I have recently been playing with the idea of submitting. And, no this is not related to Fifty Shades of Grey, I have neither read the books or seen the film, and therefore is not inspired by either. Rather, it has been buoyed by a couple things that I have noticed, heard or experienced over the past year or so, and has therefore led me to the conclusion that submission in dance is perhaps something we should explore more.
Inspiration number one– When learning rep from Rosas at the P.A.R.T.S summer school we had to repeat the same sections over and over again. This naturally was frustrating, monotonous and ultimately hardwork. I remember, Ripp and I had to repeat this jump section over and over again- this also involved a lot of running… we were completely wrecked afterwards. However, Laureline, one of our fellow workshop dancers, and a Flying Low teacher in Europe told me that you have to find ‘pleasure in the repetition’.
At first I didn’t really understand this. How could you find pleasure repeating the same thing over and over again? Yet, when I think about it now, especially with rehearsal period after reading week, submitting to the notion that things will have to be repeated multiple times whether I like or not means that I can find ways to wreak pleasure in the movement. There is nothing I can do about repeating material so I might as well use it as a tool to embody the movement more, and to find areas I can play with. In this respect, submission manifests through a mental state.
Inspiration number two- In the single class of Gaga we had in January, we had to move our shoulders without bending our elbows for a long time. Predictably, this meant there was a large amount of lactic acid building up between our shoulder blades, creating that dull ache you get when you hold a position for too long. However, when we moved onto the next task there was such a nice spreading warmth in my back space, that made the struggle to hold the position totally worth it.
So, submitting to the pain of holding the position actually had a positive outcome- I found myself in a place that if I had shied away from I would never have reached. I think this mindset is also beneficial in general class, submitting to the inevitable and using it to find new and exciting places. Although, I want to make it clear that I don’t think we, as dancers, should become a movement submissive. There is a time to submit, and a time to take control. But, especially for me who very much sees dancing as controlling movement down to the very last detail, it could be interesting to flip this, and let the movement take me, to guide me.
Submitting not submissive.