Retrospect: LAMP 2023

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A personal account from Reilly Nelson.

Reflecting on my journey with EQ at LAMP over the past four years has been a testament to the transformative power of presence in artistic expression. Through the guidance of Jackie and the inspiring examples set by Barbara and Pat, I’ve learned invaluable lessons in channeling my creative energy and fostering a focused practice amidst the chaos of the world around me.

My first encounter with EQ came on the heels of the pandemic in summer 2021. With uncertainty and pent-up energy coursing through me, I found myself immobilized by fear and a lack of direction. Luckily, EQ provided me with the tools – or “instruments,” as Jackie aptly calls them – to begin shaping my creative impulses into a structured yet flexible performance practice. Jackie’s “Friendly Eyes” method offered a formal framework within which I could explore and grow, while still allowing for personal freedom and expression.

Returning to EQ in the summer of 2023, I found myself delving deeper into the practice of Friendly Eyes, while also recognizing the significant progress I had made in just two years. The smaller group size allowed for more individualized attention from Jackie, Barbara, and Pat, fostering a sense of community and support as we embarked on our artistic journeys together. The mantra of “feeling over thought,” coined by Barbara, has become a guiding principle for me, reminding me to prioritize intuition and emotion in my creative process both in my performing and teaching.

As I look back on my experiences with EQ, I am filled with gratitude for the growth and inspiration it has provided me. It has been a journey of self-discovery and artistic exploration, one that has equipped me with the tools and mindset to navigate the ever-changing landscape of creativity with confidence and purpose. With each passing year, I am reminded of the enduring power of presence in art making, and the transformative impact it can have on both the artist and the audience.