jana1: how do you feel?
jana2: I dont know. I am in Freiburg, on a residency at Südufer. I try to work on breathing with all this background I have in dance and choreography, in artistic research.
jana1: what do you mean by artistic research?
jana2: difficult question. not sure what you want me to answer now. I can tell that there is a clear difference being here in Freiburg, instead of being in Helsinki. In Helsinki people are very very well informed on artistic research because there is a third cycle in the arts at the local art school. Here in Freiburg is even not a Bachelor in dance or live art or choreography. It feels a bit freeing to be in Freiburg. I am less worried of not doing the right thing, or not quoting the right person.
jana1: sounds nice. as a frame to work, I mean.
jana1: what did you do today?
jana2: I was actually moving in the studio. I have not been moving in a dance studio for many many years. I have not been in a dance studio for my own work for almost 6 years. my motherhood and finishing my doctorate had left little space for that. But today, after having brought my small (second) daughter to my dad, I came at Südufer and started moving. I am not sure if I was dancing, but I was moving. It was interesting. My body remembered immediately how I had moved six years ago. I mean: there was the same Haltung to myself then like before. I moved in accordance with my breath. I relied on my experience with Ilse Middendorf breath work. I practice this on and off since 2003. So, this morning I moved guided by my breath and my performative Haltung and interest. I keep liking „still acts“ (Lepecki). Then, I doubted myself and thought that maybe I needed some music. But music exhausts me so quickly when moving. And also, I lost connection with my breathing.
jana2: is this where Kate Bush – the video you posted above – came in?
jana1: ja. I liked the video, because Kate Bush seemed to have worried for war and destruction of the world and out of anxiety she wrote that song „breathing“.
jana2: why are you interested in the topic of breath?
jana1:when I discovered the middendorf work in 2003, it was clearly therapeutic. It was a way to recreate some corporal flow , some contact to myself that I did not have at that time. Now, when I practice Middendorf, I still get a sense of empowerment. I guess, to a degree working on breathing, and that includes doing breathing , helps me to deal with anxieties. Practicing breathing and thinking about breathing the world cracks less quickly; I keep a clearer connection what is around me. I have to think of the PhD of Magdalena Gorska, that I started to read more carefully this morning. Or: I started to read more carefully the second chapter, on breath in relation to anxieties and panic attacks.
„Anxieties distort reality – not into an “improper,” “broken,” “failed” representation of reality in the traditional, stigmatizing and devaluing meaning of these terms. In my experience, they distort reality by cracking open spaces for the actualities and potentialities of difference, and in doing so enact multiple ways of being in the world. They are protective, resistive and political in breaking the world down. They are forces of failure that challenge expectations in order to enact vulnerability as a possibility. Anxieties enact a deviation from the norm, which I see – as it will be discussed later – not as a space for stigmatization and pathologization but as a reconfiguration, an opening for possibilities of change, for norm breaking and for spaces of multiplicity and resistance within apparatuses of hegemonic normativity – deviation which simultaneously is not simply joyful and happy but often excruciatingly painful, hopeless, tormenting, destructive and scary.“ (Gorska, Magdalena. Breathing Matters. http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:930676/FULLTEXT04.pdf (last retrieved December 5th 2019).
jana2: nice quote. but what has that to do with what you did today in the studio?
jana1: hm. I find it interesting to transpose this concern of anxieties as „forces of failure“ into the context of stage and stage fear.
jana1: I guess, when reading what Gorska writes and thinking how I have felt terrible about performing, of showing up on stage, it helps me to kind of deal and accept my fear of showing up in the moment when people are watching – like in a theater performance situation. I m not sure if that makes sense to you. does it?
jana2: I think it does. I need to think a bit about it.
But I think it does.
jana1: I gotta go now. I hope my English was kind of ok. I mean, I am not a native speaker but living in Helsinki and doing work always in that type of international English, it just felt „natural“ to rather have this conversation in English instead of in German.
jana2: no worries. see you.