It is by no doubt certain that the last year has evoked an interesting relationship with our homes for many of us. Where in the past the home may have been somewhere to eat, leave, return, eat, sleep, repeat, it became this all encompassing place. A place we had to do all the bits in between: socialise (albeit over screens), exercise, create, work. Our home became the centre of our existence, instead of a pitstop on our journey. Is this actually the true meaning of a home? That is, the idea of a hearth, a place to warm, to connect and to spend time together. We had to curate our space to meet our human needs even more. We noticed how that desk actually makes me feel better when it is in the sunlight or how we never actually use that worktop to make anything so let’s make some bread. With the on-the-move world always trying to inject us with novelty, once faced with sameness our eyes opened to the details and the small things that spark joy in the curation of space. How though, as artists, can we create in these spaces?
It is clear that movement occurs wherever we are. The movement of weather, of light, of my hands as they type or your eyes as they read. These are all movements we may be experiencing right now. But from personal experience, creating dance in the home can induce fear. This is not always the case. Some people love to pop on a record and have a boogie. Why then, as dancing professionals, is it quite difficult to make this transition sometimes? My first observation is relating to training. As young creative movers, we were often given a place for movement whether that be a village hall, dance studio or stage. There was a specific space designated for the specific activity. We then go to drama school (or not) and again, we are isolated to rooms. When introduced to Rose Bruford College, I remember a thought-provoking discussion with our tutor surrounding the importance of the “safe-space”, that being a studio. Inside the conditions are more controllable. There is less outside distraction. There is open space to move freely without fear of breaking things (unless I have anything to do with it…). This was different from our homes. Our homes were a place to eat, read, write essays, sleep. The conditions of this space are not aligned with the conditions of the safe-space. For example, whenever I practice in my room, two large windows go out onto the street. Any passer-by could intrude on my space with their wandering gaze. Moreover, the bed, bookcase, littered bits and bobs and small space provide a lot of strong resistance to me practicing. In my lockdown house, I remember the countless times I banged my head on lights. However, when dissecting these ideas, we can question the actual power of these resistances. We practice to be experienced but hide at the idea of being experienced when practicing. We practice proprioception and our relationship between body and space but do not want to move in a cluttered space. These conditions are only negative when perceived through that lens. In fact, the opportunity that different spaces and being watched offer are extremely juicy. One of my biggest inspirations currently is Tom Weksler. A graceful mover sharing many thoughts and ideas. In his short film “Rest, Samurai, Waves” he says the following:
as a performer, awkwardness is like fire to a fireman. At some point he gets used to it, he gets close to it… If we spend too much time stopping things because they are awkward, nothing cool will ever get done.
My proposition as a final thought: release yourself to your practice in whatever space it manifests. It belongs there and will only bear its fruits when you give it your full intention.