COC 5/6

The Choreography of Care  

The Choreography of Care (5/6)

Fevered Sleep

Our invitation for how and when to read:

Read this in the company of something that isn’t human. A dog, a blade of grass, a handful of earth, a stone, in the rain, alongside a tree.

She picks up the folded grey jumper, the text on the front reads “Grief = Love”. She rubs the surface between her fingers, testing its texture against her skin. She holds it against her body, testing its size, feeling the weight of wearing it.

At the end of the improvisation she turns away from the camera, refusing to be seen. All that loss, released. Overwhelmed. Waiting, they give the time it takes for the electricity to disperse.

He reaches the entrance, suddenly afraid of the feelings he knows will
come when he steps inside. This practice of careful touch, so tender and gentle, is excoriating.

They stand together in a small enclosure, looking at the floor. He sits on the ground a little distance away, trying to take on the properties of earth and straw, sky and light, space. He closes his eyes, starts to sing. They lift their wet cows’ eyes, momentarily distracted from the boredom of this place they have to call home. Is there a name for this companionship?

Their breath sits in the air as they both exhale. He’s placed his body lower than hers, he lays there curled away from her, concentrating on stillness. He is listening to her breathing, he is gradually changing the rise and fall of his chest to match hers.

– Fevered Sleep
– Julia Watts Belser

Julia Watts Belser

Crip Shabbat // Sacred Rest

How do you rest?
How do reclaim time?
How do you tune in
to the cadence of breath?

Left to my own devices,
I would eat my life
with work and worry.

The practice of Shabbat
is my antidote to ableism
and the press of productivity,
to the fetish of accomplishment.

Six days, the Jewish story whispers:
six days to work and labor
and the seventh, then, to savor.

Friday nights, by candlelight
I turn the world to shadow and to gold.
I chant the blessings and remember:

Even g*d knows the rhythm of rest.

Shabbos time is crip time.
Bed-days are sacred.
Rest restores the soul.

I am not my work.
My work is not my worth.

To unwind ordinary time,
I braid thick stands of challah dough,
to bread I make
to welcome in Shabbat.

It starts with water, sugar, yeast.
It starts with warmth and waiting.

Yeast is a living creature.
You have to let it feast.

Into the slurry,
add the oil, the salt,
then crack the eggs.

Knock tender shell against the counter
spill the yoke, the glistening white.

If you’re baking for my father,
reserve a bit of egg;
you’ll brush it on the loaves
before they bake
to make them shine.

But I decline.
I am unwinding from the gloss of life,
the prettiness.

I am leaning into elemental things,
thick loaves turned textured
by my hands—

the rise
the wait
the warmth

the taste.


Sam Butler and David Harradine (Fevered Sleep)

Sam Butler and David Harradine are co-founders and artistic directors of Fevered Sleep. Working across artforms - theatre, dance, film, installation, publication and digital art - they make spaces in which people can experience, co-create and participate in transformative creative experiences. Their work is inclusive, collaborative and research led. They’re trying to make the world a more caring, curious, compassionate place - one unlikely art project at a time.

Julia Watts Belser

Julia Watts Belser is a rabbi, scholar, activist, and spiritual teacher. She is a professor of Jewish Studies at Georgetown University and core faculty in Georgetown’s Disability Studies program, where she brings Jewish texts into conversation with queer, disability, and feminist ethics. She currently directs a project on disability, climate change, and environmental justice – and when she’s not teaching or writing, she’s a passionate wheelchair hiker.


The Choreography of Care

Claire Cunningham, Bethany Wells und Luke Pell