Today we spent the day securing our spacing within the choreography and doing technical runs. Despite my previous pessimism the technical run was incredibly smooth, with minimal hiccups and no stops! This is definitely a first for me. Working without tape markers on the floor was also far easier than I had expected. In fact, the whole piece flowed incredibly well and there was a boyant atmosphere within the group.
During breaks I have had the pleasure of talking other members of the company about disability within dance, especially ‘invisible’ disability. There is a reoccurring theme of the need to take responsibility for you own body, something that many people struggle with. With an invisible disability it is incredibly tempting to try and ‘pass’ as able bodied, pushing yourself to work beyond your limits and comparing yourself to others. It is also very hard for a lot of people to disclose their disability to a teacher or choreographer, for fear of being treated differently. This can lead to all sorts of problems, as you begin to over strain your body, but don’t feel you can tell anyone or stop straining. Eek!!!
For me it is often a lack of energy that is my limitation. I want to give everything to every exercise, be stretching and practicing in every spare moment and do every run with 100% energy. This is probably unrealistic for the most able of able bodies, but for me with often severe fatigue it is destined to failure. When we start to perform our personal dances during the piece, starting from the feet and working through the body, I often want to move much more but within 30secs every bone doubles in weight and I’m desperate for a lie down.
It is only slowly that I am allowing myself to work more gently and take more rests. One of the problems with invisible disability is that often people don’t understand why you aren’t doing the movements ‘properly’, and put it down to laziness. Having been accused of this in the past I am reluctant to allow my body rest in case it is rad this way. However, I know I am doing no-one any favours my exhausting myself, and that if my body is healthy it will feel, look and dance far better.
Tomorrow we have a day off to rest and recoupeate before we start what will be an intense, but exciting, week. I cannot wait to get back to Tramway, let alone start to share our work with audiences.