In December 2014 I went to Norway to teach an old piece I created many years ago for Takeshi and me. In that duet there is a moment we both have our eyes closed and in a disturbing, confusing, and in times indulging sequence of contact we hold each other noses. We struggle with each other and with having no air, trying to deal with what intimacy can sometimes create- a sense of comfort, suffocation and challenge.
While teaching this duet to the beautiful dancers in Norway I decided I have to create a piece about breath. At that time I didn’t know why, I couldn’t explain and I didn’t want to. For hours, during the dark nights of Norway, I was surfing in the Internet, listening to stories of people experiencing having no air, of struggling to breath. I listened to people’s instructions of how it’s best to breath. I read about panic attack, about drowning, about babies who were just born and started breathing, I read stories of old people who died when inhaling and others who died exhaling. These stories became like my heroin, my oxygen. I felt hungry, I wanted more. I felt breathless.
I came back from Norway and started to work on my new project – Air Hunger. For weeks I didn’t know why I am doing it and what to do with it, and then one day it hit me.
Since the last 10 years in London, all I did was escaping the need to suspend. No suspension in London. There isn’t time nor space for it. Once suspending the ‘process of becoming’ is in danger. So embodied it is, that even when leaving London, the sense of emergency takes over. It takes over so much that suspending becomes collapsing. Suspension is intense, it’s indulging, it opens the gaze, the torso, it stretches the chest, it requires to inhale, it requires to exhale, it challenges balance, trust, connectivity to the floor to ones’ body. Suspension allows interaction, which allows intimacy, which allows reflection, which allows breath.
For the last two months every Sunday I am forced to think about breath. It’s like learning from the beginning how to breath. Actually it is more – it is to make a decision whether one choses to breath. It’s a decision, and it requires courage. It requires training. It’s painful. There is an empty space, alas, empty! A sudden quiet that re challenge intimacy, connectivity, and simplicity.
Let me end with a story. I was sitting in café the other day and I could not NOT hear a conversation between two women. This is what I heard: ‘so you see, I go there at least once a week, it doesn’t matter if it’s cold or not, and I jump into the water and it’s freezing, fucking freezing. And I can’t breath for a few second, and then I have to think very carefully about my breath. Every inhale and every exhale count, cause if I do too much or too less I really feel the cold, and oh my god! It’s fucking cold. And I feel so alive in those moments; I don’t know what it is, all I do is thinking about my breath… ONLY thinking about how to breath. Go figure’.
And there I was, suspend, suspending, suspended…