THE 15th OF JULY 2008 IN THE ARSENAL WORKSHOP AREA
Two hundred workshops in 34 days. The whole Arsenal is moved by moving
bodies of every age, gender, culture, ability and aspiration. Dreams and
ambitions, pleasures and joys, obstacles and limitations. It's all there.
"The body is a funny thing" one student says in the research project
with Jonathan Burrows and Adrian Heathfield. It is a kind of relief to state
such a simple thing in this charged environment.
"If the occident, as its name says, is a decline, then the body is the
last weight, the extreme point of weight which triggers this decline. The body is
weight. The laws of gravity apply to the body in space. But first of
all, the body carries its weight in itself, it has descended into itself
following the laws of its own gravity …"
But here, it is not "just the body" at the center of attention,
it is dancing what it is all about. "The art of dance" and "the
dance of life". All these movements are present. The body is a major
issue, but what also has an inevitable importance are all the different
relations in and through which these bodies are moving. By what are they
directed, where they come from, what they envision themselves to become.
In dancing, terminologies start to stumble and "body" melts with
"being", "matter" with "thought",
"movement" with "image". Each person dances his/her name
inheriting uniqueness and multiplicity at the same time.
"At least (editor's note) two things about physical
movement are striking: One is that movement is non verbal and yet it
communicates, that is, says something … The second thing: The body does not,
I almost would say cannot, lie. The human being as it s/he actually exists at
any moment cannot be hidden by words, clothes, least of all by wishes. The core
of movement experience is the sensation of moving and being moved. Ideally both
are present at the same instant. It is a moment of total awareness, the coming
together of what I am doing and what is happening to me," as Mary Whitehouse
Maybe this is what amateurs and professionals share in
the ImPuls workshops, this confrontation of exposure and recognition of these
moments of awareness, this delicious power.
The workshops offer different time frames for the ups and
downs in the process of learning and development. The fragility of this process
in general is most tangible in any work with the body, in a practice. To say
yes to a physical training means to (learn) embrace a detourment. Dance
practice is a Joker, the Fool in a mediatized environment of efficiency.
Movement as the law of things does not have to claim its
power, because everybody getting involved with movement is confronted with this
power. Dance as the rhythmical moves, the startings and stoppings, flow and
interruption, as the use of prescribed or improvised steps and gestures, the
leaps and skips, the vacillation, the crashes, the jerks and perks (in dancing
together), this (eyes) dance in merriment, as movement and not movement.
All these differences seem to come together within the
workshops, different people, different cultures, different conditions. Is this
a temporal community in dance happening? Is this a temporal dancing zone? Dance
practice, be it technique class, improvisation, research, amateurs or
professionals, is soaked with thought, history and imagination. Within this
practice the body cannot do other than talk back. Does s/he say:
"The last possible deed is that which defines perception itself, an invisible
golden cord that connects us: illegal dancing in the courthouse corridors. If I
were to kiss you here they'd call it an act of terrorism - so let's take our
pistols to bed & wake up the city at midnight like drunken bandits
celebrating with a fusillade, the message of the taste of chaos …"?
What is the difference between "zone" and a community? The
difference between "zone" and community can be regarded as the first
being a sharing of activity in a certain area and the second being more related
to a sharing of identity.
The body is not just a funny thing, it is also unpredictable. A dancer passes
by in the cafeteria with tears in her eyes. "Are you hurt?" I ask.
"No," she cries, "we were working with our imagination and
suddenly I had to cry. I couldn't stop. I sat aside to just witness the room.
But I had to leave. Dancing is such a sad profession." And she continued on
her way home.
Let's once and for all get rid of all romanticism and agree "Love can be seen as the answer … but nobody bleeds for
the dancer …"
That's one thing clearly to be recognized.
The other thing is that contemporary dance as a practice –
and thereby stating that the variety of classes and participants during the
festival is already contemporary – enquires a destabilization of identity. It happens
because it is heterogeneous (in techniques, theories, gender, cultures). The
spaces which open through this destabilization are most valuable. They breed
the adventurous potential of self-differentiation and perforate ideologies. Maybe
the challenge to take this further is another shared connection between amateurs
and professionals. Into
the creation of the daily days and into the creation of a piece of art. Where does the one finish and the other start?
 Jean-Luc Nancy: Corpus, diaphanes, Berlin 2003, p.11
 Mary Whitehouse (1911–1979)
created the West Coast Tradition of dance therapy aka "Authentic
 Hakim Bey: T.A.Z. www.hermetic.com/bey/taz_cont.html
 Black Sabbath: Heaven & Hell, 1980
(July 23, 2008)