Regular, Active, Personal and Skilful
I feel a certain proximity between myself and the medium of written word. My thoughts and impulses don't have to travel very far before I can give them shape in a series of words and phrases that feel right. It is not much of a struggle to craft these into expressions that do justice to what I'm trying to communicate. My intuition guides my usage of the tools within written language, and I find myself writing emotions without a debilitating self-consciousness. My writing becomes more skilled over time, as I build a cumulative experience with it. Navigating the ups and downs of crafting a piece of writing is satisfying, and I trust the process; I'm comfortable with not knowing how the end result will be. But what I end up writing is always personal and expressive. What I'm describing here, is my practice of writing. But what I want this here to describe, is my practice of dancing.
To dance, as I write; that is the aspiration that drives my practice as a dancer. I want to be able to express myself physically with as much trust, comfort, confidence and command that I am able to do so when I write. There's a long way to go yet, and maybe equating these two mediums is a logical fallacy, but I think there's something to be said about the importance of building and judging a practice rather than the creations that come from it.
One of the reasons that I can continually hone the skill of writing, is that I'm allowed to. I can dip into my notebook whenever and significantly, however I like. I write when I'm sad, I write when I'm elated, I write when I'm confused and I write when I'm in love. My writing has to deal with all of these different states, and adapt to each expression. The writing is often bad, really bad - simply cathartic and indulgent. And sometimes it's cathartic and beautiful. But with each entry or post, I learn something about the craft of writing. And nobody cares - I can do what I like and produce as much bad writing as I want. With dancing however, it's all a lot more complicated.
I don't own the bharatanatyam that I dance - it's something that I was given a share of by my teachers, and something that's gradually been handed over to me bit by bit, sometimes generously, sometimes cautiously. Until I own it, the teacher owns it, and India always owns it. This delicate shared ownership doesn't lend so easily to the experimentation and immersion that I'm looking for in my dance practice. It is with gratefulness then, that I acknowledge the encouragement that our newly formed ReRooted Dance Collective is receiving. We are trying to cultivate an un-policed and discursive learning environment, and all the experiments, bad work and beautiful dancing that comes with it. On April 5th we will be presenting an evening of work at The Bhavan, but will be inviting the audience to engage with our practice rather than our performance. I don't know if we will succeed in doing this, but I do know that I'm learning a huge amount about the medium of bharatanatyam in the process.
I'm pulling my dance practice slightly closer to myself.