Nottingham – College Street, up the stairs to the long narrow dance studio at night, I feel a sense of anticipation, wondering who else was selected from the audition. As we stand in a circle and introduce ourselves, I think – yes, this is exactly the right group – perfect. There’s that warm alertness, everyone open and ready to respond. Joe Moran is quiet and gentle in the way he works, but not intense – more as if he’s drawing us in – playful, about to tell us a secret.
How good it is to dance, like flowing through cool water. I relax into sharing this common language of movement. There are too few opportunities. I notice the difference between an internal focus on my own body in movement, and when I open my gaze to the room and to others. I’m so much happier in response, when gestures and phrases are echoed and bounced around the studio, when connections are made, developed, and let go again.
After an hour dancing, Joe talks about his work with Deborah Hay. I wish now that I’d written everything he told us, remembered better. These words she uses – the notion of ‘What if’ – seem to open possibilities of responding to any situation with an openness that counters dogma.
The dance studio is your research lab, your hours spent dancing are your research.
What if your body is your teacher?
What if where you are now is where you need to be?
We work with these words, not as new age maxims, but with a sense of curiosity and adventure.
Our performance ‘task’ is to walk, to sit, to move as one body, ten chairs into different positions in the gallery, over a period of time, from forty minutes to an hour and a half. It seems to me, after our first rehearsal, that the simplicity of the task will take on new colour, depth and tension, as time goes on – as we become more familiar with each other, listen more acutely, and explore the notion ‘what if?’
Tricia Durdey dances, writes, and teaches Pilates.