Choreographer, Dancer and a Journalist
About the blog
This blog is a way of giving space to three of my passions and the driving motors in my life: movement, travelling and writing. It’s a way to experiment how they interact with each other and entangle together, since they were always connected for me in one way or another.
I’m a freelance contemporary dancer and a choreographer based in Barcelona for now. I’m also a journalist, but after working in it for while when I was studying, I realise it wasn’t my passion. That was already quite long ago, more than 13 years.
It looked quite a big shift of life, back then. But from my perspective it was quite a smooth transition since journalism and dance deal with the same topic: communication. They just use different tools, words or movement.
Later on, I realized that also in movement there are a lot of words involve, whether to think about it, to explain about it, to study about it, to write about it...
Traveling, on the other hand, was always an umbrella for both in journalism and dance.
Luckily enough, nowadays, my work offers me the chance of being "on the road" quite often and be involved constantly in different movement contexts.
By movement here, I understand a broad meaning of it whether it is a practice by itself, the form of martial arts, social dance or a contemporary art form.
In my opinion the differences in between them are just connected to the focus of attention and what you want to express with them. They all deal with the body as centre of action and the body in relation with different variables, which can be health, space, rhythm, music, fight or another body.
Movement is all around. Everywhere. It’s happening whether you see it or not. But here I want to write about the movement that I see and how different cultures and societies connect to it.
Throughout all this journeys in different countries I realise there are some differences in the way people move. For me, movement is a way of self-expression. So how to move it’s a personal thing, and even more, an intimate thing.
But funny enough, movement is express many times in social or artistic situations. So, this self-expression is influenced by other conditions that make the movement experience a whole different thing from place to place. I assume the differences are connected to certain characteristics that made those places I was visiting special and unique. Reasons such as weather, social structure, history, cultural manners, educations, economic circumstances, among others, are moulding the different countries, estates or cities, their people and their movement.
In my experiences, there is only one constant thing that connects all this ways of moving, and it's the passion for it.
All persons I met that practice movement were movement lovers despite the function, the intention or the expression of it.
The need of movement
That’s a very personal question for me.
I know that there are many objective arguments from a medical perspective about the necessity for movement in this rather sedentary society. I also know how the capacity to generate movement from our body had an exponential importance to our survival as a species.
But, I’m definitely not a scientist on the field.
My relationship with movement was first as a practitioner of several sports and a rhythmic gymnastics competitor and afterwards as a contemporary dancer and choreographer/maker.
So, it’s important at this point to make a distinction. Because I’m not talking here about the necessary movement that our body performs automatically, even when we are not aware of it.
I’m addressing the movement we produce on purpose and for different reasons.
All reasons are unnecessary to live, but they all give a great sense for life (at least, for mine).
Those reasons, in my case, are several and they are all entangled in a net of thoughts and feelings. The omnipresence of movement is so wide that it almost feels like it will run out without the possibility of catching it and being able to talk about it.
Maybe that’s in the core of movement itself. As a dynamic thing, it is difficult to catch unless you are in it. Of course movement can be thought, explained and taught, but movement is something to experience. Movement can only be realized by doing.
And this doing or this “in it” is one of the things that inspires me the most from movement. By focusing just on the body and the movement in the doing, I find a state of attention or awareness of what is happening at every moment. No multitasking, no multiple targets at the same time, just one thing after another.
So performing a movement becomes a way to be in the present moment, the time and space of the now. Just like breath, which connects me to life in a simple sense, movement becomes a constant reminder that the only thing there is, is now.
When my movements become dance, which for me is when movement is in dialogue with music and space, it concedes the possibility of listening or connecting to myself. Since dance moves are actually not “necessary”, “organic” or even “natural”, they simply become tools and ways to express my insides.
Sometimes those insides take shapes of feelings, thoughts, worries, wishes, fears or angers…
Some other times the movements bring the mental space for silence and then the movements flow effortlessly, almost by themselves.
At any time, I try to be an observer of what’s going on.
Just a meditation.
The body is the way we are seen by the world and through our body is the way we perceive the world. And in the exchange between these in´s and out´s is where communication happens.
So movement becomes also a tool to communicate with others.
The human being has been using dance to communicate for many centuries.
In tribes, dance was used as a ritual of pairing or to celebrate initiation. Just as nowadays, we do in dance parties. Whatever kind of style of dance serves the purpose or the mood.
Dance became a social way to relate to one another in a context that allows certain freedom and relaxation. That’s why for me, dance can be a tool for self-expression since we all have bodies and since we all feel sometimes constrained by social codes. To release, to shake, to let go… how you feel, how you are through how you move.
When humankind couldn’t explain a lot of the situations that were happening around them, they created divinities. To ask, to devote, to express gratitude to God or gods and goddess, there was always dance in the rituals. It was a gift to something else that was not seen or possible to touch. Dance was already related to something that today we would call spirit. It was given to the unexplainable things.
And still now, dance for me preserves something that I can’t explain in the moment it happens. Neither I want to. Sometimes, the impulse of movement happens so fast in the body that it is instinctive. But since instinct for the majority of us is not connected to the need to survive in the jungle, it responds to something else. To some other connections that are not visible to me, and this invisibility has something magical, special and beautiful in my eyes because it speaks before the words. Before I can name it, before I can build a meaning or judgment of it. So the space it opens is full of possibilities for imagination and creation.
And this is what I like about dance as an art form. It allows a language of communication that is not based on words, and therefore no rationality or understanding, but more on perception. It’s a canvas where to see yourself through it. What you see or what you perceive can be different form what others see and perceive. And that’s exactly what we do with our reality. We build and construct the world around us and that’s our reality, rather than THE REALITY. In fact, many realities coexist (as many as human beings). Dance as an art form is for me a constant reminder of that.
When the human being changed God for people, dance together with other art forms shifted into a social sphere. It started to express stories, emotions and in general the vision of the world. Art as part of the culture, it’s a reflex of the society that belongs and contributes to the transmissions of values and ideas of whichever human culture through time and space. So its functions and motivations became diverse.
As shapes and forms of movements started to be formulise they started to create styles and techniques. So dance, as an art, started to be defined by the ability to perform those movements.
Probably we’ve lost on the way part of the wildness of the expression itself but we gain the sense of craft. Craft, in movement, like any other craft, requires regularity, dedication and passion and not just talent.
Dance got into theatres and it became a live representation for audiences. Something to be seen acquiring an aesthetic component. The sense of beauty, as harmony, equilibrium and rhythm, was established as the viewer´s point of view was founded. The human eye was the receptor of the art, and not anymore something intangible.
Nowadays, dance is entangled many times with the word contemporary. It’s hard to define what it is because the word itself is a container for many dance forms, shapes and styles. But, I think contemporary is just a label to define dance through its own history. Maybe what is relevant about the contemporary dance is that the name is not connected to a style or specific technique, as ballet or modern dance are, but to the idea of dance as a vehicle to transmit concepts and abstractions. And in this sense, contemporary expands and challenge the idea of what is movement in the dance art form.
Movement can be used for healthy reasons, useful reasons, therapeutic reasons, beautiful reasons, artistic reasons, social reasons, conceptual reasons, symbolic reasons, spiritual reasons, emotional reasons, overcoming reasons, etc.
There are as many ways to express movement as people in this planet.
There are as many reasons to use movement as people in this planet.
Each of us has one single body, so that makes our choices for movement unique and special. My choice is my inspiration and my inspiration is my dance.