Our Feature Story in the new 2015 Festival Guide!
One of the most magical delights recently emerging in transformational festival culture is the new mythical theater. Combining dance, storytelling, fire dancing, circus arts, acrobats, musical performance and ancient mystical traditions….the new theater “wow’s” your senses and captures your imagination, taking you on a journey to a land of wonder and possibility, inviting you to come back expanded and transformed.
Meet JediRising, the newest collaboration of gifted visionary talent to rise on the festival circuit, and coming soon to a festival near you!
BuddhaBee and Dylan T Bradley are the founders of JediRising. We chatted in early January, 2015.
Saphir – I know very little of your history, let’s start at the beginning?
Dylan – From the beginning… I’m a performer (hoop dancer) and I’ve been doing that for about 3 years. I started to get the notion that I wanted to do something greater than just myself. So I spent about 2 – 3 months meditating, spending time in the woods, really focusing and channeling a statement of intention. After 3 months of doing that, I came out of the woods, and went to a New Year’s Eve party where I met BuddhaBee (aka BlondeOnyx), who makes electronic music. That was the beginning. It was the Explosion of JediRising.
BuddhaBee – At the same time, I had seen traveling musician troupes like Liberation Movement: powerful clusters of people who came together to create a larger performance with a message. Rather than one super star creator, they were a whole constellation of super stars. We each had that inspiration and then we met, shared ideas, and birthed the entire thing. The story line just came through to us.
BuddhaBee – The first incarnation became our 2014 performance, (which will be reborn and re-molded into several different story lines for 2015). The first story line is called “The Soul’s Journey”. It is a 10 act piece.
In the intro, which is called, “The Birth of Consciousness”, Dylan (who is the lead dancer) is the individualized Soul, born from Collective Unity. Our cast of characters are the four Elements: the Goddess (Alyssa Keys), the Shaman (Lucas Reshi), the Soul (Dylan Bradley), and we have one character which represents the Kundalini/Chakra Energy system (Kandice Korves-Kaus).
For the birth segment, the four Elements are present, with the Goddess and Shaman representing the Masculine & Feminine and essentially making love on stage. Then all of a sudden, BOOM! the birth of the individualized soul comes from their union.
From there, each of the elements has a solo piece that is directed at the individualized soul, teaching him about their element. (Earth-Benjamin Moss, Air-Ashley Keith, Fire- Mark Wolfe, Water-Ivy Elwyn)
The Air Dance is an aerial silk piece. The fire dance is our Fire God with a double dragon staff. Then the Water Dance which includes dancing with giant bubbles. We created characters for the music, even down to the instrumentation. We sampled splashing water against the shower and used it as the snare. Every element was integrated into each act and piece.
From that moment it culminates, as the Shaman, acting as the midwife, says, “Now you’re grounded in the four elements. You’re grounded in time and space.”
And then the Shaman introduces the Magickal elements.
Dylan – There is also the understanding of the masculine and feminine duality, the ability for us to hold both in our being.
BuddhaBee – The Shaman can impart into you anything you need to know, without using so many words, using the art of dance. Teaching the lessons, perhaps he moves in this one way that makes you think of something. That intimate reflection.
From there the Shaman piece transitions into the Goddess piece. We have 5 Goddesses, Coven back up dancers, while our lead woman, Alyssa, does a beautiful solo piece for the Goddess and that’s again embodying all the femininity, motherliness and teachings that ultimately empower sensuality.
Dylan – There is a nurturing energy which comes along with the feminine, the maternal.
BuddhaBee – After the Goddess piece, Dylan, the Soul, who just having learned all these things, from all these characters, and being present on stage the entire time, discovers his LED Hula hoop. He does a beautiful solo piece that begins the journey of self-enlightenment at the moment of birth. He does a beautiful LED Hoop piece as he is discovering time and space.
Dylan – It’s a self-realization piece. When you become acquainted with all these elements, all the pieces that make up our lives, then you realize where you are in that make up.
BuddhaBee – After his solo piece, the music transitions. I collaborated with Jordan Hansel, a DJ named GeOmertrae. We created a four and a half minute sound healing piece…all of the instruments we used were tuned to each of the chakra frequencies. This is called the Chakra piece. We played to each of the chakras. Every sound that you hear has been tuned to 432 mhz. It is a beautiful sound healing piece for the audience to experience. During the Chakra piece we have a friend come out and do what is known as the LED Nucleus. It’s 3 hoops inside of one that revolve around the centralized glowing object.
Dylan – A gyroscope typically has 3 rings, it’s a small medium and large ring, and they each have LED lights on the inside and it revolves like a gyroscope would with the center piece being an octagonal nucleus.
Saphir- I saw the photo, it’s actually not that big, you can hold it in your hands.
