The beautiful tall ones, Gala Moody and Michael Carter, are finally performing together in Germany. In Wuppertal, as in home of Pina Bausch and Tanztheater Wuppertal, or Wuppi as the locals seem to call it (dunno if that’s a local thing or Aussie local thing. Strayans would probably call it Wuppo.). Trailer on Vimeo, and I’m debating with myself whether to bike some of the way over.
Cie.OFEN is delighted to invite you to the german premier of The Vase, the latest work by Cie.OFEN which premiered at Wim Vandekeybus’ ‘Ulti’mates’ festival in Kortrijk, Belgium.
Based on the theater work Purgutorio by Ariel Dorfman, The Vase shows the clash between Medea and Jason, who are trying to repair a broken love. Condemned to their own reckoning, they find their fates are entwined.
A couple of days ago we were looking at Michael’s website and saw a new video in the progression of One Final Evolutionary Note. Michael and Gala dancing. Two of my favourite people and I love seeing them dance together. Yesterday I chatted with both of them, (and had dinner with Michael’s family, doing the Grande Tour of Europe), so with little else to say, other than I’ve watched it a few times already.
Gala left for Brussels yesterday; Dasniya for Berlin this evening. Me, tomorrow, and Michael to ballet in the morning. The latter three of us went to a café by a fountain on Calle de Argumosa behind Reine Sophia Museum for a breakfast that was more of an early-afternoon snack, and then for a wander into the gardens of Palacio de Cristal, really just for me to see La Fuente del Ángel Caído, the statue of the fallen angel.
He did seem to be appalled by the brilliance of the sky, dear Lucifer. Curious also, the serpent who appears so often at the sites of the fallen, is there, wrapped around his legs. We thought the setting was perhaps too gentle for such tragedy, as though the blue heavens, the warmth, the casual Sunday visitors, the circumference of flower garden gaiety all conspired to render his fall one which only he could appreciate the enormity of. Better were he to be on his plinth in a desolate abode of the park, beneath heavy trees, in the dimness of a graben, where the sadness could leech into the earth.
A few more wanderings for me tomorrow, and then a flight north and east. I’ve become very fond of Madrid in such a short time; certainly made so by the people I’ve spent my days with. I would like very much to return soon.
Today was the last day of us together as the foursome rehearsing. Instead of going into the studio, we arose early – 7am, and caught a bus to Casa de Campo. Many bags, some pastries and other food, a suitcase of ropes, cameras. We made shibari in the dry grass, trees, bushes … For now the photos are for us, not even sorted or made sense of, but some I thought are nice to be here, maybe that find something of the feeling of the day.
Ballet first with Dasniya. In ropes. A pity no pictures of that. Something in the distraction of being tied up while at the barre gave some new freedom. Maybe also the last two weeks of regular class (along with wobble board and free weights in the studio) is starting to have an effect.
Later … I work on something that I think will go in abjection. Perhaps it won’t but I know at least that whatever it is that it becomes, the start was where I found myself. Namely in fondu cou de pied, with arched back until my view was that of the ceiling and my sternum stretched open while arms, fingers, twitched and fluttered.
I decided after yesterday to throw away as many of my habitual ideas as I could as they showed up. Gone for now is years of improvisation technology methods, various other things from other choreographers, theatre directors, others, that I have worked with; gone also any physical habit I see on my body. Gone too for this, is working with other people; it’s just me and solitude. It’s a lot to junk, and of course I’m not possessed with the illusion that some kind of year zero is possible or desirable … necessary, but it seems – if I am starting again – like a good place to start.
It’s curious also, that after all these years of study, choreographing, performing, and my attendant agonies with dancing – as in the regimented physical representation of choreography – I feel I can now dance and it’s for something.
Third day, the middle of the week, only two remaining and Friday already planned with Shibari in the park and later in the afternoon Gala and I dealing with process/unprocess again.
