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California, way of moving: Stroll

Actualizado: 9 de nov de 2018

1. Walk in a leisurely way.

2. Achieve a sporting victory without effort.



California, and more accurately Berkeley, is generally good vibes.

It’s progressive in its thoughts and in its doings.

The city is organized with houses with backyards, organic food malls, floating tank experience places, Mexican restaurants, forests, churches, beaches, legal marijuana dispensaries, and more!

There are lots of options, maybe too many according to my sense of measure and probably that’s the only thing that could disturb the quiet, calm and easy way of living in Berkeley. The only disturbance is the necessity of facing all the time a lot of choices, which can freak you out or even paralyze you, especially in the Supermarket...


The openness to choices and different ways of living is everywhere.

I was in a car, in the back seat, sharing a ride with a nice couple.

She explained her polyamory life by noticing she needs an anchor to be able to explore. So her husband was defined by being an anchor and the boyfriend, sitting next to her and next to me, the new exotic land.

Now, maybe it doesn't sound so extreme that people openly speak about choosing their gender and polyamory as a way of love on a first meeting, but still this "normality" is not that common in all places I've been. 


I don’t know if everywhere is the same in the State of California... I’m coming from the old, but rather small Europe. Just the state of California it's almost the same size of Spain, so  my sense of proportion is completely irrelevant in the vast land of the United States. So, I want to acknowledge I was just in Berkeley, a very small portion of California.



The dance scene feels like a small family where everybody kind of knows everybody. It moves in two specific techniques: contact improvisation and Axis Syllabus. Unfortunately, I did not get to see any performance, but there is almost none, or at least this is what I’ve been told when I asked. But, when I looked for dance classes this is what I got to practice in an old church.


Both techniques are included in the label of contemporary dance. Both are originally from the USA and are characterized by a gentle body tone, no extra force or muscle engagement and efficiency in the movement according to anatomy of the body and physics. Both techniques require a flexible body and mind to achieve certain sense of freedom in the choice for motion.


Freedom is an important concept in California. And maybe one of the most extreme senses of freedom is the gun policy.

Probably California is not one of the states that would defend the firearm possession the most, since my impression is that it is a pacifist place, and probably I also wouldn’t be talking about it if my visit wouldn’t clash with one of this scary episodes of a teenager entering into the High School and start shooting everybody (a case which happened and was all over the news during my visit).

But it is what it is.

In the United States of America it is legal to have guns. What’s behind?

Well, one argument I was given, was to have the chance to defend yourself in front of an abusive situation, even if this one is coming from the State or the State's representatives. So that in a situation like this, civilians would be able to defend themselves against an overpower like authoritarianism or dictatorship.

Yes. Like this. That’s one of the reasons.

And then, I feel how my brain twists like a wet towel. Something clashes with my logic.

Certainty, one of the beauties of travelling is to be exposed to this kind of shocks that makes you understand that there is no black and white. And even more there is no way to understand certain arguments if they are not related to a certain context.









So…

Axis Syllabus and Contact Improvisation seek also for a sense of freedom, but they use different contexts and a specific focus to be practiced.

Axis Syllabus created by Frey Faust search for the understanding of anatomy and movement mechanics to find a body that follows “healthy” patterns. It asks for having curiosity within your body to find it.

In my opinion, the practice aims for a body that is able to perform and pursue a long dancer career.


Contact Improvisation, was developed in the 70´s by Steve Paxton in collaboration with a group of dancers and some athletes. It defies (or collaborates) with the law of physics through the interaction between two bodies. It's about weight, it's about touch and it's about movement awareness.

It’s taught in regular classes, but the “natural” place for practicing is in an open context. Which nowadays is called contact jams.



Open context means nobody knows exactly what will happen, although it gathers people that share same specific movement principals before-hand. Contact Impro practices the adaptability of the body while is interacting with another body. This interaction becomes a physical dialogue in a playful context, and that’s by itself an interesting proposition. While sharing a space, while sharing a dance, while sharing...


Dance in Berkeley is gentle voices, a soft body without accents and driven by the dynamics and momentum that allows the body's own mechanics. As if the body is somehow the center and the individual is at its disposal. Listening to this body without imposing. Just Observing.

Flowing with an easy dance, just as flowing with an easy way of life. Strolling...

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