BuddhaBee – Yes. The Goddess comes out and she represents the ultimate otherworldly extra dimensional chakra activation. This is when your kundalini opens up and this is right before the final act, which is the last act of our show which is the enlightenment.
Saphir – In the Chakra piece, it sounds like more than story telling? As if you had crafted the music to literally impact the audience for an internal shift.
BuddhaBee – Absolutely. All the instruments were tuned to each of the chakras, so when you looked at it on the computer, it actually was a rainbow. We created this to be something that… even if you didn’t watch what was happening on stage, you would be having your own experience through the music the entire time. Especially the Chakra piece. It is a sound healing piece more than anything else, so it’s the slowest and less beat driven of the tracks.
On stage, we brought out a dry ice cauldron, and the Goddess and Shaman perform a ritual around it. All four of the elements are present. It’s a collective group piece. Dylan is in the center of it all and we created a LED strip going up the center which are the chakra lights, so throughout the piece, we activate the chakra lights. We’re illustrating what that Kundalini Awakening looks like. All the characters are present on stage, and this is leading back toward the final act of enlightenment.
Saphir – The final act – Enlightenment!
BuddhaBee – In the Enlightenment, we let each of the characters do a little recap. They each get a 15 -30 second solo piece and then they leave in the same order as they entered. It’s the closing of the circle. The birth is the opening of the circle, and is also a ceremony in its own right, the whole piece is a ceremony and an intentional creation.
Dylan – We wanted to create something that was entertaining, but had a deeper message that, even if you weren’t able to fully grasp the message, you were still moved and were granted some insight into life lessons.
BuddhaBee – If you totally didn’t understand everything about how creation exists in time space, you’d still be moved. One of my Taoist friends that saw it said “You guys pretty much nailed the Taoist version of creation.” We really went into… “How does life manifest itself? What is creation? And how does consciousness work?” That’s why it’s called The Soul’s Journey, because it’s the thing we all have in common. The Soul. From birth to enlightenment, and that may look different for each individual person, but we believe that there are in some way, systematic steps that each person, each soul, goes through to get back to the enlightenment phase. So the Enlightenment is a recap of the entire show, where Dylan throws his arms up, and the music crescendos into a reverse symbol crash: The Moment of Enlightenment. With the music, I created specific modulations to get from the key we started in, back to home C. Which is, in my opinion, the most heavenly key. There’s intention in the music the entire way through.
Saphir – You come to Enlightenment and everybody goes off stage one at a time, closing the circle.
Dylan – It’s the culmination of all the gathered knowledge; all the lessons which have been imparted, which result in an enlightened understanding of our reality.
BuddhaBee – Unity back into the universe… and once the individualized soul is self-realized, then the light spreads from that person to all the other people. We have been working on creating different imagery so that when he’s enlightened, those around him become enlightened and it spreads to the larger audience.
Saphir – Do you guys have some history in sacred shamanic arts?
BuddhaBee – I have been a practicing shaman for 4 or 5 years.
Dylan – We did a lot of research while we were writing it.
BuddhaBee – We brought in a ceremonial consultant as well. We did journeys, we did things to check in with the higher dimensional beings to validate support for what we were doing, and if this was the correct way to present this. We went into different realms to get the cosmic okay. We did bring in a physical consultant to go over our ceremony and have her tap into the question of, “What is the bigger picture we are creating?” What is the larger ceremony doing? Is it effective?
Saphir – Very exciting.
BuddhaBee – The magic of what has happened…the energetic sparks that are coming off the stage are so powerful! This is the only show where everyone would sit down and watch for an hour at a festival in rapture, and then stand up and give a standing ovation. They were fully captivated the entire time, so the portal we opened really sucked people in and made them very present with the entire thing.
Dylan – Which can be challenging at festivals. It’s very short attention span theater.
BuddhaBee – For us, they sat and watched the entire show and didn’t move. It was amazing.
Saphir – That’s fantastic. It looks like it was full of light and color and lots of exciting things.
BuddhaBee – We did our show at Enchanted Forest and networked with those guys to do lighting and projection. That was the element we knew nothing about. You might have seen in the background a space palace in some of the photos. We designed that with my house mate, Jah Ishka Lha, who is a prominent visionary artist.
BuddhaBee – One reason we started this troupe was because there’s not a lot of opportunity for dancers in this scene to get paid. Performers are undervalued by producers and promoters. For instance, if you have a visual on stage next to the amazing music, people are just that much more entertained and it becomes a more immersing experience for them. Performers get a discounted ticket to the event, no accommodations, food, they don’t get much for what they contribute. We want to create an opportunity for our troupe of dancers to actually get paid, and start that as a trend, and people will say, hey if we band together as a troupe, we are worth more and can do this professionally.
