To attack is to ossify. To embrace and empathize is the soften and make pliable.
Tensegrity, tensional integrity or floating compression, is a structural principle based on the use of isolated components in compression inside a net of continuous tension, in such a way that the compressed members (usually bars or struts) do not touch each other and the prestressed tensioned members (usually cables or tendons) delineate the system spatially.
In the Franklin Method, “tensegrity” is often used to describe the relation between the bones (compression) and the ligaments (tension). Each component provides its own strength, has its own role providing allow for strong, flexible, and coordinated movement for the entire body. Due to the interrelationship between the components, problems in one part of the body may manifest itself in another part.
The tensegrity model may also be applied metaphorically to relationships as a whole. We all are here to play a role, the one which we were born to do. We must be strong “bones” with a strong belief and sense in self. This is frequently expressed as feeling of groundedness, compassion, and integrity. We form connections with each other, for alone we are nothing, and produce nothing. The strength of our “tendons” bind us together, giving us a place to live in society, yet its flexibility allows ourselves to give each other the grace and compassion to be ourselves. As a whole, the model shows our interrelationships. How when we don’t live up to our destiny, how when we don’t have strong, flexible relationships those we interact with, the consequences have great impact, six degrees away.
Now, we must all fear evil men. But there is another kind of evil which we must fear most, and that is the indifference of good men.
I find that the dance subculture has been setup to imbue society with with dance in an authoritarian way not unlike how religion has been set up to imbue society with spirituality. Like any other religious institution, it has its leaders and followers, its deities and devils, its virtues and sins, its nuns and monks, its churches and holy sites, its inquisitors and missionaries, its prophets and heretics. It paves its road to salvation with a structure of rules, regulations and expectation. The mere existence of the organization subconsciously creates an ‘us vs them’ mentality which ultimately runs contrary to the implicit goal of normalization.
Dance, much like spirituality belongs to the people, not institutions. The road to salvation comes from a personal journey. It is a deep reflection coming from within and is ultimately expressed through living life authentically. As such I wish to teach people not only the “what” but the “how” and “why”. I wish to give people the tools to learn and experience the fruits of their own self discovery. For when they find their own truth, they are able make it a part of themselves— to embody it through and through. This necessarily means saying “no” to a one size fits all structure and encouraging students to embrace their personal self as the truth detector. To listen to what their heart resonates with the most.
I acknowledge there is inherent truth which is in the root of what the subculture brings forth that should not be thrown out. My complaint is that when followers mistake their accoutrements as the primary teachings, they become hard, inflexible, and miss the point entirely. The rote steps of salvation is confused with what is salvation. The choreography of dance is confused with dancing itself. People are worshiping the god of Swing, god of Salsa, god Tango, when the only true god is the god of dance who encompasses all, who lives in us all. Ultimately, to truly dance is to worship yourself. It is to free yourself, to throw your soul into the wind, to be amongst all the powerful forces, all the powerful gods and proclaim your existence as one of the them. The gods.
The life I live is a life of metaphor. Everything speaks to me in metaphors; for without words, how else can we communicate? The flora, the fauna. The bones, the organs. The cells, the atoms. The winds, the rains. The earth, the stars. God is in everything, in everyone. He speaks in metaphor, not in words, and in every metaphor he always shows that we are all interdependent, we are all One living his divine will.
Marina Abramović is a performance artist. In this clip, she is in the middle of sitting for 700+ hours when her former lover, Ulay, sat down.
Question: Have you ever doubted yourself?
Marina Abramović: In my emotional life. Never in my artistic.
Stress is a resistance to what is
Some people paint themselves, to pretend, to mask, to transform their form. As if the ink could penetrate the thin skin, penetrate the corporeal body and ignite change within.
Some people embrace their soul, to be, to become, to radiate their spirit. As if welcoming the heart could electrify the air and inspire the courage to change the world.
Sometimes I wish I could record my thought process rather than writing them out after the fact. There is something pure in the moment of discovery, the moment of revelation that goes missing by the time I reach a pen and paper.
When I go out social dancing I like to sit back and scan the crowd. Walking. Feel the vibe of the room. I find that I must find the pulse of the room before I can really settle down and come alive. Each dance hall has a different heart, each night the souls create a different rhythm. The parts joint into a whole with a unique energy in which I need to find a place to insert myself.
Tonight, what I saw on the dance floor was a great escape. An environment in which people come together and escape their world, their bodies, their minds. Here they come to jostle like lottery balls waiting for the song to end. I see it in their bodies, their movements, their thinking faces, their short breaths. Fear. Running away from fear. A hope that they are running fast enough. Am I doing it right? Does my partner like it? Uncertainty. In their desire to please their partner, how can they please themselves?
It in this frantic environment which I choose my dance. I want to create my own venue which has none of this nervous energy. I find these nights draining. It’s hard not to when everyone, including my partner yelling so loud. I feel their tension. Their fear. A mass of knots, of clenched muscles, of future cancerous growth. It pains me. I’m here to dance, and to dance I must connect with my partner. Feel what they feel, see what they see. With all this weighing them down, how can I dance my dance? How can I experience joy when there is no space for it?
I wish we can dance to enter within. To be ourselves. To have a conversation, not of “Am I doing it right?” but a discussion of “Together, let’s do something great”. How can we open up our dance to this conversion? A connection of two souls who have the strength to be themselves own, yet have the conscious awareness to lift the other up? Perhaps this isn’t dancing, but then than what is?