you were sitting vis-à-vis of me in the performance Brume de Mer on March 23rd, your place was next to a dance critic, an elderly woman. It seemed to me that because of the dance critic’s behaviour the two of you took on a key role in the flow of the evening.
The dance critic’s disgust was palpable, from the beginning. The two of you, on the other hand, were amused and smiling, you seemed to have a good time. After the long intro in total darkness with drone music and fog (ok, might be a cliché of the Finnish stage, but it was done graciously with the fog coming from above and easing out in horizontal clouds) which I appreciated as a radical dramaturgical choice to lead the audience into the atmosphere of the piece, the five dancers started in a circle singing polyphonic canons. Already at this moment the dance critic covered her ears and did so with even more emphasis, when a dancer, I think it was the one in the yellow jumpsuit, came close to you, and, as luck had it, to her. The obvious reason for organising the audience in two blocks of two rows each is to get the performing body as close as possible to the watching body, isn’t it? I guess you did enjoy this closeness, did you? The dance critic apparently didn’t. She ostentatiously looked away from the dancer, her whole figure was twisted in the opposite direction, in that twist also being turned away from you.
Could it be that your smile was partly addressing the performance and partly a sign of being amused about the defence mechanism next to you? When the dancer in red came, again, as luck had it, to your area, and started to reach out with her leg and foot towards the dance critic, she responded with a decisive no no no and shook her head strongly. She continued shaking her head when, further away from her, all the dancers met again in a circle for singing.
What could have disturbed her that much? The physical material of the piece was based on open hip locomotion, travelling with ease into the upper body, well integrated crafted movement executed by beautiful dancers. On top of the dancing small indecent moments like ticks and twitches, tonguing, eye rolling, hair tearing and salivating appeared. Half of the performance time the light was quite bright, so these little moments could be witnessed fully. What do you think, was it especially the salivating that bothered her the most? Or was it the wicked children’s appeal? Something emotionally challenging must have happened. From my seat on the other side I could not see in detail how the dancer addressed you, but you were smiling and she was furious.
However, it seemed to me that the dancers gained great support from your sympathetic gesture. Yet at the same time I got the impression that they doubled their energetic investment in order to counter the dance critic’s attitude. Because of this extra investment – but this impression may as well have its origin in my deformation professionelle - the choreographic instructions got into the forefront instead of letting the physical landscape unfold as interplay between the ensemble. There could have been even more contamination with indecent material if it had had a chance to sink in. Nevertheless it was a relief to have the two of you balancing out the dance critic’s attitude. Somebody had to do it. You took on the job with grace.
Christine Gaigg is a choreographer, director, dancer, author and the artistic director of 2nd nature. Her most recent work is the 2018 version of Maybe the way you made love twenty years ago is the answer?, a performance essay on the changed framings of the discourse on sexuality, and the sequel Meet, an experimental intimate setting with only a few visitors per performance.
...waves...heartbeat...vibration...I thought we're gonna sink deep...under the light...indeed it
was dark...ish...yet the organ(s) came and lifted me somewhere above the clouds...or was it a
parallel universe? I don't know, I would like to think so...so I do.
I let myself float...I start a journey...with the clouds...above and under...under and into.
I don't think about the bodies...I let the humanwoman voices merge with the vibration in the
(back)ground...thank you for giving me time.
Yet now while I think and write...were they sirens? charlie's angels? ah, fuck it...I go back to
yesterday...I don't need a story.
Round one...tasting...omg tasting.
With the whole of the tongue, with the whole of the face, with the whole of the body...thank you
for giving me time.
Round two...with the whole body...omg.
It's so much...it's obvious...but it needs it...I need it...so much.
I feel sadness, joy, envy, irritation, I feel like I feel with them.
...with the whole of the body...here we go...with all the bodies...oh “hey” my body...oh “hey” my
fellow sitting bodies...
Round three...you are not giving me any space...thank you for giving me time.
I'm getting to know them...really? I don't know, I would like to think so...so I do.
Each tongue, each face, each body, each.
...take me with you on the wings of your stamina, let me sink deeper and don't let me go, push
me with your diaphragm, squeeze me (with your thighs) until I'm cooked and ready to eat.
Alja Ferjan, a dancer, performer, maker from Slovenia, living and working in Austria. Her drive for artistic work is to build on clouds of body-mind awareness, sound, text and to dive deep into the power-game between visual and imaginary. Alja is interested in organization and curation of alternative interdisciplinary events. She is a co-founder of an emerging art association Collective B, based in Vienna.
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