This week in comp we’ve been working with touch exercises. Today was our turn to propose structures, so MJ proposed that we use light touch and react naturally to how the touch made us feel. I suggested a modification: closing our eyes so that we could concentrate primarily on the sensation. So we were off.
Nine of us made our way into a clump and closed our eyes. We followed MJs cues to center ourselves and become hyper-aware of stimulus as we were when we were babies. Slowly, we started to explore the feeling of touch. I placed my hands steadily and gently onto a back, feeling the persons strength and breath - waiting for their reaction and feeling my own. A hand brushed lightly up my arm, across my shoulder, tickling my neck. I felt a shiver tingle up my spine and forced myself to be honest with the experience. When you make contact with someone you exchange energy. Touch in this slow, deliberate, and exploratory way is sensual whether the intention for it to be is there or not. The energy was electric. I hated to admit it, but I was enjoying myself.
Soon I felt 3 pairs of hands on me, and I had choices. Which way did I like to be touched? Which way did I want to be touched? What did I want more or less of? My instincts decided for me, and I drifted towards whomever I felt most comfortable with, giving them touch in return. The pulse of our energy picked up, and eventually we became more deliberate and aggressive. Our contact became animalistic, passionate, and as necessary as air.
Even though our eyes remained closed I felt vulnerable. In the midst of our touch-orgy I felt safe and secure, but when we separated to explore touch on our own bodies I became hyper-aware that by touching myself in the way I wanted to be touched I was revealing very personal and private information about myself. I was not comfortable, but I simply recognized the feelings and pushed through it. Part of being an artist is allowing yourself to be vulnerable and express your humanity in very honest ways. You have to be willing and excited to push through personal obstacles and take the plunge.
After we brought ourselves out of the improv and back into the space I felt guilty for enjoying the touch I was given. I felt I had cheated on my boyfriend. Half of us in the group are attached, but only Michael and I felt like we had cheated on our significant others. I expressed this feeling to our teacher, and she smiled. Dale felt it was good that I was uncomfortable because that meant I was pushing myself and going somewhere. Obviously I didn’t cheat on my boyfriend. But why is it that so many things in dance are connected to sex?
All of my teachers support that physical power and energetic flow comes from the center - the pelvic floor, the sexual organs, and the abdominal muscles. I don’t think anyone would argue with that. Dance is fueled by sexual energy, humanity, honesty, emotion, and vulnerability. I’m not sure that all dance is related to sex. By the same token, I’m not sure that all dance isn’t related to sex. Dancers create art with their bodies. Bodies exist for procreation. It may be Freudian to think that dance is about sex, but I know that the best dancers exude sexual energy and power on stage.
Speaking of exuding sexual power on stage, for those readers that are in the South Florida area, THE GRAHAM COMPANY will be performing at the Kravis Center in W. Palm Beach Sunday at 8pm. It’s not to be missed. I will be in the second row of the mezzanine, center, and sitting on the edge of my seat as I finally get to see my dream company perform live. Sure, I’ve taken classes with them and watched their rehearsals but NOTHING compares to live theatre. True magic happens on the stage.