Today I would like to spend a bit of time circling around dancing. Sometimes the word dancing is used in conversations metaphorically. To emphasise the mutual engagement of both partners and point out to the flowing nature of the interaction. Things are dancing with each other, creating together, merging, reacting and playing. There is so much to dance that can be expanded to stretch the metaphor, there is tension, control, leading and being led, rhythm, music, rules, dynamics, etc. I noticed that in the past when I would encounter dancing I would always want it to become a movement. I preferred to move then to dance. But I feel that this has shifted for me in the past few days.
Movement is less constrained than the dance. The only constrains a movement has is its own physical limitations. A simple example is the body - it can’t move in the ways it can’t move. But within its own framework it is free to move. And this framework differs from individual to individual. So there is not really one general set of constraints that applies to everyone. Looking at movement more generally, removing the limitations of the body out of the equation, it is free, undirected, unpredictable, undefined. Nothing strange that I was drawn to it. There is no reference point in the moment, expect from moment to moment, reconstructing the past. We can think of it as being formless and abstract. The thing is that due to the nature of movement and its nebulosity it brings some complications when it has to be shared. In the movement we move in our own desired way.
When the movement becomes mutual, then we are starting to dance. By mutual I don’t mean with another person but a moment in relation to anything else. The participation in dance is important, it is an active engagement that requires learning and mastering a skill. When we dance we are not only responsible for our own movement but also for the movements of the other. And this feels scary sometime. There is risk involved in dancing, we can make a fool of ourselves, and we definitely will. Nobody can dance beautifully when we first start to flow together. We need to build trust and have the communication in tact. And all of this sounds like work, improvement and vulnerability that comes with it. Of course movement is so much more fun. But perhaps to move graciously first we need to learn how to dance. Dancing requires patterns and retractions these are shared rules that demarcate the area to fill in. What I was feeling as resistance towards dance, wanting to lose its constraints and get lost in movement, perhaps was out of fear. Fear to not know how to dance in a way that my individual movement is not taken away from me. I think the desire and alertness to lose my authenticity sometimes didn’t allow me to move beyond safe space. Paradoxically limiting the options and constraining me even more.
This morning, it occurred to me that this resistance is not there any more. Movement has settled in a dance. This shift feels important. Interestingly, since recently I have been dancing a lot, like really a lot. I wonder if there is a correlation between me internally sorting out the dance-movement relationship and my physical urge to dance that was noticeably manifesting itself in the past few months. Like my body knew all along that movement without a dance in not complete. We need the pattern to be nebulous. And once we learn that there are so many different dances to discover, the fears to be restricted fade away. I do have a fear of patterns and restrictions, maybe due to particular events in my life when I became sensitive towards it. My practice was always focused around breaking, disrupting, deconstructing etc. I feel I am growing out of this unproductive dichotomy, defining myself through an opposition doesn’t seem relevant at this point. Learning the skill, engaging with the environment, creating with others and being honest is a better lens to have to build my practice.
Looking at the movement separate from dance, and having a preference to one or the other seems rather shortsighted and arrogant. Marrying movement and dance feels like opening up possibilities to learn and master the skill. Wild energies of movement coming together with the patterns of a dance.