Mystical Bootcamp

Mystical Bootcamp was developed and presented at Links Hall in March 2011, as part of the LinkUp residency program.

Mystical Bootcamp was directed by Aurora Tabar and Sara Zalek with input from Bryan Saner and Charlie Universe. The piece was performed by Aurora, Sara, Bryan, and Charlie.

Lighting design by Francesca Bourgault
Costumes by Jessi Taylor in collaboration with Sara and Aurora
Videography by Jared Larson and Lori Felker

Our LinkUp residency began as an exploration of movement addressing trauma experienced by the body. This is a time of war, economic inequality, and environmental change. Our bodies are not separate from these issues; our bodies can resist violence and repair our culture. We set the intention to create a vocabulary of healing. 

We looked back at the life and work of Mary Wigman, Kazuo Ohno, Pina Bausch and Yvonne Rainer as inspiration. These artists, born out of eras of post-war trauma, developed unique movement forms rebelling against virtuosity, verticality, and elegance. Instead they favored individual expression and sought to create opportunities for transformation through movement. Throughout our investigation, we discovered how each of our lives intersect with the experiences of our predecessors, and we created our own rituals to understand healing. We practiced the 5 BX (the national calisthenics regiment of the Canadian Air Force), danced along to Trio A by Yvonne Rainer, and developed a pedestrian score. We became interested in the Occupy movement and attended General Assembly meetings. We researched shamanism, vortexes, and biodynamic agriculture. We discussed our spiritual beliefs and embodied totem animals. We grew into a collective. Our inquiry evolved from historical and global to contemporary and deeply personal. What you are seeing tonight is what we believe.

Like our collaborators across history, we rebel. Instead of straight lines and grids, we envision a spiral. We now invite you into our ritual. You are the final element to complete a field of magic in which healing can occur. Welcome to the mystical bootcamp.

We would like to thank our mentor, Peter Carpenter, for his invaluable advice and input. Thanks to our outside eyes–Ginger Krebs, Lily Emerson, and Annie Peacenik. Rustel Weiss created our Kickstarter video. Thanks to Alyce Henson for production photos and Michael Keehma for production videography. Additional thanks go out to Kevin Plattner, Christopher Zalek, Collin Bunting, Marie Casimir, Erica Mott, Roell Schmidt, and the entire Links Hall staff.


Opening text: Joseph Campbell, Pandit Pran Nath, Paul Bowles, Joe StrummerMovements from the nationalismystic dance extracted from the film Young Men of Our Country: Mass Calisthenics (National Archives and Records Administration), 5 BX, and Trio A by Yvonne Rainer