I taught again this morning, and moved from that directly into working on these ideas I’ve been toying with. I found myself a little unsatisfied, and wonder if this is partly because some of these things I’ve been messing around with since I first started making work, and having had a break from making, this return has left me somewhat disinterested in my previous methods. It feels peculiar to abandon them; they are, after all perfectly adequate for making movement, and I could spend decades on them – but it seems more interesting, more useful to do something unknown, to start again. Perhaps it is the obsession with the result that detracts from the experimenting.
No Michael today, so straight to Gala and ropes. These things have a quietly obsessive quality – once they become a thing of interest, they make a habit of turning up. Michael and Dasniya had a long trial, followed by Gala and I, more on the floor though. Some things worked brilliantly, others didn’t. Often it turns out that what really is captivating is neither attempts at movement, nor attempts at rope work, as if both are extraneous to the task.
Dasniya finished, working more on the duo, and also brought in ropes – many ropes. It made sense of what she was doing somehow. Often I think that sets, lights, costumes and other decoration on top of the movement is a disguise and a deceit, hiding the lack within the choreography. I was happily surprised then to see for once that this isn’t always the case, and that something potentially cheap (it looked very close to Spartacus at times, as we were tying), could instead raise the movement to a completely new place.
I’ve been wondering in all this what I want to do in making theatre, or dance. It feels necessary to start again somehow … maybe to try tomorrow.
From where I stay, it is a walk downhill across the south of the centre of Madrid, westwards to the river – I think. This morning I taught yoga. It’s been some time since I last did any, yet almost every night I’ve berated myself for not doing at least a few sun salutes or something.
So we made our sweaty way through something like my standard routine. I like it for the physicality; it requires after a time some muscle pushing to get through, and the rhythm from one pose to another lends an endurance quality. After, I found some free weights, and so decided to even out the imbalance between left and right arms (surely not a single-day task).
Dasniya started, working on a something ballet / something not duo / pas de deux of Gala and Michael. They fit very well together, height, strength, attitude – it makes for dancing that can be eerily in unison. It’s nice for me also to see Dasniya in a studio working with dancers, choreographing. Quite a new thing for me to see with her.
Lunch in the park. Coffee from the machine in the hall.
Michael started after lunch, working first with some things for us to do, whispered to each, causing amusement for him and us, and then me finding myself inserted into the duo he’d been working on with Gala and Dasniya last week. So, I dance.
Gala and I found we partner together quite well somehow, during process/unprocess, and this is carrying over into the days here. Partnering Dasniya – or even dancing with her in any way other than in ballet class – is new, but it also finds a similarity. Perhaps because we are all tall, and have known each other for years.
Which I was thinking, while watching Gala rehearse the other two with a chair, in this vast studio in Madrid – that working with your friends, making art or theatre or dance or whatever you want to call it, is pretty much the best thing one can do.
We ate soup and drank some wine for dinner in a small café delicatessen on the top of the hill at Anton Martin. Tomorrow, I teach again, and work on some more of my things. Friday we plan for shibari and photos in the Casa de Campo.
Already in Madrid three days since arriving Saturday morning and sliding across town on the Metro to walk into Dasniya’s weekend Shibari workshop, Michael and Gala both there also. We four are together this week (and they three last week also) at Compagñia Nacional de Danza de Españia, around 20 minutes walk from here, starting mid-morning and fleeing just before security would kick us out at 19h.
The sky is empty blue, dry and hot like Adelaide. Proper summer, that is.
Tomorrow early I am flying to Madrid. My first time there or in Spain, and yes, one of the reasons I wanted to live in Europe: to go to these countries that are so close to one another. Gala, Dasniya, and Michael have already been there for a week, so I am the tardy one.
This idea to spend time together came out of – well for me anyway – seeing Einstürzende Neubauten a couple of months ago, and thinking of how bands rehearse and work together, and how this makes performance, comparing this with how dance and theatre is made. So we come together in the studios of Compañia Nacional de Danza de España where Michael dances and for some time work on our ideas.
Gala and I will make a short time to return to process/unprocess, and I have some ideas that may eventually fall into either abjection or black metal, (the piece coming from Michel Serres’ Genesis, and something of a ballet). As for the others, I shall try to record bits and pieces as I can to leave scattered here.