Communities or Audiences?

The other night I had the privilege to perform to a full house in Gothenburg, Sweden - after a 4 year long hiatus away from the theater stage, chewing on the question of "why to perform"? Those who know me, know that I am not a seeker of the limelight. I've often struggled with the idea of performance, the reasons for doing it. Truthfully, the best performances that I have ever seen, were not performances at all. Like Julia Butterfly Hill (her stay in Luna sealed my path as an activist). Or the group of Tibetan Monks walking down the busy street of Delhi in 1991, as if they were walking in the forest. (The moment that turned me into a buddhist). Or that guy who climbed up the wall and into some parliamentary office during Reclaim the Streets in London, like 2 decades ago. (The moment that made me question my dance training). And the papers he threw down the window fell like snow. Therefore even prior to the hiatus, most of my work was participatory, I was more interested in the audience looking at themselves, than looking at me. "I" did not have any need to be seen.

So on Friday night, accompanied by my wonderfully talented partner Sten, we performed a duet. And along the stumbling and moments of being lost, I realized there was a pathway that I followed that was not about me/us at all. I was (getting) over myself and therefore free to improvise. The me that was left, was there in the moments of lostness, the moments I doubted or questioned the sensory pathway. And that I can live with. I can live with performance being a practice of aliveness, practice of curiosity, practice of willfull failure. Practice of deep listening, be it the various tissues of the body, the trees, the constant hum of the city or the falling of the paper snow.