The world premiere of The Samurai Project final piece will be Friday, August 22nd at 8 and 10pm at Velocity Dance Center (click showtimes for tickets).

How can we say something true with our bodies?

DSC_0363Learning versus unlearning.
A huge part of the Samurai process is deconstruction; exposing the root of why the dancers choose movement to express themselves.
There is guidance and structure, but not in the typical way a dance class unfolds.
Your brain and body have to remain fully open and available.
The lessons are blueprints for creation to arise in the moment.

“See if you can gather new information without it being given to you.” -Viko Hernandez

The majority of the participants describe the two weeks as harder on their mind than their body; extremely challenging and transformative.


Inhibitions are completely forgotten.
As the group moves freely, with intention, it is the fullest it has ever been.
The movement in the room conjures a physical and emotional interaction, a release.
Risks are being taken.
The trust that has been built is clearly evident.


“Attention is the ultimate form of generosity.  This form of dance requires such generosity towards one another.”  -Elia Mrak

Samurai dancers are not simply tools to be used by the choreographer. They are each there for a unique purpose, and cannot be substituted or replaced.
Each dancer must be fully present, in every moment with the others in the group.
The dialogue is created in the now, in response to the environment.
The group is one, but each person remains an individual.

“When people are watching it is always different.  Adrenaline runs high, we pull away from the ground, the earth, and into ourselves.”  -Elia Mrak

The performance aims to be as authentic, pure, and true as the raw rehearsal.  This is not an easy feat.  Maintaining this purity is what the Samurais seek.

As an observer you cannot anticipate what is going to happen next.
It is spontaneous.
It is powerful.DSC_0496
It is authentic beauty.




When it is really hard, PAUSE.




Take your partner’s body for yourself and use it for your dancing, so when the body is not there, you can still use it.

This message clicks with many participants, and helps them understand the Samurai dancing:  The idea of working with an invisible partner, but also the partners who are real and present.

Honor the terrain of the body.

“A good relationship is when someone is there to make you feel visible.  To a lot of people in the world you are invisible.” -Christine Mrak

Look at your partner so they can truly feel that they have been witnessed.
You need a witness to your story.

DSC_0511You are not a character in your story, you are the story.
Dancing with each other, through each other.
Find the point where you are not sure if you are leading or following.

“Show who you are, with all the good and the bad.”                                -Martin Piliponsky

Allow yourself to be FULL.

Invite with your whole vitality.
Before you invite someone, you have to invite yourself.
You have to want to go before you include anyone else.
You have to want to be with yourself, and be comfortable doing so.


We invite you to be a part of our story: we will give you our full attention, and hope you will give us yours.


For more information visit The Samurai Project on Tumblr, Elia Mrak’s personal website, and at Velocity Dance Center’s page.

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