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Monday, January 30, 2012

Pina/24 Years My Junior

Great weekend....the singing Friday, I went to see my friends Spider and Tommy at Katerina's with other friends on Saturday, then yesterday lunch and a movie with Carol.  We saw Pina.  It was really weird and at first, I was a bit repulsed by the oddness, but then I surrendered to it, gave up the idea that it would make much sense or that it would be over any time soon, so I nestled deep into myself and let it unfold in all its strangeness.  I've never been a ballet person - Carol is.  For me, it's all about the written and spoken word and of course the singing.   None of that with ballet.  How do you feel when you watch impossibly fit people use their bodies in such lithe and athletic ways?  Does it intimidate you?  Does it make you feel like a prisoner in your own less than perfect body that could never move in those ways?  Do you feel inferior?   I felt all these things and hated being a  spectator captured in a body that will NEVER spin and turn and bend and spiral like that.  I had movement envy.

Read how a reviewer described it:
They have produced a body of work unique in its dark power and imaginative scale. The pieces are surreal and dreamlike, intensely detailed in construction, and often last for hours. In Arien (1979), the evening-dressed cast is discovered lying in ankle-deep water. In Nelken (1992), women roam a stage carpeted with carnations and patrolled by Alsatian guard dogs. Central to all of Bausch's pieces is the traumatised interplay of its performers, who often seem caught in conflicting dreams. There are excruciating spoken confessions, anguished physical and emotional self-barings, babbling litanies of personal detail.
Today I'm thinking about bodies, my body.  Most of the women in Pina's troupe had grown up with her and  were by now older, faces lined with age and experience, hands and feet veiny and gnarly. And yet they were beautiful and sexy and integrated with their bodies - they weren't, as so many of us, living an out of body experience.  They moved with grace and comfort that probably only comes with using and moving their bodies intensely every day.  Why do I think they rarely plop in front of a television.  When they watch TV, they are probably at the same time doing downward-facing-dog or stretching and moving, always in motion.   I read a funny quote last week from an older woman with arthritis who fought the disease by staying in perpetual motion.   Her motto, "You rest, you rust!"

At the end of the movie, Pina's voice saying simply, "Dance or Die."

Renee Kurz makes this observation about why Pina was important to her:
I don’t believe she created in order for us to see the world as she sees it, but rather for us to see the world as we see it. To really look at our world, and to see the opportunities for movement.  To find the reason to move, to keep moving, to not settle in complacency or apathy.  But to rise, and to search; to keep reaching for that which is just beyond our reach.  To not get stuck or buried, even when dirt is being thrown in our faces.  To recapture the strength of our will – Our will to live.  It is an all or nothing world for Pina.  Take the risk or don’t even bother.  Dance or die!  Or in Pina’s words: “Dance, dance, otherwise we are lost!”
Later that night, drinks with a young man of only 31 (what am I thinking?).  Instant chemistry but doubts of course.  We had a fabulous time.  And we both recognized immediately the danger.  This would not be something cheap or anonymous.  We could easily fall in love - we both felt it instantly. And so with restraint we said good night and decided to sleep on it for a few weeks (he is headed to Bejing for a business trip) and then decide, when he gets back, if there is wisdom in making that connection.  I told him, "We can just walk away now and save our hearts the inevitable separation. Now is the time to make that decision."  I am of course remembering that moment with Patrick at the beginning when we both laughed  and said, "What was Karen thinking?"  We knew we weren't what the other person needed.  We could have said, that night, "Let's not," and wished each other a happy life and went our respective ways.

Challenge:  When do we play it safe and when do we throw caution to the wind and just go for it? "To recapture the strength of our will – Our will to live.  It is an all or nothing world for Pina.  Take the risk or don’t even bother.  Dance or die!"  I choose to dance.  Do you?

Peace,
Sarah

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