For the you of today
Silvia Ehnis

In Cultural Drag, one of the first things that my character Lola Predator says to audience is – I love who you chose to be today. But before I say it, I take time and have a look at the people who showed up. Saying this phrase fills me with love and caring for those strangers who are present. Subtle smiles pop up in their faces, others look sceptic. I return the complicit glance to the one who offers it to me. I like to imagine that this line has a hidden message, I mean much more. I mean to say: “trust me, trust us – it might get rough, but you already decided to attend a subversive dance piece about stereotyping oneself, so stay woke and enjoy the ride.”

 

Probably unnecessary to speak out loudly, but these hidden message sets the tone for the rest of the lines I pronounce during the monologue, since we are already trusting each other. Some lines are written in advance, some come up while observing at members of the audience. During the performance, I speak directly to someone, and I wish I could do the same with this text. I wish I could have a look at you first, share some hand gestures and get a first impression of who is reading. I would write something directly to you, depending on who you are today. So instead of writing one text for an anonymous and characterless reader, I ask you first to choose who do you want to be today, and then find a message to you:

 

Are you the person who sits on the third row?

We know your secret. We sit in the third row every time it is possible. The action on the arena feels not so threatening after all due to the distance, and yet we are close enough to appreciate details and get carried by the unworn waves of energy from whatever is happening in front of our eyes. We are almost present, but not entirely there. We can hide if we want. We blend with the rest. A huge anonymous cluster of no one and everybody. It is strange how sometimes it feels like a decision, but sometimes we are assigned this place in the third row. Isn´t it? We are hidden. Do you want to hide?

 

Are you the one who feels their body as a secret?

That is intriguing. Is it that your body is a secret you like to keep for yourself? Or is it a secret to you? Or something else? The time of dualisms is over. Who is your confident? Is it just one big organic secret? Or maybe the secret is one specific thing that you like to experience only with and for yourself? Or maybe you are the one trying to figure out what is it, because you know there is something there, but don´t know exactly what? I admit, I am a secrets enthusiast. I belong to those people who shake a wrapped gift and ask questions until I figure out what is inside. I enjoy the gift twice, so to say. Maybe shake the body until you know what the present is? But I feel my body more as a riddle, than a secret present – a constantly changing puzzle. I admit, I also love puzzles. Sometimes pieces disappear leaving a hole, but then a completely new portion emerges out of nowhere. Sometimes I am the one hiding the pieces, creating secrets, and other times I find myself unintentionally attached to someone else´s puzzle. Is your body also a puzzle?

 

 

Are you the listener today?

Thank you. I like to listen too. I like that state of being when I feel enough space and ease to pause and observe. Should we meet and listen to each other? Maybe we do not have to speak, we can just stand next to each other. I can share with you my favorite sensations and find it intriguing to experience yours. This is how I feel when performing, I am sharing physical states within a made-up universe that we found through the process. Of course, it starts all with a theme, a specific focus, but later I like to pay special attention to body sensations and states that resonate with the topic, instead of unfolding the narrative of it. I know this is very abstract and that is exactly why I find dance so interesting. It can be at the same time direct and divergent. Spectacularly confusing.

 

Are you the one faraway?

Sometimes when I dance, I like to imagine that my body continues a line that is connecting us. Can you imagine this? I like to visualize your body and your surroundings and try to resonate with them. Sometimes this line makes its way through the center of the Earth. Imagine the strength this link has been accumulating by resisting through mud, water, magma and all the fantastic materials that make up our planet. This strength fills me up.

Other times, this line is very thin and delicate. It runs smoothly on the skin of the Earth, or sometimes it drifts through the air when I can even see you. Maybe you are not so far away from each other after all. Though the line is smooth, it is also dense, malleable, and hungry. It is full of direct impulses and expects a direct response back. We are both responsible of keeping this connection alive, because if neglect it, it dissolves into anonymity. This link is restless and insatiable, unlike the link that runs through the center of the Earth, when we are truly far away. That one is more patient with us.

 

Are you the one that has been there since long time ago?

Surprise! I must admit that who we are today also wonders for me, and I am eager to see in which direction the wind blows next, what new risks we must embrace. At the beginning, I had a blurry image of where we were going towards, I had a compass made of desires accumulated through the years and fueled by a collective gut feeling. Today my gut is sleeping, and I wait patiently for it to return from a deserved rest. And while I wait for the next rush of inspiration, I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my gut.

 

Are you the confused one?

No burden. You reading this means, that maybe you do not understand something and therefore keep searching for another way to come closer. Where does the confusion flocks? Maybe want to shake it a little bit, since I am not interested in explaining things. You won´t find any straight narrative here. Reasoning is just one way to achieve intimacy. Stories are beautiful and powerful, yes, but moments to freeze time are for me even a better catalyst for connection. I am more interested and drawn to create instants that nurture emergence. Between you and me, and with them, and others, and maybe sometimes with no one. Is this confusion fermenting still inside your body? Maybe this time you do need to find out what emergence means, or better, let´s experience this next time we meet.