Conversations

Elizabeth Polanco: Spoken Word Artist, Dancer

Elizabeth Polanco at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with Throne of Njouteu: Royal Couple. Photo: Suze Bienaimee

SUZE BIENAIMEE: Meet Elizabeth Polanco! She is a dancer, writer, world traveler and Spoken Word Artist. (Spoken Word is an oral art that focuses on word play, intonation and voice inflection.) She has performed her Spoken Word Art and dance at universities in the northeast as member of The Collective.

I had the opportunity to meet Elizabeth at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Strolling through the sub-Saharan African art of the Michael C. Rockefeller wing, I asked her the StudioSeeds question: what inspires you?

ELIZABETH POLANCO: Silence. Time. Stillness. Travel.

Moments of stillness don’t frequently happen in our society, probably because silence has a way of creating anxiety due to the repressed thoughts that may rush in when we finally stop to think. Despite the conflicting feelings, being still can help us reflect and realize what truly brings us joy and peace. Immersed in beauty, I discovered I was meant to explore the hidden treasures of the world.

Guadalquivir River in Sevilla, Spain. Photo: David Rodriguez Palomar

It all began for me as I sat by the Guadalquivir River in Sevilla, Spain on a Sunday afternoon, sun-gazing at the beautifully potent Sevilla sun. It was the happiest I had been at that point in my life, in stillness surrounded by the most inspiring view I had ever seen.

My adventure in Sevilla was the beginning of lifelong stories I plan to continue writing.

I am the dreams i constructed within the realm of rem sleep.

I am a burst of energy that glided the physical and 5th dimension.

I am present eternal and profound where no words can encapsulate everything i have been, will become and transform to.

Words, language, concepts compartmentalize and oversimplify who i am. I am more than what you see, more than a check box, more than you can discover, more than just a species, i am that i am.

My travels have taken me to Guayaquil, Ecuador;  Cozumel, Mexico; La Vega, Dominican Republic; Cahuita, Costa Rica; Montego Bay, Jamaica; Havana, Cuba; Paris, France; Lisbon, Spain, as well as many places around the United States.

Elizabeth Polanco: in Montego Bay, Jamaica with women in folkloric dresses. Photo: Jansiel Polanco @ArtclStudios
Elizabeth Polanco speaking with a Cuban local about African heritage in Hamal Alley, Cuba. Photo: Jansiel Polanco @ArtclStudios
A Costa Rican indigenous woman showing Elizabeth Polanco how to make chocolate from scratch by first roasting the cacao beans, Cahuita, Costa Rica. Photo: Jansiel Polanco @ArtclStudios

I have found joy in assimilating into cultures and the different lifestyles. I once traveled to learn about the culture and society, but now I travel to connect with parts of myself I don’t get to see in my everyday life. As a poet, writer, and dancer, being creative requires digging deep in oneself, examining what makes us uncomfortable and expressing what make us yearn.

My purpose in life is to use my adventures and those I meet along the way to communicate what can’t be intellectualized and must be in form of art. Exploring the world has helped me understand I am not lost when I wander.

The ties, connections, relativity are super natural. The past becomes a sheer moment spent in today that becomes deja vu as if we’ve lived this story or are living out our destiny. Time transpires all dimensions where there are no more resilient memories but actual specs of time playing out in its synchronicity.

SUZE BIENAIMEE: Elizabeth, thank you for sharing your inspiration and purpose with StudioSeeds readers! Wow: stillness, silence, timelessness and travel — all inspiring through your vision.

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WRITING EXCERPTS BY ELIZABETH POLANCO, Spoken Word Artist:

From Ecstatic Corona:

Dance defined me.
Inside my interior reflecting my exterior, i found myself dancing.
It came natural.
It was liberating.
Dancing was not something i paid to learn. It wasn’t something i strategically practiced; working on my posture, doing proper plies, and fitting all the criterias that make up a dancer.

This is not me.
Not even if i secretly lived out someone else’s passion to exist and belong to could i correlate.
I’ve resurrected my memories weakness, defining OUR present illness.

 

From Children of the Mercy Files:

I grew up in a fantasy of a world that would allow all dreams. I learned that from them. But my innocence was shattered with the reality of my parent’s failed dreams. The fantasy of having possibilities to achieve my dreams became nothing but nostalgia.

I’ll tell you…she has chased dreams that have hypnotized her, blocking out reality. She reaches, and reaches, and reaches but doesn’t reach. She sleep walks. She moves in her rem sleep, not grounded by gravity.

He worked all the jobs he could and experienced what was to be his life until insomnia hit. Now the scabs on his feet, his shortness of breath, and the glaucoma are a constant reminder of his failure. He is now a mere example of lost value, an unacquired profitability in things like education, English language,— all those things that make you marketable in America.

Our happy moments were followed by lashes of anger, and then the ongoing struggle to maintain a family settled like a fog.

 

MORE ABOUT ELIZABETH POLANCO

MA, International Relations, City College, New York, New York

BA, Sociology, Queens College of the City University of New York

THE COLLECTIVE: Elizabeth Polanco is part of a multimedia collective where she dances and performs her poetry. The Collective has produced Ecstatic Corona and Children of the Mercy Files performed at Sarah Lawrence College, Graduate Center, Barnard College,  New York University as well as being featured in the Remix Media Festival and the Left Forum.

Elizabeth is currently working on a memoir of her spiritual journey in finding connections to her African heritage.

You can reach her through the comments section for this post on StudioSeeds.

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Elizabeth Polanco: Spoken Word Artist, Dancer StudioSeeds Inspire By Suze Bienaimee