once- such as the memorable crossing where I had "Hide" and "Fly," which led to me running and trying to hide behind the one skinny tree nearby!

Some of our audiences were fleeting; families passing by stopped for a moment to watch and moved on. Others really joined in- we had one very enthusiastic puddle-jumping fellow, and another who claimed he didn't want to take part... until he did! Two new Monkeyhouse fans played follow-the-leader with Nikki, and another did a lap with her walker! It was especially nice that there was live music being played in the band shell right next to us, for added inspiration.

We also played a game of "One-Up," in which one member of the group must always be in the air (can't touch the ground!) Both Courtney and Nikki took turns flipping and turning, supported as our group moved from one end of our path to the other. We discovered some interesting new lifts! All in all, it was a perfect day to improvise outside, and to discover new ways to travel from point A to point B!

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