What did i learn 1

Again, a long time has past and i haven’t published a single post on my blog. So why do i have one? I started thinking, and i still have this thought in my mind, that maybe blogging is not for me. But now two things connected in my mind and gave me a new motivation to write. We will see how long this motivation lasts.

The first thing was Lilo’s suggestion to us (the first year students at TIP) that we try to write down once a week what we have learnt. It can be anything, even very smal and maybe not-so-important discoveries, but the main thing is to reflect over a hole week of school attendance and try to “catch” what one has actually learnt.

The second thing was the name of my blog, “Prosum” which i chose because it is a word in Latin that means “to be useful, to do good”. So hopefully by starting (and maintaining) this thread of weekly thoughts about my own learning, i can be useful first of all to myself, and maybe even to others.

So what have i learnt this week?

Mmm…

This requires some thinking.

This week i bought a new notebook, since the last one was finished and i couldn’t write any notes after class. The two days that went by until i got the new notebook and could write again made me realise how important it is to keep the habit of writing. I guess that’s one thing i’ve learnt this week.

And on a more physical level…

We were doing an improvisation where a group of people has to move every time a count is being called out (1,2,3… until 10). Every one of those “moves” is spontanious, improvised and lasts as long as the teacher (Lilo) decides, until she says “stop”. Then the whole sequence of movement has to be repeated. The different sequences (1,2,3…) are put together until in the end there is one “set improvisation” or “improvised choreography” that is made of 10 sequences of movement, different sequences for every one in the group.

There are many challenges in this excercise – first of all how to move in a way that is more or less free, not letting the pressure of having to remember the sequence slow you down or constrain you movement. On the other hand – how do you remember your own movements? Also, how do you manage this in space – a group of people sharing the space, crossing each other’s paths… of course it works the first time you do every sequence but the problems start when you try to repeat it…

As we were repeating it again and again to figure out our own movements and how they fit with the others’ i felt my sweat running like a river and i felt my lungs and my whole body screaming for more oxigen. Still i went on. Two things were new to me in this situation – one was the feeling that the more out of breath i was, the more my movement became true and the more it increased in some way. I felt i was diving into my movement and letting it evolve to allow me to keep going. The second thing was that even though i was gasping and sweating and generally feeling miserable, i kept going for more and more. Not because someone was yelling at me to do it or anything like that, but because i wanted to. This i still don’t quite understand. How can we feel this physical effort and a kind of joy at the same time?

Dangerous fumes

Dangerous, even poisonous fumes rise from the recently painted surface of the table i found on the street and gave it a makeover. I am breathing them in, feeling the smell and also a strange taste in my mouth. I am not sure that this is a piece of furtinure i want to have in my room, next to my bed, but the sensation of the small white invisible particles entering my respiratory system keeps my mind off another disturbing problem, the gathering of liquid under my knee, or to be exact over the anterior (=front) proximal (=upper) end of my right tibia (shin bone).

This problem, which today i learnt is also called Bursitis, has been bothering me a lot since it appeared a few days ago. Or actually what has been bothering me is not knowing how to act and what to do to not make the problem worse. Probably many people out there have had similar problems in the knee or any other joint. In my case there is no inflamation, only a gathering of liquids in the bursae that pads the tendon below the knee. I also don’t have any pain. And for the past two days i have been treating it as the doctor told me (!), putting quaark (a kind of white cheese) wrapped in a towel over the area. And now a new week of dancing is about to start, with two teachers that i would very much like to learn from. So… should i start moving carefully? Not move at all for another few days? In that case, how many days?

