Good morning blog world.
It’s said to be 21 degrees (Celsius) today, so I’m off to a good start – spring is coming!
Apologies for the long hiatus, I haven’t forgotten you. These last six months have been one amazing adventure and until I had two feet back in the same country I couldn’t formulate enough words to reconnect. But I’m back – in Australia that is – and I’ve hit the ground running. Already I’ve been to two shows, one dance film (Virtuosi) and I’ve managed to get my butt off to the gym five days a week (yay for motivation!).
You’re going to hear all about it as I can recall it over time – to write things in order may be a little difficult at first, but why not just jump on the roller-coaster with me?
February was the wind up to my time in London. I was sad to go in the end – things were just beginning to flourish; my teaching workshops had the potential for new opportunities, Quicksilver was to perform at the Southbank Centre, and CDF had gained enough funding for their next festival… but, as time would have it, while these things had the potential to take off somewhere, my visa did not. But you know what? It’s funny how the world works, and how life often leads us to where we need to be at a given time. Australia was calling, and I was in fact, happy to go home.
But I wasn’t home for long.
India. Crazy, intense, intrepid, India.
I’ve already romanced it in retrospect, but my time there was adventurous, disastrous and unforgettable. Such a clash of ideas, cultures. I re-read Eat, Pray, Love out of curiosity when I happened on it in a second hand bookstore in Rishikesh, and it wasn’t until I was reading it, in one of the countries it’s set, that I realized how much of India she just didn’t see (coincidentally the book turned out to be the best pillow I could muster on sleeper carriages for overnight trains). From white water rafting down the Himalayan end of the Ganges, to trekking into Nepal, the biggest task was possibly fighting my body, slugging it through the heat, tummy bugs and chest infections all included.
Still, there’s such colour and vibrancy. My boyfriend warned this would happen – that time would close the chasm in my head and good things would outweigh the discomforts. I haven’t forgotten the staring, the hassling, or the bargaining. I haven’t forgotten the yelling, the anger, the insensitivity, but I also remember the couples we met along the way, the unforgettable sights (no matter how much it was talked up, the Taj Mahal still completely blew my socks off), the colours, smiles, and the smells.
Now because this is the blog of a dancer I can tell you that my body changed. I became so disassociated with it; I couldn’t read it any more. I was blinded to what it needed, and I was too caught up in my head to try. Performing yoga on a rooftop near the mountains felt mechanical, trekking was all in my head. My body was pumped with so many antibiotics that that it was possibly half chemical most of the time. I was the closest I may ever get to the bionic woman. This disassociation was not disastrous, but it was worth observing. Could I ever be a dancer in a county like this, where I cannot even read myself. Would I adapt? Are the huge differences between Bollywood and Contemporary SO different only due to culture, or is there a lot of climate thrown in there as well?
After five weeks there, I was ready to head to Germany – back to Europe where I was to enter into a PORCH residency in Stolzenhagen, within a beautiful community called Ponderosa.
It was cultural whiplash; from the intense and in-your-face India to the calming space of an environmentally sustainable farm. PORCH covers three one-month modules in this location, I was there for the first: Training and Improvisation. You’re going to hear a lot more about the things I did over the course of that month later on, I’m still processing it really, but it was a very humbling experience. One month in virtual isolation from my your world, and pushed right up against seventeen other virtual strangers truly mirrors yourself back at you.
Cracking open old and dusty dance habits, connecting to an energetically more sustainable way of moving and becoming comfortable with improvisation and contact improvisation were all part of the experiential package. Led by the lovely Stephanie Mayer and Katherine Hermedorf I had such an amazing time here. It’s surreal, existing in it’s own little bubble, yet it has informed and shaped my practice in a way I’m still excited to explore.
And finally, at the end of it all, there was family time. I long awaited and much needed re-connection with my family. I met the new members, chatted with the old and had heart-expanding quality space and time to shape myself again into who I am around the people I love most.
(yep, that’s me in the kayak at the front with my sister… we paddled 23km that day…)
That leads me to here. Back in Melbourne, looking for work, looking at work and excited to engage with what had previously been my home for six years. It’s been a long post today, but I hope you feel a little bit more brought up to speed, I know I do!
Anyone else been to India? Or participated in PORCH at Ponderosa, Germany? I’d love to hear about your experiences!