Subjective Reflections on Rosalind Crisp Practises of Disarmament
by Anushiye Yarnell
(When we enter a workshop or performance we already carry so much with us, which shapes and resonates perpetually in how we feel, sense, think witness… and determines what we take away.)
Workshop: Choreographic Improvisation
Possibly I enter each workshop dressed in degrees of resistance and estimated angles of surrender,
I guess… definitely un-definitive desires. Desires secretly aflame stashed as best I can for another occasion.
The geometry of these desires has been formed by my habitats of dancing, which have since childhood most predominately been solitary experiences, practices and investigations. Flickering into dancing nights out and occasional classes or workshops.
(Working under or up to a choreographer or even a teacher never quite seems to fit.) The implicit-explicit hierarchies and structures involved in the process of ‘becoming a dancer’ contrast significantly with those of other art forms.
My tendency seems to ‘dip in’ intermittently to social sites of contemporary dance seeking conversations, connections with other dancing bodies- sources of reorientation rather than reproduction.
There is a lot I keep stashed under wraps in a workshop situation.
That I edit out of my dancing in order to be there.
Perhaps everyone there does.
How thread bear can the fleshy garments we wear between life and dance?
I continue to find it distracting being in a room full of dancers ‘doing moves’ -moves which have been shaped by the aesthetics and conduct of contemporary dance class. There is a strong determinative current in the room- in some ways experienced as an opportunist ‘expansive’ and fertile energy- yet also subliminally restrictive, prescriptive and within determining stylistic spectrums. Ever-present (even in absence) is the omniscient all-knowing mirror in the roomin the held faces.
Sprayed on songs counted in 8.
An inheritance of aesthetics and ideologies.
As such dance classes and workshops are also a site of renouncement. Resonance and Dissonance have been as much a part of my dance quests and navigations as my desires.
Expectations, prejudices, disappointments, preconceptions. These ebb and flow, merge and submerge, comforts and discomforts, hopes barriers, openings, shields. Somehow I wear them all… as in the misspelling the 2nd hand blue sweater I am wearing as I write this….
Love and Conflict co-inhabit as Survival in the way i wear and experience my body- in dance and life.
My anti Ideologies include paradox and contradiction, which resonate harmonically with dissonance and self undoing. Everyone has their rules and regulations…to apprehend…however morphic, unrecognisable, displaced from the establishment /status quo.
There is a welcome greeting from Rosalind which extends somehow as a climate, an atmosphere into the first actions of the day.
She is throw away with her words and tasks…as if shooting a tin can with exactitude and disarming laughter. Sending things flying in disarray… arriving with a perturbingly exacting landing. I believe in the moment I shall remember everything she says… yet never seem to.
We are invited to wear in-depth, the fleshy gestures we enact as we ‘Warm UP’. Somehow there is a dressing and undressing from our needs- practical, physical, emotional. Which elements do we self-consciously edit out or adjust in this social situation?
A few years ago I stripped away Warming UP.
It had always been a synthetic add on. Easy to let go of…and almost made necessary by life’s constraints.
Anyway my real desire was always to begin by dancing without expectation. Perhaps what I identified as ‘warming up’…has been historically identified by what I am not ready, or not yet good enough for. If any thing I ‘warm down’ – a practical apparatus to be able to carry my dance back into my life- patterns and constructs of my body in day to day survival. A kind of savoury dessert. An elixir of the ordinary.
It is a chorus somehow strangely echoes …down the line from Deborah Hay…. “Getting What You Need”
Not here or now this morning… yet somehow it echoes of its own accord.
When this incantation first resounded in my radar I had to undress it from associations of affirmation. It seems to fit easy when I recognise “what I need” as a cellular unidentifiable, morphic, surprising and self unravelling experience. What I need as a question, rather than an acquisition. An invitation, direction or gesture of departure as well as arrival.
Somehow Rosalind offered Warming UP as question…. an invitation to reconfigure ‘needs’…moving within easy to reach field of movement.
Perhaps if I rechristen Warming UP as acclimatising. “Warming UP” could feel like an invitation to include very practical and ordinary elements of my everyday body- needs, fears and desires.
Warming UP deciphers beginnings and endings, invitations, expectations to tuning into tuning out of.
Rosalind describes a musical scale as a metaphor for Warming Up.
A series of portals to experience aspects of feeling and being which appear and disappear.