I think what i have learned so far from this injury is that there is no point in time when you can think “now it’s gone. i can start training again.” I think every injury can teach you something about how you should and shouldn’t use your body. And i think i didn’t have this sense of responsibility when i started training again last monday, which was when the swelling appeared. I think i neglected that responsibility and assumed that the rest i had had until then was enough. Now i know more about what i shouldn’t do and i understand what a huge responsibility it is, to always have at least one or two brain cells that in every moment feel the knee, its position, tonus, direction, movement, the pressure on it…

Up up up

“Up up up” was where i wanted to go. I didn’t know why and didn’t know the way to get there but somehow it felt good to have some goal. It also felt good to have a goal that was different from those my two companions, which made us separate and split in three different directions. Already after a few steps (maybe after 20 or 30 steps) i could feel that this was really what i wanted. To walk, alone, in my own pace, noticing as much as i want to notice, keeping the pace that feels right for me – not too fast to be able to see the forest but not too slow so that the walking becomes tiring. I kept a pace that kept my heart in a steady rythm of powerful pumping. I felt more alive, less holy and harmonious and yet in a more true relation with the woods. Some images came to me, of dancing or acting a grotesque act of love making to the point of orgasm with the forest. Taking my longing to be close to nature, or in the nature, and streching it to the point when it is too much, and i have to ask myself what is it that i am longing for. But, i am sure it has all been done before…
On the top of the mountain i couldn’t tell if my breathing and my puls were the result of the physical exertion or the result of my excitement to finally reach the top. Once i was there, i could see hills, mountains, a valley and a city in it and the sky. I knew i had some food in my bag but i felt no hunger.
The way down was beautiful. It was also on the way down that i started to glorify “my sadness”, as i like to call it. “I have this sadness in me” i was telling to the trees to my right and left “and it’s not a part of anything good, it’s just something dark, something sad”. Lucky me, the trees did not put on an understanding and empathic expression and nodded their heads but instead just kept shedding their leaves. Maybe this helped me to realise that i am not only bothered by other people’s difficulty to face this “sadness” and see it as it is, but i am also bothered by my own relation to this part of me. Suddenly Claudia’s words came back to me, or not exactly her words but the spirit of her words. You can experience sadness without being the sadness. you are not what you are feeling. You can witness whatever it is you are feeling and see it and the effect it has on you. So maybe as i am already aware of this darker part of me, maybe i can study it for a while. Notice when it comes, how long it stays, what do i do then and how do i perceive myself.
The autumn is beautiful !

It’s only a performance

This is not a critique. I don’t consider myself a critic when i come to watch a dance performance. And when i try to write something out of a critic’s mind i stop seeing the thing i want to write about and instead i only see my own thoughts and words. “it’s only a rehearsal” is the name of a dance peace choreographed by Ina Christel Johannesen and performed by Line Tørmoen and Dimitri Jourde from the Norwegian Zero Visibility Corp.

Some time while watching the performance tonight i remember myself thinking how important it is to have dancers because they can show us what we can do with our bodies. One way in which dancers do this is to show movement that is fascinating because it’s fast, accurate, organic etc… This is done in the most beautiful way in “it’s only a rehearsal”. But i guess that more than just the movement possibilities the dancer can also show us how reading the body and the movement of another person touches us so effectively. Maybe you are sitting in the audience and are enjoying what you are seeing or maybe you interperet the dancer’s movements as expressing some emotion. And maybe at the same time your body, your nerves, your muscles and tendons and ligaments and bones take this information and store some part of it for future reference. The dancer is a person, just like you, and so he or she can tell you something about you. Even if our bullshit culture makes you forget this, your body knows it because your body is (mostly) not cultural.

Now, a bit surprised and pleased by these thoughts that came to me while writing, i feel that the dancers Line and Dimitri gave me and everybody in the audience tonight a gift, engaging every cell in their bodies to communicate with all of the bodies sitting in the audience, and whisper to them something no one of us can hear, something from a long time ago.

Zero Visibility Corp.

Make a note: i have arms

I have them, so what happens to them? Why do they sometimes stay so passive as if my blood doesn’t flow all the way to my fingers? There is a difference between a stretched and a loose arm. That’s pretty obvious and i think i know it, so why can’t i also integrate it in my movement? Is there a difference between when i am performing and when i am not? Do i forget these things once i stand in front of an audience or am i just not able to sense the tonus and form of some parts of my body, especially my arms? It’s all a bit frustrating on one hand, on the other hand now i know i (still) have something to work on.

