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[...] It is also a space where these teachers or highly accomplished professionals within the dance field
get to meet, hang out, exchange ideas and find a free space where they get to reconsider
what it is they are doing, for whom and what they want to accomplish. The group got an
entire studio to themselves to do whatever they wanted. This might sound like an
enormous luxury, and it surely is, but one that is highly productive precisely because
there is no demand to be. And this is where I find it so difficult to write about.
I usually find it easy to write about my experiences to extract from them moments I find
meaningful and want to share. But reiterating my week of ttt in Vienna is proving
difficult and I have some reluctance to do so. This is for two reasons 1. During this week
we were exploring the relationship between the critical and somatic and I have taken this
to mean the relationship between lived experience and its abstraction and as this topic is
so close to my role as participant and observer I am finding it difficult to extract
something from my experience to produce some sort of generality that would interest
others. I feel at this moment, probably falsely that my experience was singular. 2. I feel
so privileged to have spent a week in the company of people far more experienced than
myself that with no trace of arrogance felt comfortable to share so much of themselves
that I feel it would be a betrayal of our week together to somehow write about it. The
beauty of our meeting was precisely that we were thrown together to explore certain
themes but with absolutely no pressure to produce something at the end. This situation is
so rare so special, that I don’t want to ruin it by somehow making it ”productive” through
providing some sort of end product in writing at the end of it.
Apart from the company of friends, I have never been asked to take part in something
that didn’t have some agenda, no matter how vague. There always seems to be an end
goal in sight no matter how obtuse. But from what I experienced, ttt is forum to share and
hang out without the slightest hint of its utility. I didn’t even experience it as a site for
networking. It would be vulgar to suggest it. For me this is a thing of such rare beauty
and what for me defined it as a valuable experience that I shudder to think that I would be
the one to harness it into something productive. At the same time, though it is true that
experience changes when it is articulated, it is not always for the worse. It’s a process of
definition. Of making something into some thing and finding its parameters.

Thinking is visceral and I associate it with writing. Some of my best thinking has been
through writing. I rock back and forth, shake my leg, clench my toes, tap my finger, press
my finger tips together, bight my lip, press the palms of my hands into my eye sockets,
stroke my hair in an effort to force thought out of myself and onto the blank page. There
is an emptiness, a hollowness as I wait for the thought to express itself. Before this there
are a plethora of impressions. Sometimes I stop my motion completely and try to identify
the source of these irritations. I search my insides for a trace of something like a thought.
When it comes, I suck in my cheeks, my breathing quickens. My fingers begin to tap
furiously on the keyboard or scribble on the page almost effortlessly. It’s as if the thought
gains a life of its own and needs to come out. This is when my machinery is working. The
thought comes into its own when I find the means to express it.

Some sort of magic happens in this moment when my personal sensations are made
readable by others. When I am able to string together a sentence that is able to contain a
feeling or intuition and make it comprehensible. In such moments, my experience is that
of making language work for me, helping me to display the processes occurring within
me. A process by which I am to some degree capable of turning myself inside out. In a
way probably revealing far more than I would like about who I am, my background, my
education, social up-bringing, class and all the other social formations that have made me
who I am.

My experience of being able to use language fairly well, of being able to capably express
myself made me even more acutely aware of my inability to articulate myself as a body.
During the week, I was asked to participate mainly as a dancer. And even though I was
fully respected as a body by the others, there was a real difference in experience. I
became aware of all the information they had in their bodies. Forms of articulation that
weren’t accessible to me. As they moved they revealed their bodies as formatted, as
trained as learned in the same way as I might when I write. In their movement, they were
thinking. Or there was a similar process taking place. I hate to admit it, but before this, I
would probably naively have thought of the dancer’s body as place of raw expression
rather than as a source of thought. To me thought, thinking proper, was limited to
language.

It was not that I previously relegated dance to some less intellectual activity per se. I love
dance. I love (some) dance performances but I had always associated their cleverness
mostly with their framing. With how people use the theatre, how they approach the
audience, their titles etc etc With all the tools they gave me as to how to look at their
bodies. Basically the ways in which, they chose to make their bodies objectifiable by me.
But now without this framing, I had access simply observe their bodies and what happens
to them as they move. It’s beautiful to see a well-trained body move. To see a dancer
really negotiate all the information available to them. To see a body knowingly navigate
its confinements internal and external. To see them thoughtfully find solutions to move
out of or into these restrictions. I feel like popularly dance is always thought of as
something liberating as something free of restraint. To me it now seemed liberating in the
same way as good thinking is liberating, as being able to play with the structures that
determine it and that this play is precisely determined by these structures and an
understanding of these very structures.

I haven’t yet found the words to describe the complex of visceral processes that happen
when I think. But I find it useful and enriching to entertain the idea of thinking as
movement. Of thinking as a form of navigating through the biological and social
structures that define me. I was humbled by ttt. Dance became a metaphor that allowed
me to perceive thinking and writing as organic processes. Ideas emerging as forms
through the knowledges I contain. Too often I consider words on a page as definitive but
maybe it is also fine, more than fine, that they are mere articulations of the knowledge I
have access to at this moment, here and now. In a way, I was liberated by thinking or
writing too as a moment of presentation or of revealing.

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