Dylan – It’s appreciated by fans and artists, but monetarily it isn’t appreciated.
BuddhaBee – So, that’s where you asked if the music is available… is it going to cost money? I say yes, because all of that is going to come back into the nesting pot we are creating. We paid our dancers for rehearsals because they would drive 2.5 hrs to be here, and we had sometimes 3 days of rehearsal 8 hrs a day. The choreography was so hard. It was expensive for them to drive to a show for 3 days and miss 3 days of work at a time. We had multiple strings like that, so we paid people for rehearsal.
Saphir- Did you crowd fund for that?
BuddhaBee – We didn’t, we found a private investor, and on the other side of this, we have the music.
For several of our shows, we have 5 live singers (Jah Ishka Lha, Ixchel Prrisma, Amae Love, Aleksandra Shira Dubov & I). There’s myself (BlondeOnyx) and another electronic producer (GeOmertrae) who created the music, I created all the vocal parts for the singers of the community too. Dylan’s vision from the beginning was a constellation of dancers, my vision was a constellation of musicians and singers, and then we picked the best from the scene, and we brought them all together on one stage in one show. We have five vocalists singing over these tracks, the Goddess track is 2 people, Amae Love and Ixchel Prrisma, who are two of the most up and coming female vocalists on the scene right now. Ixchel works with Shamans
Dream, and Desert Dwellers. We have Jah Ishka Lha who is a visionary artist painter, we have myself, another female singing an epic operatic piece (Aleksandra Shira Dubov), and narrating the electronic birth of consciousness. Our troupe is quite large at different moments. We have 6 people on side stage singing while there’s 10 people on stage dancing. And we have a narrator whom we call the Oracle (Michaela Ivie), she’s featured throughout giving little synopses of the next segment. The guys we worked with for lighting and projections are Third Eye Projections and The Supernatural Factory, and our clothing designer is Ivy Elwyn of Elvyn Galactic Designs…it’s a big group!
Saphir – What happened with the music? Is it recorded?
Buddha – Yes it’s all recorded. We have a couple of tracks on sound cloud.
Saphir – Are they available for people?
Buddha – We will be finishing it into a complete playable album which will be available for sale. (link?)
Saphir – How long it the performance?
Buddha – It’s an hour.
Saphir – Wow that’s a lot to pack into an hour!
Buddha – Yes it’s very multi-layered. If its longer than 45 mins, it better be amazing, but it can’t be longer than an hour or people’s attention span will diminish. We’re trying to condense it into a 45 minute piece. We wrote a song which works as our sound check. It’s a 4 minute full systems sound check where the singers can create beautiful ad lib stuff and make sure everything is going well.
Saphir – Where are you going from here? What’s 2015 going to be all about?
Buddha – We really love the story line that we have created. The level of intensity it took to put it on, including a stage manager, stage hands, prop manager….it’s not really reachable for festivals who have lower budgets. We have a lot of dancers and are putting on a huge show. So what we are creating now is a customized performance for the opportunity we are given. We’re going to be collaborating with more music producers, more singers, making new music. We’ve talked about plenty of other story lines which we want to develop.
Dylan – We will continue creating relationships between music producers and performers. We cast specific roles for this one. For 2015, we’ll be casting out again and we will be able to include more people and showcase performers from around the world.
Buddha – If Alyssa wasn’t present for one of our shows, we couldn’t perform because no one could step into that role. It was very specific for her. So moving forward we want to take the pressure off and create a semi revolving cast, with core members, and then revolving satellite members.
Now that we have a relationship within the community, as people who are pleasurable to work with, people who pay their dancers, more high quality professional people are coming to us to say, “I don’t care if you pay me I want to show my art in the way you are delivering it.” That’s been attractive to producers as well. We want to be the ones who organize it and put it out into the world. Ultimately we want to be the ones who inspire and educate people.
Saphir- It sounds like for 2015 you are crafting several more story lines that you can produce with different groups of people so you can incorporate more artists. It’s still early in the season so you don’t really have your gigs set up yet.
Buddha – We have submitted to quite a few, and we will return to Enchanted Forest and Forever Everland, and we will definitely do something at Burning Man. We want to submit to different festivals and create different productions for each one. LIB invited us to submit, so that’s exciting.
If there’s one image I could leave you with, it’s that we are a constellation of superstars, that is music and dance. The power of what can happen, transformationally to the collective …we can inspire greater numbers as we come together. Some of our dancers are visionary artists and painters. These are multi-talented artists. Our clothing designer is one of our dancers. We are a full package of talented multi-dimensional people that came together and created a larger vision. Musically, dance wise, what we have put together, is an example of what people can do. If we can do it, you can do it. It takes a lot but it isn’t unattainable. Any vision you have, if you can dream it, you can do it and we are a living example of that.