Do a Dance

Photos and Things from the TEDxJersey City Labyrinth by Katelyn Halpern

Labyrinth for Reflection & the Generation of Love [No. 7, created for TEDxJersey City]

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WHAT: A labyrinth is a single twisting path that leads from the outer edge to a center chamber.
WHY: Unlike a maze, a labyrinth holds no tricks, choices, or dead ends; you can give yourself over to the path and release your mind to its wanderings.
HOW: Begin at the entrance at the outer edge and walk along the path. Once you reach the center, stay as long as you wish, then follow the path back out. Move at any comfortable speed, and be mindful of those sharing the labyrinth walk with you.

… the way it feels to walk the labyrinth versus walk on the street
… how quick turns in the path feel different than long sweeping segments
… the feeling you have in the center chamber
… the difference between traveling in toward the center versus traveling out toward the edge
… where your mind goes

And here's the artist's statement I shared with conference guests:

I walked my first labyrinth at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas around 2007. They have a beautiful copy of the Chartres Cathedral Labyrinth, and as I walked it a little something shifted in me. It was like partnering with a great lead in social dancing - I felt supported, free, and open to surprise - and I've walked pretty much every labyrinth I've encountered since.

I started improvising labyrinths about six months ago as an offshoot of my choreography-meets-public-art project Do a Dance!, which uses chalk to place little dance instructions on sidewalks and blacktops. At first I just wanted to see if I could produce a walkable labyrinth, but soon I zeroed in on the significance: whether I'm walking or making them, labyrinths give me a way to reflect on the world and generate love in times of crisis. I began installing them in response to current events, like the Pulse shooting in Orlando, and in support of the Movement for Black Lives. They offer a place to go and thing to do when we might otherwise be at a loss. Of course, they aren't just for heavy moments, they're for anything you like: an unusual walk, a nice experience to share with a friend or stranger, or a bit of time to enjoy a happy feeling.

It seems fitting to bring an improvised labyrinth to TEDxJersey City's Go. After all, labyrinths are all about going - the body goes, the mind goes, one goes in and goes out... there's nothing but going going on.

I hope you enjoy your time in the labyrinth today, and thank you for visiting.
- Katelyn

Upcoming: Labyrinth Installation at TEDxJersey City by Katelyn Halpern

On Saturday, December 3, I'm going to install a life-sized labyrinth at TEDxJersey City. On session breaks, attendees will be invited to walk the labyrinth (which will be made of painters tape so as not to damage the Historic Loew's Theater!) as a way to let their thoughts settle, get their blood moving, or generate love and reflection. I've been making chalk labyrinths as part of Do a Dance! since June of this year, and it's really wonderful to bring this branch of the project indoors and into such a rich environment. The labyrinth also sits nicely with the conference theme GO, because with a labyrinth, of course, you go in, you go around, you go back the way you came, and then you go on your way. <3

TEDxJersey City, Historic Loew's Jersey City Theater, Saturday, December 3, 2016. Information + tickets



original labyrinth by katelyn halpern, published in  Under Glass Vol. 2: Dumpster Fire, August 2016.

original labyrinth by katelyn halpern, published in Under Glass Vol. 2: Dumpster Fire, August 2016.

Do a Dance! September 9th at JC Fridays by Katelyn Halpern

Do a Dance! returns to Van Vorst Park September 9 for JC Fridays. Find ordinary sidewalks turned into dance-scapes and winding labyrinths made of chalk, then follow the prompts to Do a Dance! of your very own. Early birds (10-11:30a) can grab some chalk and add their own Do a Dance! to the walkways. All ages welcome , but readers will have more fun. :) 

Follow the fun @letsdoadance
Free! Installation starts at 10a. Do a Dance! on display until the rain comes.