Building a home within the crisis: Dance and performance in times of social isolation
A collective text written by Jorge Poveda, Majo Bejarano,
Naiara Assunção and Subhashini Goda
PHOTOS, VIDEOS OF PERFORMANCES, AND VIDEO ART LINKS BELOW!
"Is this an actual Festival amidst the COVID-19 situation? Who sees the necessity to dance at this point while everyone is battling larger issues?"
The coronavirus pandemic caught Cohort 7 at the end of their Choreomundus journey into a lush southwest London setting, and within this context of social isolation and distancing naturally, came about the dancing. Or should we say, Dance?
This self-quarantine and imposed isolation moment brought lots of frustration. As a group, we are conscious that it is our last semester together, and the only semester to enjoy the amazing classes and teachers at Roehampton, to take advantage of living in a multicultural London with its access to theatres, parties, seminars, bars, conferences, libraries, workshops, lectures, performances, museums, and all the richness of a cosmopolitan cultural and social lifestyle. And so the inevitable occurred. Trips were cancelled, plans were abandoned, gatherings were prohibited. Every day brought a different message of a workshop or a conference being cancelled or postponed. It was becoming increasingly difficult to find motivation to wake up in the morning and continue the work that we should be doing (yes, essays, assignments and dissertation still to be completed).
These are tough times to handle, floating between the familiarity and strangeness; between normality and emergency; between home and work; between the real and the virtual; between the present and a slippery future that escapes from everyone's hands when we are about to hold it. Between those feelings, there is a strong, pertinent question: When the general orientation is “stay home”, we saw ourselves asking: "what is home? How do we habit it? How do we know it exists?"
Some of us chose some years ago to go into the world to look for our home. We have lived in several houses since then, all of them filled with different accents, sights, tastes, sounds and movements. Colourful houses that we turned into our own place, one way or another, with the companionship of beautiful souls. This storm has surprised us in a house that we thought of as transitory, but with other people in it, thanks to which we now call it home. Being trapped between borders. For us, the birds that chose a life without them, it is a new challenge. But now that we play with languages, "bordar" in Spanish and Portuguese languages means knitting. Which are the new borders to be knitted with our hands careful, insistent effort? Which affects are to be knitted in this residence? How do we weave our narratives of belonging into this space?
We miss a lot of people, although being confined with part of a big aggregated family and having the privilege to see and talk to them everyday, even with a window separating us, makes all the difference. Our hands are so dry from all this compulsive washing, but we still feel immensely lucky. We have each other.
To cope with the isolation, Jorge started with the idea that every day, at 4pm, one of us should do a performance in the grass in front of our house so that all the rest of the people around can see through their windows (the Mount Claire accommodation of Roehampton University). It started off with a small seed of joy Jorge planted, to give us relief from the monotony of stunted time and sensitise familiarity. Now, we are calling this creative experiment “Performing the Pandemics (Emergency Festival)”.
Jorge was the first one to perform. Naiara, Subhashini, Majo, Bianca, Anÿla, Dafni, Fadi and Celina have already danced on our improvised stage. We are also holding dance classes and streaming them live in social media sometimes, hoping it brings a bit of joy to others that are also facing social isolation. Videos, pictures, drawings, songs and other creative material are being produced to record this difficult but inventive moment. These performances are a grounding exercise, an old feeling of those birds who travelled and got surprised by the land telling them something about growing roots… About knowing that the tree that is afraid to dig its roots deep into the soil will forever be afraid to spread its branches to the sky. It is a welcome hug from Mother Earth, whenever we are now. Even as we share this, we are trying to maintain sanity with a sense of community, creativity and love. Somethings will never be the same, so let the new world catch us dancing into it!
VIDEOS OF PERFORMANCES:
VIDEO ART LINKS:
“Memoria, Verdad y Justicia” by Majo Bejarano, Naiara Assunção and Tainá Louven
“Virulent Aesthetics” by Jorge Poveda with Majo Bejarano
“One Sun split into Two” by Jorge Poveda with Subhashini Goda and Avanthi Meduri
“BIANCA VODYOK” by Jorge Poveda with Bianca Beneduzi
“Communitas” by Majo Bejarano, with Jorge, Naiara, Tainá and Subhashini
“Third Pink Wave from Kosovo” by Jorge Poveda with Anÿla Musa
“Diseminaciones/We need more soap” by Jorge Poveda with Dafni Pantazopoulou
“COVID Antidote” by Jorge Poveda with Fadi Giha
“Tour through the twilight” by Jorge Poveda with Celina Gallo
“Plenty of air, plenty of faces” by Jorge Poveda with Majo Bejarano
“Notes about a quarantined body” by Majo Bejarano
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in all posts are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the association or the MA program.