Warming Up those vital aspects of ourselves, dormant, or attired in getting through life, which can dishabille dancing?
I am aware of how I am tethered by by my own discreetly oppositional anti establishment ideologies…which have their own restrictions within civilised systems.
Rosalind speaks of “Shedding” through the day. Somehow this Act of Shedding has been the only way anything has ever formed, accumulated, been generated, or encompassed in my the habitat of my dance.
There is a freedom and exactitude to “Shedding”.
She rechristens Warming UP as Noticing.
Like orphaning and rechristening a child of the establishment as an illegitimate out of wedlock love child…tuning the harmonics and melodics of the …the exchanging interface between life body and dancing body.
*Orienting includes of Disorientating and Reorienting.*
Rosalind lightly describes years of being in the studio alone. And her fidelity to “Just One Thing”at a time …as a Practice. “Practice” is another word I have orphaned, adopted and rechristened as a Habitat. After all I always try to untether activities from Justifications. In a world where justice can only be a fleeting or temporal accommodation.
The End of the World?
…Should it be a question any longer?
…So many worlds are ending.
…Yet the world is not a Mono-theistic Being. (Even if that is translated into modern silhouette of Atheism or sacrificial altar of Scientific Progress and Salvation. )
…Beyond my fingertips yes but not the nerve endings of my the reality of my imagination.
…Extinction still seems somehow out of reach…like the aspirational vote…on the top shelf of the corner shop.
…No-one ever shops there anymore.
…Warming Up as a mammalian being flickering through other forms of alien earthly life? …Shedding humanity as a destination.
Perceptually many worlds not one?
“Whoever says salvation exists is a slave, because he keeps weighing each of his and deeds in every moment.’Will I be saved or damned he tremblingly asks…Salvation means deliverance from all saviours…the perfect saviour …who shall deliver mankind from Salvation”
John Gray STRAW DOGS
Possibly sometime ago I would have felt a sense of inadequacy in attempting to commit to Rosalind’s “ Just one Thing.” .
Now I seem to realise I have a tendency towards the inside out.
(My mother who is incredibly superstitious insists its unlucky to change your clothes if you put them on inside out…lately she seems to have extended this in recent years to back to front scenarios.) She is suddenly older.
….I start with a myriad of unnamed constellations and something strangely specific and singular seems to crystallise amongst the sensations.
Rosalind seems to start with some singular, visceral, displacing devotional action-distilling an undefinable, multiplicity of sensation. Somehow her work reconfigures the relationship between the dancers nervous and reflexive systems.
“For polytheists, religion is a matter of practice not belief: and there are many kinds of practice…. Polytheism is too delicate a way of thinking for modern minds.”
John Gray. STRAW DOGS.
In Rosalind’s practice duality and multiplicity to experientially unfold through devotion and surrender through attending a singular perceptual activity.
She speaks of the duality or oppositional friendship between her dancing self and choreographing self.
Her fidelity to being moved by singular responsive action invites a dynamic multiplicity created by possibilities of empathetic polarities…movements between oppositional perceptions, or ways of apprehending experience.
She speaks of resting into/ committing to the specific initiation of one definitive activity – tethering the mind/ brain- keeping it busy- so body can be free to… perhaps not act as its subject.
We begin with SURFACE(s)….interplays of exchange, interfaces- membranes of sensation…
She specifies “SURFACE” not located, dislocated identified as skin, clothing, hair, aura, fat, nerves, space.
This definition is perceptually inclusive rather than exclusive.
We begin differentiating the sense of whole body and a body in parts.
We change channel to our VOLUME- Sensations of our how we are contained within our forms.
“What if the depth is on the surface?” An echo from Deborah Hay.
Our Skin an outer brain.
Our Brain an inner skin.
The skin of a thought.
The mind of sensation/ feeling.
I wonder…What if we our whole being is surface?… internally externally a site of exchange/ interface, a multiplicity. Each organ, nerve, vessel, muscle, orifice an intricate accumulation- a series, a family of surfaces. Every cell of our body…an intricate, responsive folding of surfaces, membranes, skins of connective differentiation.
I inhabit my Volume. I feel my Surfaces.
I inhabit my surface. I feel my Volumes.
I feel myself one…I become many.
I feel myself as many…I become one.
“Opposition is true Friendship”
Marriage of Heaven and Hell. William Blake