Letter to Dance
Letter to Dance
By Lee Méir
Written and presented as part of the project JUST IN TIME, A Tanz Fonds Erbe Project, by Artistwin deufert & plischke, at Tanznacht Berlin, 28th of August 2016
“every letter is a love letter”
(Chris Kraus, I love Dick)
I need to start now
I need to start now with a decontextualization
I now started with the word “decontextualization”
But let’s not talk about words just now
Very simply put:
I need to take you out of your context
for this writing to you, I need to take you away from everything you are connected to, I need to separate you from the dance field, from the dance market, from dance studies, from Tanz Wissenschaft, and for a second from everything I think I know about you
I don’t intend to be naive, (I did my studies) or romanticize you in your sensuality, but I ask myself what were you before you became a practice, a job, before you became so obsessed with concepts, with time and space, with visibility, working conditions, cultural politics
I ask myself what travels in the body through the years as time passes, what does the body remember and what is so close that one cannot see it anymore
You are a longterm relationship
And like many other longterm relationships, you are never just you, but also everything (and everyone) I have met and experienced through and with you. You are something I share with others, you are not private, I do not own you, and you accept me the same way that you accept many others.
But this is my private, specific as I can be, letter to you. So I have to ask myself about our specific relationship.
Writing you asks for clarity, for articulation, for sense making through words. But how to use words to clarify you, when to me you are specific only when everything that must be explained, doesn’t need to take place right now.
Once, a long time ago, you still didn't use words, you didn't know yet that you are also an idea, I mean beyond being yourself you are also the idea of yourself
A while ago in a rehearsal I was talking about you with my friend, who is a Hip-Hop dancer, she said: “when I dance I have nothing in my head, I don’t think at all.” she asked us (the contemporary dancers) how can we dance if we think so much? And after all this thinking, can we actually still dance? And then I wondered- do we need to trick ourselves to not think in order to be able to dance?
So, Dear Dance, is this where we start- thinking versus experiencing? Reflecting versus being in the moment? Impulse versus decision?
Are we not always, to a certain extent, in everything we do, continuously tricking ourselves to not think in order to dance?
Sometimes I suddenly understand you very well, when I talk to people who have nothing to do with the dance field- They often say things like: “I love dance, dance is so beautiful, dance is exciting, you are so lucky to be a dancer,” or they say- “I don’t understand dance, it’s so abstract, but I do love to dance……”
In “A choreographers handbook” by Jonathan Burrows, he quotes the american philosopher of art, Susanne K. Langer from the book ‘feeling and form’ (1953) she says: “ no art suffers more misunderstanding, sentimental judgement, and mystical interpretation than the art of dancing” .
Dear Dance, are you accessible? Does language make you more accessible? And what kind of language would you prefer to describe you? Do you like the artistic-academic-inter-art world language? Do you prefer simple words? Do you like to be mystified as self expression? As a way of freeing the body, as life force? Do u like it when people associate you with sports? Do you need so many words on top of you?
Theorist Boris Groys suggests that “art-writing provides artworks with ‘protective text-cloths’: as if without the cloak of written explanation, unfamiliar artworks enter the world naked, demanding to be dressed in words”.
dear dance, I would like to undress you from words
I would like you to undress me from my words, I would like to walk the world with you undressed from words
© 2018 by Lee Méir .