Sunday, 16 August 2009

From Here to There

I`ve lost my blue notebook. Probably somewhere on the train between Nottingham and London. Or maybe at my sister's in Nottingham. I was going to go through it and maybe lift something out of it onto this new blog. I begun it in Gottingin ,Germany at a Contact Dance festival and so lots of it is sketches of moving figures and certain distances between evolving contacts and then when they mesh together. Something in those figures troubled me. Either depicted apart or muddled up. It's more the thought-sense of merging before it occurs and the small lines and flurries that break out of demarcations, cross the space and make something of it - like the buzz of the generator, controlling air in the building which, in that room, especially on that first night when, having struggled to erect a tent in the dark with the rain coming down and only a single source of weak light from a torch, there in the woods on the edge of the university sports complex, I then entererd that building, empty, dark, with my torch still on and in the silence wandered around. Then I met a german woman who switched on the light and took me down corridors that were in the process of being taken apart or rebuilt- I don't know which- and then past an amazing wall panel of variously potruding coloured formations that after the weak light, the long journey on the train, the collapsing tent, dark of the woods, really took my breath away. It was a climbing wall which in the days to follow saw human attachments placed here and there even though they were making steady progress to some kind of summit- the ceiling of the building- because such was their slowness in needing to attach securely on a vertical surface that our sliding and spinning one over another inwards and outwards in that hinge of contact- a rotational core that genrated movements we could only prepare for, never anticipate- made those climbers appear static- like carbuncles clinging to favoured sites. Though if we were to enter and then leave the dance studio, even for the briefest of moments, all those sites would have been rearanged, the affinities shifted, the clinging intimacy reaportioned.
So on that first night, not far off midnight because I`d been faffing around with the tent for so long, I entered that room and with the buzz of the generator like the beginning of some momentous opus- the musician told me it was a clear and perfect G major that never slipped but just droned on- the dancers slid past, through and off of one another. I didn't move from my place on the floor with my back up against the wall and there was no compulsion to get up or do anything because my body was wrung out from the journey and I was in my jeans. Everythng set in a place there and the lack of compulsion somehow kept a balance and I was really able to see the dancers in a kind of mobile slow- motion which was both rapid and slow. It was a dream but where connections and reciprocity flow on and are tangible and viscous. Maybe a place where feeling plays out a drama and manifests in stops and starts for the participants and the passers-by. There were no hangers on because to eneter that captured space was to alter the shape and breath that flipped the beat of potential. Maybe that is contact dance- not trickery or special contortions, but this kind of flowing over and sensing out the feeling in these kind of elastic intervals. I`m not sayng it was all down hill after that, but a certain breathlessness of trying to get to the right place on time, to acknowledge or of being aware of somehow giving up the moment in the strangle of themes, of collectivities of turned-in voices or bodies or both and spasms of vacancy between bottled in drives and pre-empted explosions made the program at times too lax and at times too needy. Again stangely, right at the end, when half the particpants had gone and the last dance begun, I found agin the dance, maybe out of the many marks and routines already taken, coming through. That I think was emotion and it carried us through huge apartness and an affiliation of skin on skin each emoting the other until there was no seperation. Untill in face we were becoming the genrator buzz. I think, thinking about it now that that is not where the visilbe bodies are or where they can be depicted- it is another arangement of bodily intent that does not come from one side or another or from one place in time or another but spreads out from a central core and ammasses into a tensile field that holds attentiveness even as bodies slip through. It is a very still moment that a dance can conjur up and suddenly and unexpectedly release. I am socially awkward and stumble over words and movements when driven to express seperate and individuated themes coming from a certain directive that is understood to be "me". But that conjoint space where in fact we all of the time anyway reside is something that is compositional and so always interesting- it knows its bearings because habits, rituals, patterns, dressings and undressings, slurrs and slurries take it over, lending one body to another, completeing or cutting into new dimensions one utterance with another. It is as if the wind returns bigger and better; the home-made kite cobbled outof plastic bin bags and flown in my local park by a solitary boy too tall to fit his knees under his school desk, is given a new portioning. The focus shifts- high up above the park the kite is tethered and with small tugs pulled from below into further heights. And the boy is no longer over-sized or under-aged but is what he is- a necesary link between a respondant tensile apparatus- part of that apparatus. And the Jewish orthodox kids crowd around him and though he never looks down and seems to ignore them, they keep coming, drawing closer. And the mothers don't mind and don't try to seperate their clean kids from this tall black boy because they know something is happening- something is being held together in this park in Hackney and they are just as much a part of it in letting it happen as the boy with the kite. Smiling is of the same kind of operation- somewhere between holding in place and letting it go. And it is the act of smiling that makes us feel good. It is not a derivative of a feeling it is the engine of that feeling. How to begin it - that is a question since it never begins in only one place.

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