Going out of my place, out in the city, out where the wind blows, it’s December, already.
Going out into the silence (‘the streets aren’t for dreaming now’), I fly over.
I see the night birds hiding under the passer by’s coat, cold cold moon.
Behind the street lamp there is a dawn of a day.
And still no sign
I listen to the rhythmical sound of shoes
Hurrying down the highway
The quiet humming will soon fade
I wave back at the man and turn my head to the clouds
I’m not sure I remember how I got here, in the first place
–Choreographing the city, during curfew hours
Dozens of lives in my room
As I pass across my bedroom an old woman lies resting in my bed. Never seen her before and she seems to feel like home. Outside my window a little boy climbs up the branches of a tree I never knew it existed. On my kitchen table there is soup waiting not for me and a mom cuts my bread with her always loving fingers. A man passes right next to me, pushes me aside and says ‘excuse me’. Then, he plunges his hand in his pocket, takes out a hanky and wipes his nose. My living room is crowded with people. I see an old man digging in my drawers, throwing my books off the shelves, he is anxiously looking for something. He is spitting out words from the past, he is ugly as hell and smells like a shipwreck. Along the corridor and in the bathroom, there are men and women, some of them blurry portraits of an unknown painting, others sly market people, gossipers and talkers, their man-eating tongues ready to lick and swallow anything that comes their way. An old beggar, a poor one-legged devil, what is left of the War, whispers for a penny. Then, he jumps on my desk and sings “L’Internationale”. On my couch a woman shows her beauty and a poet dies of his broken heart. All my belongings are thrown out of the window, for the rebels to build barricades. Whatever is too heavy the younger ones burn it down to a big fire that lightens up the house. I sit nearby and warm my hands.
*The picture is from: Franklin E. (1996). Dance Imagery for Technique and Performance (p. 129). United States of America: Human Kinetics.
Discussing ‘encounters’ with my personal community of dancers, actors and actresses.
Used to act among others, together as a whole in order for a performance to happen, the community of performing arts found itself in a difficult situation.
My friends, dancers, actors and actresses, live within the community of their art group. Like football players or members of an orchestra, they, too, are part of a whole. This community is normally on the road all day. They rehearse, read or write plays, look for grants, rehearse, move around the city with a backpack full of sweaty clothes and negotiate percentages with theater administrations, rehearse, put on performances and rehearse again. Somewhere there, probably during a rehearsal, the lockdown happened.
A first round of quarantine online meetings showed we all agree on at least one point: the lockdown hurts. The bodies of dancers and actors, by abstaining from lessons and rehearsals, accustomed to an intense daily activity, ache.
As for all the rest, these social subjects have long been fish out of water. In the first quarantine it became common to watch actors, musicians and dancers practicing their art from home, with the aim of comforting, encouraging, inspiring and entertaining the audience, declaring a strong ‘present’. The arts were still there for us, even without a ticket, even from home.
Internationally well-known dance companies created videos, with their dancers adapting to the squares and traps of their homes, often in a light and comedic way, while social reality became increasingly harsh, increasingly uncertain, in matters of labor, social security, health and healthcare and in the end, survival. In Greece, within a short time, a large number of artists lost their jobs. Productions were canceled, small art venues closed, dance and theater classes stopped, while the state remains, until now, silent on the demand for state support for art.
It is members of this community I have asked to tell me about the meaning of ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ during quarantine. The goal is to create a collective performance, which will consist of the distant voice, aesthetics and opinions of my friends.
The two texts, ‘Stepping into’ and ‘Dozens of lives in my room’, that I have posted, is my personal reflection, for the ‘outside’ that is forbidden and for the ‘inside’ that is growing. Out on the street, at night, during the curfew, when we do not go out, some people do. Apart from taxis and ambulances, who else is there? On the other hand, friends, relatives, books, movies, performances, memory, imagination, working hours, collaborators we do not like, the history of the world are now gathered at home. Lots of people for a few square meters, no matter how big a house one has.
I shared the texts with my friends, dancers, actors and actresses, as a common starting point, as the beginning of a dialogue.