Aerial Dance

For about 5 years I tried hopelessly to be a trapeze artist. Despite the beastliest fear of falling (even from a trapeze the height of a chair) being constantly injured or ill and a terrible thing to teach, somewhere in it a I adored it.

I discovered aerial slings and bought my own aerial net. This is a great loop of black netting that hangs off the ground on a swivel. For most of the last few years it was rigged to a tiny hammock stand in a tiny rotten bedsit. Feeling too useless for the real circus I created my own little cathartic dances.

Now, after a year off from more dance related gammy legs I have got a pair of black pointe shoes, a new gold carabiner and most of all I have a theatre residency coming up. This will give me what I have always been begging for; a space to create.

I have been doing an hour a week of aerial training and trying to fathom together as many moves as my cake addicted body can manage. It has to be said most of these moves used to be easy and now only live in my head.
But it is quiet and experimental.

Today I tried running and flipping upside down to swing and spinning with only my neck and arm holding me on.

Inch by inch things are coming back.

My application was to be a creature, all dark and emerging, touching the ground for the first time.

Only now I am in love with a Birdy song and want to cross the stage with my cane (going blind, will explain more if you wish) and tell my story while I tie on my shoes and prepare the net.
I want to recount the somewhat horrid along with the touching things circus people have said to me: the girl that ran away from the circus but found her own dance.

I have never spoken on a stage before.

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Back to The Circus

Today I waded through gales and torrents clutching a hefty sack containing my circus equipment I dug out of a storage container.

How many years of injuries and institutes telling me I couldn’t do aerial dance the way my head concocted, to just play?

Its so lovely now to be able to try and dance with a big black net spinning from the ceiling.

My strength and flexibilty has decreased in heaps. I can’t even lift my own weight anymore but I just see this as another challenge to find choreography I can do.

In 6 weeks I will be part of a circus residency in a London theatre and perform my work in progress.

I have to admit I am a tad worried how I will pull it off discovering how most of what I spent years doing has vanished with the leotards I got too fat for.

Who knew you can get shiny leotards in my size?!

I left the net hanging, slightly because I have a fear of step ladders (climbing on anything not rigged to a ceiling scares me) but thought they might like to have a spin on it.

Soft Spot for a Nihilist; My introduction to Modernism

Let us throw ourselves, like food, into
the Unknown, not in desperation, but to fill the deep wells of the
Absurd.’
F.T
Marinetti

More than a
hundred years since Marinetti published his fervent rant on art in
‘The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism’ he has succeeded to burst
my Victorian aesthetic bubble. For so long I have been immersed in
Mr. Hyde, Mary Shelley’s creature, corsetry and top hats. Reading
Marinetti for the first time on a train home from university was
like getting a hard stamp on the foot.

His
demands and idealology are so appalling and yet I could read his
outbursts all day long with a little shock and a wry smile. Even
his ‘Contempt for Women’ declaring us females a useless, less
intelligent sex in the way of men achieving power makes me laugh
rather the button up a feminist uniform. The many contradictions
don’t merely flaw his conviction but make me think of the ‘do this,
no, do this, either way do it’ giddy rhetoric I am finding in
modernist writing. This can be seen in the bold, irregular lay out
of ‘Blast’ magazine both blessing and cursing the same
things.

It has led me to question why reading the
literature of men that became fascists and were anti-Semitic should
peak my interests and excitement in
literature? It is like how my favourite dancer is Mary Wigman and then I found out that she sacked all Jewish dancers from her school. And yet she is still my greatest inspiration as a dancer. I don’t know what to think of it when I detest prejudice.

Shouldn’t I be hating
them?

In one Stanza by Ezra Pound he is insulting
Jews and in the next I read a defiant attack on the reader that I
find utterly brilliant;

Or perhaps I will die at
thirty?
Perhaps you will have the pleasure of defiling
my
pauper’s grave;
I wish you joy, I proffer
you all my assistance.
It has been your habit for
long
to do away with good writers,
You either
drive them mad, or else you blink at their
suicides,
Or else you condone their drugs,
and talk of insanity and genius,
But I will not go
mad to please you,
I will not flatter you with an early
death,
Oh, no, I will stick it out,
Feel your
hates wriggling about my feet
As a pleasant
tickle,
to be observed with derision,
Though
many move with suspicion,
Afraid to say that they hate
you;
The taste of my boot ?
Here is the taste
of my boot,
Caress it,
lick off the
blacking.

The version that I copied this stanza
from had exchanged the word ‘Jews’ for ‘Panders’ in the section
before this. Shouldn’t I hate them not be celebrating their boldness?
I who can’t abide the smallest insult from one person to
another?

Then I think maybe the words and beliefs
of them should be exposed, should make me angry. Isn’t that what their
negative, praise of ugliness and desire for chaos is trying to
place on me? When I read ‘Enemy of the Stars’, a play (of sorts) by
Wyndham Lewis I was left feeling grubby as though I had witnessed
and taken part in something violent and degrading I shouldn’t have
got myself into by reading it. The way Lewis uses prose to make you
forget it is a play and somehow you fall in to being in it, unsure
who is speaking when, with no control over the action is incredibly
clever. Somehow it is likable, almost enjoyable to read what I
don’t like.

It is not what they say but how they
are saying it. Mostly though, it is the thought of young men
embarking on new ideas to change art, collaborating on magazines
and movements against everything that had come before that entices
me; the shock of the new. I like to think that again there could be some kind of uprising, wanting for freedom in literature
and art. I live in hope that the era of chick lit and
50-shades-of-tediousnous have their day where something marches out
of the underground scene (does one still exist?) and will tear it
all to shreds. Or maybe the likes of Blast standing the test of time will always suffice against mass literature.

I think how Marinetti’s future is
now our past, how sadly all things revolutionary and new were just
as institutionalized as the institution they were against. In the
way that punks became the faces on novelty postcards the manifesto
in Blast is now analysed in academia.

But then
without becoming part of a curriculum I don’t think I would have
encountered these avant-garde men and their wit and objections that
have gripped me.