Space and Closeness

Photo: © (c) Cristi Serban

For each of us, the Corona crisis has brought different challenges, existential worries, physical and social limitations, round-the-clock childcare, fear for democratic values and much more. And for some of us it has also been a time for introspection, re-assessment and downtime. Now we are in a transitional phase, many things are already possible again (depending on the country you live in), but many things are not.

At the moment, for me as a seminar leader, it is about finding studios that are big enough so that we can keep enough distance from each other and at the same time give space to the need for closeness and connection again. In the work with touch in dance we are challenged to find the balance, to find a balance between legal and personal precautions and the longing to express ourselves freely, to dance with each other.

What if we take the chance and deal with the fact that at the moment we can only do limited contact improvisation? What does this moment give us? For me, there are several levels of a research field where this opens up.

Space and Closeness

Space is one of the 4 elements of dance (space, time, body, force), which can be explored while dancing. The space we occupy with our body, the size of our movements, the direction, the closeness/distance to the other dancers, the different levels that give us different possibilities of movement and above all the space within us. The topic space gives us the possibility to be precise, e.g. in questions like

  • What impulses of movement arise when the size of the studio changes?
  • What qualities of time do I experience in relation to my movements in different rooms?
  • What expressions are revealed when I am more or less close to another person?
  • How much space do I need at the moment to be good with myself?
  • Which new spaces open up when the familiar is gone?

Closeness is essential when we work with touch and encounter. There are three levels: closeness to the Self, to others and to the environment. We usually limit ourselves in the examination of proximity to the Other, whereby proximity to the Self is the basis for everything I experience in the world and proximity to the environment (nature, cosmos, physical space, ...) can mean the expansion of my independence and meaning.

  • How much closeness is right for me at the moment?
  • If I want more closeness, how can I give it to myself?
  • What early childhood patterns do I have around the topic of touch (too little/too much?)
  • Can I be close to somebody and physically be apart?
  • How can I establish closeness to my environment?
  • Can nature be close to me?

What is clear is that there is an incredible potential in this confrontation between space and closeness and that we can use it to train ourselves, our bodies, our psyche, our perception and our awareness of encounter through many methods that are part of holistic dance and related fields.