Tag Archives: perso

Alive and cold

3 Feb

Sorry bloggy-blog. I’ve been neglecting you lately. But rest assured I’m alive. And cold. When you’re cold you feel alive! And happy.

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.

Out from the forest

14 Sep

 

I have come out from self-imposed exile in the forest. I’ve been stepping beyond the little summer territory I traced out between Korsvoll, Skar, Grefsenkollen and work. Now downtown, bars, restaurants, culture too.

I’ve been out in the forest because I needed it. Viscerally. I needed to feel strong. On a long term basis, not just ups and downs. This had to be a month-by-month, year-by-year process. That was the only way I would be profoundly convinced.

And now there are a lot of surprised people around me. I know it doesn’t feel good. I’m sorry about that. But when I come to a hill, I throw everything into it. Poles and muscles flex, legs push. Momentum instead of hesitation. I keep my head down and my body high.

Just like that I’ve confronted head-on in the past two months things that were holding me back.

I know that people around me have been hurt. I’ve broken rollerskis while climbing. But these changes have made a difference in the way a lot of people perceive me. Without me having to say a word to them. And, indeed, they’ve changed the way I see others.

I’m starting to live in this city I approached so timidly before from the edge.

Jeg har det mye bedre nå. Du kommer til å se det.

Jeg bor i Oslo.

In the beginning was chance

30 Aug

In the beginning was chance,
and chance created the heavens,
the earth and all that is.

Without chance, free will is an illusion.
All our actions would merely be
part of a thread of predetermined events
unwinding from the beginning.

Without chance there can be no
goodness or badness.
The world could only be, quite indifferently,
the best of all possible worlds.

Without chance there is no love.
Just responses to chemical signals.

Without chance life would not be worth living.
Chance is meaning itself.

I throw myself to chance,
to that infinite grace that
slips between the wakes of days.

Au commencement était le hasard,
et le hasard créa les cieux,
la terre et tout l’existant.

Sans le hasard, la volonté libre est illusoire.
Tous nos actes s’inscriraient dans
un fil des évènements déterminés dès le début.

Sans le hasard ni le bon ni le mal n’existent plus.
Le monde ne serait, de manière complètement indifférent,
que le meilleur des mondes possibles.

Sans le hasard, point d’amour.
Simple réponses aux signaux chimiques.

Sans le hasard la vie n’aurait pas de sens.
Le hasard est le sens même.

Je me livre au hasard,
à cette grâce infinie
qui fuit par les interstices des jours.

Eh bien dansez maintenant

27 Aug

Always a balance to strike. Between dreams and lucidity. Between fighting for something and letting go. Between today and tomorrow, work and play, effort and rest. Youth and experience. Confidence and humility. Pain and pleasure. Reason and folly. Force and lightness. Commitment and plan B.

I am a bundle of meat and dreams: muscle shaped by dreams, dreams stirred by a body in motion. Inanimate objects, have you no soul? All the more so beautiful, breathing, laughing flesh:

The curious sympathy one feels when feeling with the hand the naked meat of the body,
The circling rivers the breath, and breathing it in and out,
The beauty of the waist, and thence of the hips, and thence downward toward the knees,
The thin red jellies within you or within me, the bones and the marrow in the bones,
The exquisite realization of health;
O I say these are not the parts and poems of the body only, but of the soul,
O I say now these are the soul!

Walt Whitman,  I Sing the Body Electric

I screamed ‘alive’

4 Aug

I was mostly alone in Maridalen. There a funny urge  suddenly came upon me. I was struck by how good it felt to move while working hard in spite of the pain. I yelled ‘alive’ and was held aloft by those two syllables.

Maybe it was in reaction to the dark events of July 22nd.

Or maybe it was the enchanted mirror breaking. The one that whenever I looked in a real mirror so often caused me to recoil back in positive surprise.

Martin Luther said man was devil’s shit. As a young boy some part of me internalized that view.  But the past 14 months the spell has been losing sway. Probably because I’ve been doing the absolute wrong thing and becoming kropsfiksert / body-focused.

Metaphysical vileness doesn’t jive well with fleshly reality. So it’s dawning on me that I am made of nothing but the usual stuff: muscle, sweat, blood, skin, cartilage and bone.

Life knows no contempt for life. That’s the work of ideas. Stop thinking. Move. Be happy.


The love of summer

31 Jul

In spite of the views to the contrary I’ve expressed here, summer is not the enemy. I take everything back I said about it being the all too easy to love season, preferred by shallow people.

No summer must be earned too. While in France I saw a documentary on Vivaldi where the presenter, Stéphane Bern, explained why the final “summer” movement of the Four Seasons is the darkest of the lot. In the heat of Venice, summer meant suffering.

Here too, the sun beats down, it’s hot and humid, hungry bugs attack all exposed flesh and the evenings tend to explode into frighteningly intense electrical storms.

Because I heard distant rumblings of thunder, I headed out for today’s rollerski training right in the heat of noon.

When it’s so warm the body is relaxed, fluid and easy to move. It comes naturally to go hard because nature’s hot pulsing intensity rhymes with the feeling of life churning through your veins.

If spring makes one think of birth and childhood innocence, then summer is season when the body ripens into its vital maturity. Some of the best TV I’ve ever seen was a broadcast of the ballet choreographer Jo Strømgren wrote to accompany the Four Seasons:

(Image: nrk.no)

His summer is hot, out of control and vibrating with an excess of energy. The crescendo is a sea of sexy, lightly-clothed, well-muscled bodies writhing frenetically as a bullfighter gets run over by a rampaging lawnmower.

Out today rollerskiing the heat and the distant thunder brought the whole scene back to my mind. Mine is dangerous sport, made violent by the hard impact of metal pole tips on the asphalt. There, wearing little and feeling alive in a hot sweaty body with power to burn, the scene from the ballet made perfect sense.

Alive, alive. Don’t hurry the days on by anticipating others. Stop, pluck the peach warm from the tree. Savour it. Let the sticky juices run down your chin and wrist. The snow I so desperately want will now be here all too soon:

THROUGH winter-time we call on spring,
And through the spring on summer call,
And when abounding hedges ring
Declare that winter’s best of all;
And after that there s nothing good
Because the spring-time has not come –
Nor know that what disturbs our blood
Is but its longing for the tomb.

(W.B. Yeats, “The Wheel”).