A couple of weeks ago I decided I’d like to return to regular ballet training, which I haven’t done since I destroyed my knee and achilles. With Dasniya away, I purloined some of her dance floor and ended up buying a David Howard ballet class piano music album, planted my feet beside the window and relearnt pliés, tendus, and all the other tortures of the barre. This, coupled with a lengthy maintenance routine chewed up three or so hours as well as left me sleepy and in need of chocolate – or lamb curry, either or – and caused some rethinking of things.
abjection was stuck with too many ideas and not enough doing of the ideas until it was grotesquely unmanageable. There were so many works it had been and could be, so many notes and possibilities and rewrites and reworkings; it had become its own black hole into which everything could be poured and nothing would emerge (at least on any human timeframe). Ignoring that even, the eternal orbiting around Julia Kristeva and her abjection theory was going nowhere, it’s just not interesting to me in a philosophical way. So, I decided that was enough.
Training in a different way brings to the body this difference, and brings to any work that follows this difference. I’d never done ballet as a preparation for my own rehearsing, and found the strict defining of time, tempo, musicality, brought me to a very different state from a warmup where I’d do what I think I needed. There is a subjugating of self in ballet, in each exercise, it is like a training of speech. The focus now on large, slow, strenuous movement, and now followed by small, accurate, rapid movement causes a particular physiological state that modulates over the time spent at the barre. Respiration and blood change their flow, neuromuscular and endocrine systems adapt and change also. It is an experience of different particular states of endurance and exhaustion.
I begin rehearsing again. A small few ideas remaining I carry over, as with all works one after the other. It is much simpler now, and I don’t need to convince or trick myself into believing it is or should be more. It has a new name also, being a new work. Maybe it will change, but for now it’s called when your last breath frees your soul, I will be there to inhale it.
On Sunday, I showed a little to three friends, just to find out what would be revealed when eyes were watching, and to talk it through a little. It seems to make sense. Tonight, more of the same.