I’m quiet now body please speak to me

18 Sep

 

Dance speaks through a different language than words. It speaks profoundly about relationships, love, joy, solitude, doubt, life, death and mourning. Just to name a few of its possibilities. But, much more than in the other arts, its language is physical effort.

I saw a performance of “(im)possible” at Dansens hus yesterday here in Oslo. One of the things that touched me the most was when the music fell silent and we heard the pair of dancers sitting still beside each other breathing heavily. That wasn’t simulation. Behind the wall of ideas that separate us, breath is what we share. Which, one day, will certainly pull us apart.

I am good at formal analysis. Even works that are dissonant and disparate I will break down into symbols, motifs, contrasts and thereby meaning. My brain does that automatically, even compulsively. But it feels like a sterile, academic, finally circular exercise.

In the end I enjoy dance for the same reasons I like to watch skiing. This body here, my body, your body all move and suffer alike. No need to search for further meaning. The body is at the origin of every important idea. For me that is the most satisfying conclusion. One confirmed by my experience that there’s nothing profound that can’t be expressed by the language of dance.

Update:  I’ve just come back from a panel debate in which the Choreographer of “(im)possible”, Ina Christel Johannessen, took part. The question was precisely about what can dance express. There was a consensus among the panel members that dance isn’t an instrument for debate or for supporting a specific political platform. I agree, but that doesn’t diminish the importance of dance to me. The more I get wrapped up in my body, the more I grow sceptical about ideas.

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