seasons and practice
In the recent weeks I’ve been asked one way or another the question “how's dancing going” more times than I can use my fingers to count for. In respect to the seasons of making, of creating, my current one calls for retrieval and recovery. I find myself in the background, observing internal and external processes with a strong desirelessness to do nothing else. There is only the desire to stay very quiet. All creativity has its seasons and such is the nature of this one. It calls for a way of simply being in the world and craves for everything that is not productive or quantifiable.
Only a slight shift of perspective is required to see that that too, is a dance. Most of dance cannot be witnessed by the eye. There is an ongoing process that weaves the invisible to what is tangible, material and that process is lively, buoyant, generous and constant. Unscripted, unpublished, existing on the stage of universal dynamics.
Many other words besides dance could be used to describe the same occurrence of happenings. To me dance is the perfect one. In one simple word, it implies movement, presence, time, space, and the act of going nowhere in a meaningful, resonant way. It is essentially musical, sometimes harmonious, other times erratic and discontinuous; always playful.
As a human being we have a body that is multidimensional: vertical, horizontal: elemental. Temporal, present and saturated by history. Dance, The Practice as a method is there to cultivate awareness by slowing down the pace with which information pours down into our consciousness, in order to analyse, deconstruct and gain understanding. It seeks knowledge while constantly asking the question "what can we learn from the knowledge we acquire?". Having a practice empowers each one of us to become our own teacher. It recognizes the function of learning not as piling more stuff inside, but as making it more effortless for what is inside us to flow out. It requires discipline and dedication and a character that is gentle yet relentless. The practice thrives on having set boundaries of time and a space, dedicated for it and it only.
The practice steps out of the framework of rigidity and comes alive when it exists in accordance with what it cannot grasp or define. Sometimes this mystery is already waiting for us when we enter the studio and the practice must become that of surrender. Whether we are aware of it or not, we do not take a single breath in life without it accompanying us. It shows up with varying degrees of intensity and quality. It is invisible, imaginative, that of a dream. Carrying within the language of mythology, it speaks through symbolism and non-linear associations. We cannot follow it as we are used to following things - a wider range of sensibility and sense-making is involved.
The space created by dance has the potential to reconcile the split we are not necessarily born with, but have developed through life. It is the split between what is material, working within linear causal relations, and what is of a dream, of imagination, residing in the realm of acausal connections. In the space created by dance, that split ceases to exist and all is included as different aspects of the whole. The deep imagination of the body comes together with its materiality in the form of a specific person that carries a name and a lineage. Dance gives us the permission to jump off the map given to us by mass culture and learn about the gifts that we as individuals can give to the world.
When cultivating this perspective, the life merges with the dance and they become inseparable. There is a subtle dance of awareness every morning as the body starts waking up again. The shivers of mischief run up and down my spine when I find myself in a space, completely alone. Each step my feet take contain an intricate play between gravitational forces and musculoskeletal dynamics. My heart lights up with a dance of joy whenever rain starts pouring out of the sky. When I listen to another being with great care and attention, I become the space in which the story of my companion can take place and expand to it’s fullest.
There is no need to immediately go into the world to try and find dance wherever you can. You can just sit down, stand up, fall asleep and let the dance find you. Events in the world can stop dance from happening in stages and in clubs, but no dance can be controlled when it is the essence of the unstoppable. Each time we step into the shoes of the one who notices, we acknowledge the mystery and our responsibility and pleasure in keeping it safe.