Monday, 8 August 2016

not dancing for nobody

written in response to Kiran Kumar's "There is no dance", on 6 July 2016

I'm pretty sure that one day soon, we'll be not dancing, for nobody. Dance will have arrived as a disembodied concept and will not even need to be seen, to be experienced. If nobody is watching, is there dance? If nobody or nothing is moving, is there dance? If there is there dance?

I once cancelled a dance workshop because only three participants had signed up. It was our company's pre-arranged supermodel equivalent of "I don't get out of bed for less than $XX000 a day".  The cultural centre director in that small town in France called to beg me to change my mind.  The three girls who had signed up were a trio of friends, and they would be disappointed... No, I said. They could do their dancing somewhere else, with someone else. (We weren't actually paid for the class anyway beyond the residency stipend for the work we were making, but I did get a couple more hours in bed.)

A friend of mine, if I understood him then, used to insist that Contact Improvisation performance did not exist. That the improvisation should be as it was, between the improvisers, and if someone happened to be there, they would be witnessing but would not be a performance. I think that adamance was about a product. The expectation of entertainment, the spectacular. For CI, all the jumps and lifts and flying through the air. Performance would turn the participative/active/multidimensional  (and hopefully primarily somatic) experience into something else.

"You come, we'll show you what we do."

It might be about research first, and entertainment/curiosity of the onlooker, second. But still clearly, us and the. You don't want just anybody walking in to join the dancing, wouldn't that be dangerous? Or might it be about sharing, about community. It might just be about the joy of first flight.

It's a dance that changed my work profoundly, because it was a dance that was by nature relational. By nature unwritten and creative and challenging in its surrender to the unknown. In its possibility to be everything, really. That dancing is exploration.