My hair is glad to be freed from straightening devices and my skin is pleased to be getting (a little) vitamin D. My imagination is constantly being tested by architecture, sculpture, people watching and gesture. People, even when I try to communicate in Dutch respond in crystal clear English (they struggle with my accent often even though I try to iron out my lilts and twangs).
There is a very rude and selfish German boy staying at the same hostel as me and yet he genuinely does not see anything rude about his behaviour - I have watched him closely with rage and amusement.
And the dance... wow! It is so nice to be stretched (literally) in so many different ways. Due to injury I have not been dancing as much as I should have the past six months and I am so happy to feel my strength coming back quickly. I only wish my hip flexibility would rediscover itself with such speed!
Something I have observed, it may just be the circles I am moving in, is that there appears to be less focus on technique over here and far more focus on creativity/ processes. I am yet to be in a class where a tutor specifies a movement, is exacting about a position or even gives timing. Having spoken to many people in the classes I attend they are just beginning their movement training at fabulous sounding institutions in Berlin, Rotterdam and many other places but they are all the same age or older than me.
I have often been heard praising my decision to not start training until my late teens as I swear training any earlier may have hindered my creativity (although it would have certainly assisted my turn out) however I feel that technique does play a crucial part in a movement practitioners development. To a fundamental level I feel all dancers should be able to turn etc. Or should they not?
I think the realisation that in spite of not being at peek training I feel technically at the top of professional classes has scared me as although technically I am focussed it does not mean that I am 'getting' the class. I'm inspired by the ability of those surrounding me to just give themselves to the movement but I do feel that with just a little more understanding of line and facility they could push themselves harder and dance a stronger sequence.
A massive focus of the practitioners I have been training under is that you can only learn from doing and not from discussing alone. As a learner I tend to have to cognitively understand something before I truly get it so this has not assisted my struggle. However this had made me question my practice as an artist.
I have always know that I want my work to lie somewhere on the spectrum between pure dance and performance art. Either extreme I find too boring but feel that each has merit and combining concepts with physicality and where required grace can maintain the interest of an audience but can pull different audiences together in one work. But where does the movement I create lie on the spectrum?
At times it can be purely physical and blatantly dangerous (Sorry Sean, Sophia and Fiona who have appeared to have taken the brunt of this!) but I adore the power of gesture. I also don't agree with those who feel movement should be stripped of all technicalities; a well placed Jete can serve a purpose! I suppose the key lies in the subject matter, or does it? Many pieces I love don't really have a subject matter or it is loose at best.
Hmmm - I suppose for now I should just continue creating work with the 'I like it when I see it' approach but I would very much so like to be able to define a quality and explore it to its greatest depth but I am at a loss to define exactly my stylistic aims.
Fingers crossed, this time in Europe will continue to pose questions. I feel fortunate I am at such a stage in my career where I can also accept that I may not always agree with people and that this is okay. I younger more naive me would always assume I was incorrect for disagreeing with the majority or the big player but I have never once doubted the fact I don't like chips! (I really don't!) I suppose food is just less subjective and it's easier to understand your culinary decisions from a young age.
For now, less doubt and more discovery.... most difficultly for me, less questioning and just accepting.