“Getting out of your comfort zone”: when art makes no sense.

When an evening puts your openness and your relationship with art and chaos into perspective, an evening of improvisation “Between movements and words” takes place at the Circle in Quebec. I motivate myself, seek the mobility of being without thinking.

“Are you studying art at university?”
I laughed. Not at all. I study management. Their eyes of contemporary dancers I meet widen: “Interesting! But what are you doing here? Did you come to improvise there like that in front of everyone? “Yes, I thought that was the principle of the evening actually… They’ve been surprised a few times. “No, but you’re right, you’re brave, I don’t know if I could….” Well, come on, I’m surrounded by dancers who don’t dare to dance? I started to panic.
The words. Micro improvisation.
One of the two organizers, the actor, imbues us with his instantly invented poetry. He added to his sewn, disjointed, suspended, severe, sharp lyrics, the music launched by the mixer. We all sit quietly in front of them. I quickly understand that no one wants to get into the “movement” part of this evening.
Movements. Fear in its tracks.
I’m getting up. I’ll sit on the stage. I’m lying down. The spotlight comes on above me. Great… they could have stayed off. That would have worked out… There? I am on a stage in front of 10 professional artists, lights in full face, and the actor’s words who continues to improvise “Princess, heart, glitter”. I hear nothing else. My heart beats ten thousand in my ears. Sweaty palms. The thoughts that flow. And my whole body wants to move and yet remains to lie on the ground. I decided to turn around, lie on my stomach and move my legs—a shy start. Then, with closed eyes, some fearful attempts sprouted. I lost all notion of space. I no longer know where I am placed on the stage, in which direction the audience is. I sometimes open my eyelids to catch a glimpse of the surroundings so as not to end up in the background…

It wasn’t terrific. My paralyzed body wanted to overcome its fears.
“Getting out of your comfort zone”, it’s in moments like this that you understand the full extent of this phrase. I haven’t come all this inner way to keep my butt sitting on a chair when all I have is one desire: to dance! I haven’t reiterated all these times that you have to support yourself to be intimidated by (perceived) external pressures. It didn’t kill me. I finished sitting on stage, feeling limited and tired. I looked at the dancer below, who had finally launched herself.
The moment the evening turned upside down was that unlikely moment when a youngster jumped into the microphone.
Instead of talking, singing, noisy, whatever, he rubbed the mic over every surface he could find. I observed the astonished gaze of the organizers, who were quickly able to adapt and enter his world. A little overwhelmed by what I was offered, I finally ordered a glass of wine. The alcohol helped to gain height and lightness. I watched the coins, the keyrings, the microphone wire, the floor, the jeans, the tablecloth become sound elements. The way the participants greeted this wholly unexpected and quirky scene created radically different energy in me. A strange moment when the group accepts the strangeness, which therefore becomes “normal”.
Destabilized and inspired successive realizations.
I was the most minor “artist” of all the people around me.
Do you think – I think – that I am an artist because I write a few lines of thoughts and feelings? I have no imaginary power. I am completely limited by my realistic vision and my experiential awareness. If I don’t live it, it has no control of inspiration over me.
Remembering my modern jazz years, for me, movement drives intention.
Where the majority of other dances seek the aesthetics of a well-done gesture, contemporary dance stands out. Modern dance has the sole objective of interpretation. Movement is at the service of the body through which a message is delivered. Action is at the benefit of the notice. This could be a shrug, a twitching leg, a frantically blinking eyelid. It may not have been aesthetic or well done, for that matter. The message is not (necessarily) rational. It’s not so much to understand the news as it is just to see it and live it. The mind draws very powerful boundaries, excluding any creative force emerging from chaos.
I don’t hang out enough with artists who have this way of living, thinking, imagining, or creating so differently!
We are all creative, I’m sure, but many don’t make it a profession, a way of life and a building. Art is not only on Sundays in museums, at night on TV on Arte, on vacations to paint, write, dance. Art is a way of looking at the world, of experiencing the world. Why would these artists and these artistic expressions be more “crazy” than us? Why would a contemporary ballet, which perhaps makes no logical sense in our pragmatic view, be stranger than seeing numbers scrolling all day long on a screen in La Defense or Wall Street? The two are incomprehensible to me. Can I accept this misunderstanding? Welcome chaos?
Art, when it is not intended to convey meaning, comes closest to our humanity.
It is by the simple fact of existing. “I am because I am”. How many times have I been told:
“Well, no Marion, we don’t understand where you want to take us. You can’t hold your readers hostage like this. What is the point of this scene in this story? We need a context, a guideline”.
I’m sorry, but it doesn’t come with a frame. What I see and feel do not come with a notice, rules, or a standard to apply. I write it because it simply has the merit of existing, going through me, and being. Can we just for two minutes stop trying to find an explanation for everything?
Who cares if the character is blond or dark, the name of his parents, the country where he lives, why he is in such a situation, whether in the past or the future, the reason for his behavior! The character lives. He gives you a story, a moment, an emotion. Could you take it as it is? We are so committed to understanding everything around us that we have laid down rules to follow, even in art! Techniques, names, frameworks. If you respect them, it’s okay. Otherwise, it’s wrong.
At this precise moment, I realize that writing is one more tool that allows me to use my sense of rationality…
… to analyze, to explain, to seek meaning. Right now, I want to give it all up and do something else. To deconstruct, bring chaos to my writing, nonsense to my situations, incomprehension in my characters.
Dancing and speaking are risk-taking.
Do you think I’m indulging behind my screen calculating the comma and the correct word? I could tell you any moment in my life, from the darkest to the most embarrassing, it will never be as engaging as asking me to dance or sing. Movement and voice are expressions emanating from our body. It requires the involvement of all of his energy, of all of his intellectual, emotional, physical, and whole being. The movement and the voice are gifts of oneself, gifts, great stripping. It is the shortest path between what is inside of us and what is outside. It is developing an intimate awareness of your body and its environment. It is almost a dangerous act of vulnerability that turns into a supreme connection with the whole. Some people told me about a trance that night.

I spent the rest of the evening in awe.
Like a child who discovers an aspect of life unknown until now. Unknown because it is not very accessible but above all, because it is not understood. My senses misunderstood me. Misunderstood because my mind is far too strong to let go and admit that there is some form of intelligence in the chaos, in the intangible, in the heart of the rational void. An intelligence superior to the incomprehensible. What I don’t understand hides mysteries and opens doors to the invisible universe of possibilities.

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