A big part of flagging for me is about a connection – a connection to the music, to the silk, and to the people around me. Sometimes you get wrapped up in the music, and the flags and the outside world fade away, and other times you feel connected to every single person around you.
Being with a group of people you care about, dancing and celebrating life, and feeling linked to those around you...
how can that not be spiritual?
A completely different type of flagging is when I can really 'let go', when I can forget about all the distractions, and everything just flows. Flagging becomes a meditation as well as a dance, and I find that I can really go into the moment. Ironically, it's this 'letting go' that helps me reach a place where I feel more connected than ever before.
Occasionally someone will come up and make a truly thoughtful observation, letting me know that I've connected with them on some level. Since so much of flagging for me is about connection and communication, these mean a lot to me.
Nature is a frequent inspiration: create silk that looks like fire, or like water, or like 'growth'. Try to create something that makes you think of love, of beauty, of intensity, or power.
As of a decade ago, I was a skinny computer programmer who was too intimidated to even get out on the dance floor without some prodding. And I'd never even consider taking off my shirt.
Catch Phillip flagging at The Great Chicago Fire, Saturday night at Union Station.
all pix by Terry Thompson