abjection — Rehearsal 2

A night rehearsal yesterday, only because it’s dark at 4 o’clock. It was very nice to be back again so soon, instead of once a week, and with five hours to churn through, which passed surprisingly quick.

I’m definitely out of dance shape, which I accept like having a horrid cough which won’t depart; contra that, the past months of early morning cyclocross has given me a disturbing level of endurance. What used to leave me gasping last year, this time around I just keep going until I run out of ideas (usually around the 6 minute mark). Very convenient.

Music was difficult. I tried Bathory, Abruptum, Mayhem, Gorgoroth, and a few others, and couldn’t find something that really suited. Also I was in the upstairs studio — it has a dance floor, i.e. Tarkett, but not really sprung, just on the wooden floor, as opposed to the first floor studio which has a raised wooden floor of a few centimetres, no Tarkett and is decidedly cushy — much better for knees and ankles, and also somehow visually and acoustically better.

If I was to assign any meaning to my corporeal ditherings, I might say it’s a long exercise in first principles. I’m spending a bit over an hour ‘warming up’ (floor yoga, pseudo-Klein stuff, bits of Lechambre, Greco, Forsythe limb-noodling), which tends to descend directly into ‘improvising’, where I worry at a particular task like rodent upon morsel while videoing it. This is probably the important thing: watching myself looking like I’m trying to learn to dance, and the disjuncture between feeling like I have found the coherent movement path, momentum and so on and looking that. It doesn’t help that the laptop camera records at around 19 frames per second and tends to compensate for anything too energetic by skipping over that part, giving me the appearance of five limbs flailing over there while head is unmoving over elsewhere there. It doesn’t help either that somehow I am dancing with five limbs and immobile head.

Which leads into just head. Six minutes of it, crack, critch, crick, crack, grrrnch, I wonder if I’ve done much with my head in the past while other than use it to point my eyes screen-ward? It’s like an expensive bike with no oil on the chain. Then I notice my everything-below-hips is suffering from a similar malaise, stumbling around as though the idea of ‘ground’ is a suggestion to be ignored.

So I do a bit of headbanging (slow, concentrating on the hair), and other channelling of the goat. I really don’t know what I’m doing.

There are a lot of ideas, and a sense of what it should be and where it should go, which at some point collide up against what I’m capable of, and this dealing with one aspect at a time, first principles, what is a head, how does it move, what happens to my feet when it does (where the fuck has the ground gone?), becoming familiar with destabilisation, so that looking at the world from all possible angles and velocities feels as normal as regarding it front and centre, seems like a good place to start. From this to that though …

I think there is also, to use some controversial words, an authenticity, believability, naturalness, or to use less uncritically regarded words, a coherency in movement that comes from repetition. This is the rehearsal process; it, the movement becomes so, becomes almost inevitable upon watching it in performance as a result of this repetition. But it’s not repetition for the sake of it. There’s something very analytic, almost cold in approaching movement so that it can attain this appearance of transcendence (that is to say, the inevitability implies something ‘more than human’, outside the sphere of the normal).

I really have no idea how to get to that from where it is now, and hoping a little that it will just happen as a result of what I’m doing, somehow coalesce out of the mess.