Vojta and his experience from the dance training Fusion for Creativity, taking place in Hungary, October 2015.
One has to be all the time ready to stop at the spot, even in the middle of the jump.
“Down, wrap together, turn around… and rewind.”
When we are repeating the same movement for one hundred times – back and forth, back and forth – we start to realize what our body is doing. Finally.
Sarcasm that heals
Welcome to a dance training for beginners. It brings up together thirty-one people from 10 countries.
Everyone of us has different experience, everyone has different skills. There are dancers of contemporary, ballet, Irish dances, people with passion for movement and even these who are stuffed like wood while dancing.
I want to stop being clumsy idiot who punch somebody every minute by accident.
“Now we are going to practice the stands on hands,” Alex, the Greek dancer and one of our three trainers, said. After short training we have to jump across the gym in half-star, half-stand.
Correct technique – the impact of hand on the ground shouldn´t be audible. If you wouldn´t put any strength into it, it is possible.
“Gymnast!” Alex scolds those whose creations are accompanied by a loud BOOM.
But there is the other extreme too: “Crippled Monkey!”
That´s how Alex baptized those who demonstrate something between a somersault and fall.
The nickname was so popular that entire group accepted it as their own soon.
Alex´s sarcasm bites, but it goes straight to the point, it teaches us. It helps us to improve. As days go on, there is not a single person who would not be covered with bruises. In the morning, the eyes don´t want to open, muscles are screaming in pain with every step. But as soon as we stand on the dancing floor, all fatigue is forgotten, and we’re swimming in an endless flow of movement. At least 8 hours of dancing per day. Sometimes 10, 12. From some incomprehensible reason, many of us aren´t sleepy at evenings. We are full of energy, endorphins, enthusiasm.
Jump into the abyss to learn how to fly
In the middle of the course, the turning point has come. “Divide into groups,” Christine, coach from Hungary, said to us. “You have three days to rehearse performances, which you will show in prison, in an art school and in a theater after.”
Here comes the stress… because whatever we do, it’s not good enough. We’re not synchronized enough, imaginative enough, entertaining enough, our music is boring, movements lame. But we are improving. We are not at the beginning any more.
“How did you do that?” my Lithuanian co-dancer Andrij asks me. I just fell on the ground in rollover and created the next part of our performances by that. How did you do that, he asks and I must admit I don´t know.
So let´s do it once again. And now rewind. And forward and backward. I repeat the motion so many times until I realize precisely what I am doing. Only then I can teach it to the others.
And what’s amazing – when I repeat the motion tomorrow and the day after, and even a day after that – I still remember it.
Rewind. Rewind. Rewind.
“It is said that a person needs 10,000 hours of training to become a master at anything,” Christine said to us at the beginning of course. Repetition is the key. And I begin to understand.
Trial by fire
Final performances aren´t terrifying for me. I am looking forward to them. I’m too tired to be afraid.
Not everybody is so lucky. When the gate of prison opens before us, one of my co-dancers gets scared. Panic. She is the best dancer of our group. But she surpasses it and guides our whole team through terrific performance which is rewarded by applause from Hungarians prisoners.
Walk through the fire and emerge from it stronger. That’s what our course is about. Get to know myself, my body, become friend with the ground, with the space, open your mind to new possibilities, learn interesting dance techniques that can be passed on.
At the beginning of the course I set up three goals. Neither one of them was reached. But I’ve learned a lot – about the teamwork, communication, about my own body, about nature of learning.
“I am depressed. I feel like the worst dancer of all,” my friend told me second day of the training (and he was right). In the final performance he showed amazing duet and confidently swept across the floor. Not as a perfect dancer. But as an enthusiastic man who knows what he’s doing and is enjoying it.
“I hope I can put the video with our performance on Facebook and brag a little with it,” he said then.
I will not lie – I’d like to do the same.
PS: So “stop being clumsy idiot who punch somebody every minute by accident” I said?
During the farewell part I accidentally hit one of my co-dancers three times. Well, at least I am not scared of the dance floor any more 😛
Video from the project (authors are Anna Lepskaya and José Galvão Rodrigues)