http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9f/Gauguin_-_R%C3%BCckenakt.jpgIn the changing room. S is a doctor. I feel hostility and defensiveness, marked by my wish to quote “Nurse Jackie”, the British woman doctor: “When you were young, you found a bird with a broken wing and nursed it back to health. When I was young, I found a frog, and cut it open to see how it worked.” We have desultory polite conversation, then I leave. Later, someone remarks how attractive he is. Mmm. Yes, I suppose so.

We were dancing in a beautiful location, The Bridge School, Islington. It is a state school for pupils with special needs, and we had use of a dance studio, lobby and a small room for changing. The building is imposing from outside, and we go in past the swimming pool. The dance studio has one part with a soft rubbery floor covering, and one part sprung wood- I thought it not sprung until I saw it vibrate. A mirror covers one wall, with a barre. Curtains cover it today- it would make us “self-conscious” in the usual sense, how we look, how (horrors) we might appear to others, and take us away from consciousness of self, and feelings. In front of the curtain, someone has made an altar.

I sense the feel of the room. That white shutter, opposite the barre, feels cold, and I do not want to approach it. Then I do, and find it is a serving hatch, though the shutter goes down to the floor. That is OK. Others are stretching, but there is too much of the numinous here for me, yet: I go into the lobby to decompress a bit. There is a huge papier mache skull and cactus. There are things to walk over or pass through or stand in, in the darkness, which make relaxing sounds.

Back inside, to stretch. Then I lie face down and have a wee cry: as often, it makes me more present. Sue invites me to stand, and we dance together for a bit, which she finds beautifully connected. After my intense cry that afternoon, she asks if I can participate in the next exercise. “When you are as spiritually advanced as I am, you will realise that I may only say that in the moment I come to participate”- and she giggles, and makes exaggerated obeisance movements. But, generally, we are wordless.

Sunday afternoon, we watched the film Sacred Monsters. Here is an excerpt. I thought it a bit of a swizz to have a spiritual weekend, and watch a video, but the dancing is beautiful. At her invitation, I shared S’s sheepskin and blanket, and when I lay down she took my head in her lap, which delighted and calmed me. I feel weak and fragile and foolish with these people, and it is good to be here.

Sue suggested we take the silence outside. So, Monday morning I was silent with J, who had put me up. Before we were silent together, I started to say “I think we should not touch, because that will make it a different experience”- but only managed the first two words. Let us not make rules for it. So we were silent together, and did not touch, which would just have become cuddling. We went for a walk, and played together on the roundabout in the swing park. It had a beautiful, smooth action.

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