My Journey Through Triptych

Dancer: Jennifer Faust
Photo by: Dave Wu/Ophidian Eye Photography

I am often asked what actually inspired me to make Triptych.  Why dance?  Why Dust, Blood and Water?  I was asked to perform in a contemporary/modern piece choreographed by Paula Plessas (who will be joining us in WATER as a lead contemporary dancer) at the San Francisco City College Spring show.  This choreography renewed my faith in dance.  I could move again!  No longer did I feel constrained for trying to isolate one muscle as I tortured myself over and over again in bellydance. But I found myself leaping and turning and moving and really taking up space.  This in no way means that I don’t love Tribal Fusion Belly Dance, because I do-it means that I forgot I could dance!  

We performed in the ‘Diego Theatre’ and it wasn’t until we had rehearsal did I realize there within this theatre, was a real, live Diego Rivera mural! I was mesmerized.  What spanned an entire wall told the story of millions through WWII and I remember vividly the colors, the story, the different emotions.  Right then and there, with dance in such close proximity, the story for a three part dance piece was born.  At this point I, in no way, thought it would be put to film.  In fact I meant to stage it.  

I started looking for music I liked for the concept and instantly the elements ‘Dust, Blood and Water’ just came to me.  What later became extremely clear, was that I was subconsciously processing my life as an oncology nurse through this project.  Dust being flesh and the concept that this life is temporary.  Much like a live dance performance….we practice and rehearse and train and it is then over in three minutes.  There may be a video, but it is never like having been there live.  Therein the film element was born.  I also realized I had tons of friends who were multi-talented in music, costume making, film making, dance…you name it.  Dust began to form into something liquid…perhaps like mud.  

I mentioned in my first blog, that Catherine Tate was an integral part of the filmmaking bit to my project.  While making a film with her, I met Frank Hernandez.  We instantly became fast friends, as his mother had recently passed from lymphoma.  I adopted him then and there in the green fishbowl of a green room at the Academy of Art San Francisco.  To this day, he is a huge part of my filmmaking and I consider him my little brother.  He helped me make Dust a reality.   His roommate at the time, Adien Lewis, said he would write a song for Dust…everything just fell into place.  Dust was now a mud sculpture drying in the sun in flesh form.  I’m not exactly sure when it dawned on me that I was subconsciously creating a piece about cancer (it seems so obvious in hindsight) but when trying to explain the project to someone I realized my subconscious was a sneaky, sneaky thing….

All donations are deeply appreciated and 10% of all proceeds will benefit the American Cancer Society.