I have arms!

What an exciting discovery. Have you ever asked yourself how do you use your arms? What do you do with them? Do you pull yourself forward? Pull things to you? Do you stretch them? tense them? let them hang to the sides of your body? Are they making you heavier or do they carry you forward? Or both? If nobody has ever told you, then i am happy to do it: Your arms are yours! Both of them! You can do with them whatever you want. When you walk, stand, dance… Try it: shake them, throw them, throw yourself with them, stretch them and follow them as long as you can, spiral with them and see where they take you, let them hang and move and see how it feels.

[Thoughts after Bettina’s class, at bewegungs-art]

Can people change?

I don’t know why it came into my mind right now. I just recall some conversation a long time ago where the main topic was whether people can change or not. I remember someone (i think it was a woman or a girl) had a strong opinion about this, namely that people can not change. Maybe this conversation was in some movie that i watched? Of course i am thinking: this probably comes into my mind because i am asking myself if i can change. But on second thought i think i am not really asking myself whether i can change but rather i observe myself changing and i am trying to take a stand regarding to this observation. How should i feel about this? Can i believe and accept this obvservation and even share this with other people? Or is my mind playing tricks on me and do i fall into my own trap when i tell myself that i have changed?

But it really seems to me quite limiting to think that people cannot change. No matter what the “answer” to this question is, i think it’s more useful to believe that change is possible. I guess also the question one has to ask is what is change? If someone has some pattern that they are stuck with for their whole life, can there still be a change even if this pattern never stops? An insight is a change, isn’t it? Becoming aware of something opens some possibilities: perhaps the possibility of choice – doing something or not doing it, and if not then maybe other possibilities, like realising your own actions and their consequences…Europapa

Catch

Time to bring back some life to my undernourished blog…

I am here in Freiburg, and so is autumn. Even if the colors are not quite here yet and the leaves still think they can stay hanging on their trees forever, it’s here. Herbst in German, like harvest. And the generosity of nature is felt everywhere. Apples, plums, pears, berries, nuts and flowers.

Here is today’s catch:

Pears and apples
Pears and apples

HHHHooooot

It’s hot in Eilat. Very hot. But Eilat has a natural built in cooling device called the Red Sea. As long as you have the Red Sea within a few meters distance and you can go in as often as you like, life in Eilat can be very pleasant. Important things in Eilat are: a bottle of water, a hat, sunscrean, sunglasses, comfortable sandals or light sheos. Things to leave at home when coming to Eilat are jeans, socks, plans and stress.

Smell of cigarettes

Yesterday i finished reeding David Grossmans novel (i will have to return another time to write the title in English…) in hebrew it’s:

שתהיי לי הסכין

I was wondering if i was doing it right, i mean finishing a book. It feels like this event should be marked somehow. you cannot finish reading a book and then just go on with your normal every day activities. But that’s just what i did. And since i was thinking that i am not doing it right, i was trying to reflect about this book, about how it ended, how it fulfilled my expectations or not but every time i tried to reflect about it i found myself again reflecting about myself and my plans and my life but not about the book. Maybe i was just not drawn to reflect about this specific ending and this specific book. Maybe i do better reflecting on other books.

I liked Grossmans writing. And i am very curious about how this book was written. Two people writing letters to each other… did Grossman write one letter after another? And in what order? Did he imagine writing them or receiving them? Are there more letters that weren’t finally included in the novel? Did he visit the places he was writing about? Did  he really take a break from writing when this break was a part of the letter? Yeah… would be nice to know!

It seems like all the internet cafees in Stuttgart smell of cigarettes. So i have to leave. Three more weeks here in Stuttgart and then a short visit to Freiburg and then Israel…