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dance zen how a net works the violence of repetition  

 

 


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Dance-Zen
has yet not been performed as a lecture demonstration. Originally it is an essay, that I wrote for the ”TANZZEIT Kalender” in 1999. The English translation was published in the newsletter of the International Performance Network and given as a reading at King Alfreds College in Winchester, Great Britain in 2001. I always wanted to transform the text into a living lecture – with a second dancer in the space or a whole wall of monitors as a backdrop – but for the moment there’s just the text:


Dance-Zen

Dancing is for most people a social activity. For dancers it's a lonely one as well, particularly if they are working outside of a group or company and are training alone. The step into professionalism involves autonomous practice without instructions and supervision from the outside. Practice can be a way to establish a dancers identity.It's hard to work on one's own. One doesn't come across one's insufficiencies in comparison with others, but in relation to what needs to be done.
What needs to be learned. Without a piece of work in mind, which needs to be invented and manifested, practice becomes an endless task. A "time horizon" opens out that makes everything seem possible, boundless, --- where to start and what to start with?

To train on one's own requires discipline. What one has decided to do is what then must be done; doubts and excuses have to wait. It might prove helpful to set aside a fixed time for practice.
There is a state of mind in practice that arises due to a certain degree of awareness, interest and care – but also due to a composure of just practicing and trusting that the body learns what needs to be learned.

Both the amount of time we spend practicing and the quality of how we do it gives depth and meaning to our dancing. The biggest artistry is to practice within the void, without any request from the outside. To practice without a fixed idea of what it might become, without a thought to possible gain, practice for eternity, practice for Africa, practice for practice's sake, practice to be there and ready when the spark wants to catch fire that makes the universe come into being.

© Eleanora Allerdings, May 1998

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