We become – with each other or not at all.
– Donna Haraway
You could not be here for PIECES. They are no longer small, as you know them, they are longer, and fuller, and deeper. What the body can do is rarely small. We were all there that night, a mighty gathering of bodies together in a long time, and time had been long indeed and no, we were not like before, out of confined solitude(s), bones heavy, fissured fossils, one could see, in the light, what we had become, heads and shoulders solely, connecting tissues severed, unmoored and undone. But here we all were to see several pieces, of dance, like before, and in this ritual, there was a homecoming, of sorts, and then we all sat down in the dark quietness and we could hear our breath, and in the nowness of that togetherness, we closed our eyes. This is where it starts.
WALK THE EDGE
At the beginning there are two Lees – one in the image and one with us. They are both piecing together pieces. Of a wall. Of a staircase. Perhaps. It is a puzzle of moving parts and one Lee moves the parts and the other one, moves the Lee with the parts and in this mise en abyme, I see us in a cage, and I cringe, but wait, the puzzle may be a staircase, and I quiver. Staircases are promises of an elevated else/where, and there can be hope, and patience, to let it become. And then Lee in the flesh starts moving. An arm dissects the air and the body reverberates gently and it expands into lines and the lines suspend the eye for it to stay, otherwise it may stray and miss the gesture when the elbow curves the line and meets the knee, or perhaps not, and there is a spiral and a swirl, and the breath follows and the finger may caress the floor a gentle touch, will it, no, as the arms expand in a line and the line is the horizon that propels the eye into what could be, there is light and weight, in these linear wings, and we too, are anchored and yet we fly, as we know that something else can be. The brush of the hand summons back the straying mind and gestures dissolve with geometrical grace and time flows sinuously and then I think of Trisha, ‘dancing on the edge is the only place to be’, she said, did you know, and I am thinking Lee is walking us on a soft edge from the corners of the room up the staircase and onto the roof and with what majestic grace has he paced us, out in the sky and our fissures let in the light and it feels okay, and we quieten, this is what the still edge of a soft dance does.
AND DO YOU SEE…
And then, here come Michelle and Caroline, but you really can’t tell for they are Sharyn and Dana, they look like Lynch-ean Kath and Kim and they’re there to sell you serious stuff that you cannot see, the projection screen is blank but yes, don’t stare blankly, have another look, it’s there, can’t you see, let us add some haze, surely you like smoke and mirrors, and now forget about the now, the future is better, you can’t see it but it’s worth investing in, “the main thing is to use your eyes” the soundtrack says, it’s all about the colour can you see it, and you see the shiny shoes and that is something concrete, oh just go with the spectacle, risk it, isn’t it how it (always) goes. And I want the shoes, I hope this is what they are selling, I mean, 6 lockdowns to contemplate the already there but why not more, and you think now, this is cruel optimism, when something you desire is actually an obstacle to your flourishing, yes but that was pre-COVID, and don’t we know a thing or two now about optimistic cruelty? Nothing stands like before, nothing stands any more anyway, we now know, and as if on cue, the screen shrinks in and the bodies crawl inwardly, “let’s start with the sky”, yes, yes, what we see and what we could see, there is a difference, and also the question, always important to look for the right question, but we are just dicing with the things we love and we risk so little and oh, we still don’t know that what we risk is what we value. And here we are, with these zany women, sinuously unhinged, and their authoritative rulers morph into Don Quixotte-an spears, run your hand down and it may bleed, and the melancholic pace turns into beats and spears turn into lines, and then Michelle starts to dance and there are no windmills just movements like delicious wind and the spears become frames and anchors, we see now, this dance now here, for us and with us, this, this has value, of a different kind, of an invaluable kind…it is live and yes, we are a/live, we had forgotten, for this is what a dance does, always. This is what we (must) see.
WE ARE HOT COMPOST PILES
And last, here they come, joyously wild in Andrew’s detoured wacky unitards, and the space is flooded with mischief and the heart expands as their rubber bands extend, and it is (a) play yet you can only move forward if the other holds you, and you can only dare if the other has your back, I cannot spin if you do not spin with me, and here come the musicians, and there is more joy, live music and live dance, what a long wait for this kind of play, and the dancing and the music become one, and in these configurations, motion is elastic and with you, we are ready to climb mountains, never mind their frills, never mind the (lack of) structures, we are held by the (s)core of this play-ing, and in structure there can be sadness and in the vacuous, there can be solace, and as the bass player fiddles with the strings, of our souls too, we see the motion of these relations, we are grounded by their gravity as one is (of) an/other and together, there is no other, it is making oddkin, like Donna says, “we require each other in unexpected collaborations and combinations, in hot compost piles. We become - with each other or not at all.”
We become with each other or not at all and it is so that these pieces piece us back together, our fissures and our senses, for a moment, and we become (fulsome) again and I hold my breath and I do not want all this to end. This is what dancerness does. This is what you missed. This is what we have all missed. This, you know.
Loosely referencing and deeply inspired by Donna Haraway, Trisha Brown, Lauren Berlant, Jeannette Winterson, Becky Hilton.