I am an artist. Not the sort who paints and sculpts. The other kind, who expresses through movement and words. Lately more words than movement. I used to love to write many years ago, but I stopped to make room for dance. But when we parted I didn’t think we would ever come back to this.
I fell in love with dance from my first dance class back in Stockholm dressed in my black long leg-warmers that went past my knees and a matching leotard. And though it has not always been, the past six years I view my life with dance to Alice in Wonderland on drugs. Unpredictable and beautiful. Not visually, but the way it feels when breathe pushes movement through the body.
I am driven by the impulse of sound (Not the actual music, but the internal sound that may not sound anything like the music). Call it a reverberation of sort, that pushes and pulls until it digs its way through my body’s tissue, triggers emotions that creates texture for me to express. I float on this gift for fraction of a second, and then I dive. Down the rabbit hole I go. I move through all the textures presented to me- drowning in syrup, running through sand soft and on fire, plowing through blaring alarms that bounces off my my ribcage like the dings of a pinball machine. Needless to say this journey is no less vulnerable and raw than lovers’ nails digging into skin. And so it goes until I have exhausted all that is within and I am left with an empty breath.
Dance has become my true love. We have always returned to one another no matter what. Using no words mean a world of endless interpretations. In that world, I have dared to splayed my heart out in front of an audience, all of it even the less pretty parts that fray at the edges. I have cursed, resented and desired. I have completely gone mad, and spewed my utmost secrets when the audience least expected. I make commitments in the moment but once off stage, I leave it laying around sad and pathetic. That is how honest dance has allowed me to be. To exist and leave without a trace. What the audience may have seen compare to what I felt may have been worlds apart, no one would ever know the difference.
It is a comforting place to be as an artist. At least for me who have a more action packed life inside my head than in real life. I don’t have to answer questions in the same way as if I painted, or wrote a song. And yet, here I am befriending words, inviting definitions and considering commitments that an audience can hold me accountable for. Part of me wants to crawl back into the rabbit hole and slide into that pool of syrup. The other part of me can’t help but acknowledge that I am falling- not in love but in curiosity. If dance is my love, writing is more like a loving companion.
We don’t know each other like I know dance. We have not fought, or laughed enough together. Nor have we learn how to trust each other. There has not been a time where we have stood naked in front of each other offering nothing else than what we can see. Even the process of writing is different. I don’t feel the words pounding on the inside of my skin. I am not triggered to write when I see a book or a magazine. It is not a wild ride, neither is it Alice in Wonderland on ecstasy. There are no sounds. Sometimes it is if I can only hear the words when I walk around. In the park, around the block, or in circles in my small studio apartment. My brain seems to work like an old car engine that can only be put into motion by rolling it down the street. Coughing up smoke and spitting out letters that don’t even complete sentences. We are nothing like me and dance.
But we are. What we are, we have not decided yet. Once again new to each other, although we met years ago, makes this comfortable and awkward at the same time. And somehow, I enjoy this company. I like the silence that is engaged to the outburst of words plopping into my head. I care for the certain type of affection of our relationship similar to old people holding hands on the subway when they think no one is watching. This is different than expressing myself through movement. It is a more thoughtful process that reflects much how I treat myself- with kindness. Yet there is something so attractive about the power one has molding a sentence over and over in silence.Kneading words with the tongue. Needing to express in a language all can understand. Allowing your fingers to press out the words on the keyboard like small pieces of clay.
I have not fallen for you yet. And if I do, the dancing will always be in me. Without it I would be poor and achy, and you would not like me. I know there will be times when words will not be enough for me; times when I want to give up; when I will make a commitment I am not ready to see through. But I am in no rush. I may take breaks, but I am not to abandon my craft. Who knows, maybe we will even grow old together.