WHALE FALL - a collaboration of performance of poetry and dance

Poet Ruth Thompson and dancers Jenn Eng, Colee Garr and Karen Masaki will present Whale Fall:  A Collaborative Performance of Poetry and Dance at Hilo Yoga Shala & Bodywork in the Kaikodo Building, on Saturday, December 15, 2018, at 7:00 p.m.The performance will feature Ms. Thompson reading poems from her new book, Whale Fall & Black Sage, and is co-sponsored by Hilo Yoga Shala & Bodywork and Saddle Road Press. The musical soundtrack includes works of John Cage, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, David Rothenberg, Meredith Monk and Arvo Part.Ms. Thompson says of the phenomenon of whale fall:  “When a whale dies, it becomes whale fall. An immense ecosystem, its body sinks slowly to the ocean floor. For years, sometimes, the vast world sinks. Visitors come and go. But Whale Fall is also an imaginary universe of transmutation and rebirth. Its infinite layers of meaning, its real and imaginary characters, its metaphors of darkness and light make up the universe of these poems.”Ruth Thompson is the author of three other books of poetry: Crazing, Woman With Crows, and Here Along Cazenovia Creek. Her poems have won many awards, have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and have previously been choreographed by dancers Shizuno Nasu and Jenn Eng. Ruth received a BA in English from Stanford and a doctorate in English from Indiana University. In another life, she was a college dean in Los Angeles. She now lives in Hilo, Hawai’i with writer-anthropologist Don Mitchell, and teaches poetry, meditation, and writing from the body workshops throughout the US. Poems, events, and video are available at www.ruththompson.net.

 Jenn Eng has been dancing and performing most of her life, and stands on the shoulders of many masters, great teachers, and rich experiences. For her, it all started with the 1982 movie, Annie. Jenn knew immediately that she wanted to sing and dance like those cute orphans. She began performing in community children’s theatre and high school productions, and went on to graduate with a BFA from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. As a professional dancer, Jenn traveled the world. Her credits include the 2nd National Tour of Miss Saigon, Paul McCartney’s Driving USA Tour, and many nationally televised commercials. But her deepest, most fulfilling work has been here on the Big Island, honing her own unique expressive style and discovering the rewarding world of choreography and teaching. As a teacher, Jenn takes great joy in bringing out the best in her students. As a dancer and choreographer, Jenn’s style is original, vital, and authentic. She believes that dance and movement, sparked by deep listening, integrity, and trust, free us to express our truth, know our own divine purpose, and bring forth our love and courage into the world. 

Colee Garr is co-owner of Hilo Yoga Shala & Bodywork in Hilo, Hawai’i. She has been a practitioner and teacher of yoga for 22 years. In addition to Ashtanga and Iyengar training, Colee studied Therapeutic Yoga in Dehradun, Marma Point Massage in Dharmsala and Thai Massage in Pai, Thailand. Raised in a live music venue, The Top Hat in Missoula, Montana, Colee began dancing and singing at an early age. She was a saxophonist and singer in her father’s R & B band, and began taking dance classes in college, performing and creating her own choreography. Since 2004, Colee has participated with groups performing dance for rituals and ceremonies. In 2015 she began to study Hula under Kumu Hula Ryan McCormack, contemporary dance under Jenn Eng, and vocal improvisation and circle singing with Rhiannon. Colee is a member of Scrumptious Pineapple and the ELES, and has had the honor to work and perform with Rhiannon, Shizuno Nasu, Kekuhi Kealiikanakaole, Jenn Eng, Karen Masaki and Ruth Thompson.  Colee studies how energy moves through the body and its effects when landing in the freedom current of now and imagination. She believes in the healing power of breath and listening to the soul’s communication.

Karen Masaki has spent a lifetime surrounded by and immersed in the arts. Trained as a classical pianist, she has performed in dance companies in Philadelphia, New York and Honolulu and taught at private studios and community colleges on O’ahu.  Karen received a BA in Psychology from Oberlin College and a Master of Fine Arts degree in dance from the University of Hawai’i, Manoa.  She served as program officer for culture and arts at Hawaii Community Foundation for 11 years.  Karen lives in Volcano and is a long-time Ashtanga Yoga practitioner.