For the last few nights, I’ve been packing my dance bag, oh what will I need? I’ve already taped my knee and my toe, so that’s okay. Is it a kneepad kind of day? Am I wearing my dance stuff or will I change, or change after? I could go with only a water bottle and my phone and wallet, but I’m not that kind of person. Omg. I brought 3 different shirts the first day. Maybe I’d feel like wearing the Frida tee-shirt, but maybe I’d want something longer. I brought an adidas zippy that was not the lulu zippy that I was wearing.
I walked briskly through the neighbourhood to the station and got the rapid transit (is that what it is) and travelled to the town outside the city and made my way through the town that I’d been working in this summer as a temporary local on a bicycle. What a different relationship to space and place that makes. Now aware of how quickly I can pass through the places I recognize and get to where I’m going. To the studio. Oh to the studio.
How many classes I’ve taught in my life with no dry run in getting there! It’s not the class that’s the challenge, it’s the getting there. And there is a little something about the lack of adequate travel pay that it makes it hard to give up the whole half of one’s day, so I often take the route that says I’ll make it on time, not 30 minutes early, and that’s okay except for all the things that invariably go awry.
In the studio. This familiar place, no matter where. I have yet to encounter a studio that I don’t feel some kind of ‘I know you’ feeling from.
And leading my favourite things. Dancing together. These lovely folks whom I’ve never met, who don’t really know who I am, who are not dancers and yet, in the space of 15 minutes of instruction and moving through a few practices together they are making beautiful ensemble composition together. I don’t know what their lineage is but it definitely intersects mine somehow. It’s very exciting to drop into a place previously unknown and be jamming within half an hour.
And at the end of the night, almost like after a performance, they stick around and ask questions and express pleasure and joy of discovery from the experience and tell me specifics about this place, and then they go. And I am left with locking up and walking through the dark town, my black shoes visible against the yellow leaves that now cover the walkways. One night the air was crisp, the next it was soft.
It feels like my life again.
photo credit: Tristán Peréz-Martín
dancers: Allison Brooks, Marie-Pier Gilbert, Alison Carter, from Stand Up Dance’s ‘dance like no one is watching’ improv practice, St. John’s Newfoundland, July 2017