It´s sunny here in Chincha and we have had a very busy week! Finally a few evenings ago I had the chance to reflect on this week´s experiences.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what actually happens when you make things happen. For me, it usually starts with a vision of some sort. I can’t quite tell you exactly how or what, but it just appears. It brews for a while, then you start making contacts, some more brewing happens and then suddenly 6 months later you’re on a local Peruvian television station talking about why it’s important to dance. What happens in between is messy, exiting and often very complicated. In the last few days, I’ve come to realise how important it is to surround yourself and work with YES people. I tend to be a YES person, unless I’m hungry, tired or having to get on an airplane (then I’m a cheese-with-my-whiiiiiine person). If someone has an idea – yes, great! Let’s do it! YES people aren’t afraid to fail, because at least they said yes in the first place. If a YES-person can’t make it happen, it’s usually followed by a BUT – I know this person who can/what if we/how about we do this instead. Most of the time, if stuff then doesn’t happen it’s because they ran into a no-person with more power or worse, more money along the way. The team we work with from Social Creativa are all YES people. It makes it really exiting to talk about the future, because no one says no, which means everything is possible and that can only be exiting!
During our second flashmob here in Chincha, we ran into a no-person. We had received permission to use the local square once again, had planned a longer flashmob and had managed to recruit more dancers. Just as we were about to start, we got told by some “higher” level security personal, that we couldn’t use the square because our permission wasn’t in writing.
I got absolutely furious. We went on TV to promote this event, we have a video live on the internet with the routine and 20 or more young adults turning up to do a dance to an innocent Taylor Swift song and you’re going to say NO without any reasoning? The claws came out and for the first time I felt very frustrated by the language barrier.
Seriously. We are trying to dance. To Taylor Swift. For 10 minutes. In a public space. No profanities and no one harmed (Even if you’re a Belieber, NO ONE harmed).
Your argument is invalid. End of.
As I attempted to speak to the security guard and showed him images from our last flashmob (which took place in the same location), I also felt heavily discriminated against. I had a similar experience when I was rehearsing for an opera in late 2015, where again, I had permission but no paper. People in uniforms have this tendency to take serious offence to my “bad” attitude. Perhaps I do have a bad attitude, but only when people in uniforms try and stop my team from dancing. Emily and I had a conversation about feminist arts practise just a day earlier, and although I am not personally fond of feminism as a thematic exploration, I subscribe to a heavily feminist approach to getting stuff done. So let me tell you this; I don’t care about your uniform, what language you speak or how important you are. I might be blond and blue eyed with long legs, wearing a t-shirt with a pink handprint, but when you speak to me, you look me in the eyes, not past me. You respect me as if I were your colleague and you do not, under any circumstances, laugh at me. Understood?
I don’t understand at what point DANCE maker turned into TROUBLE maker? To quote McGregor, we’re just “misbehaving beautifully” and hold your horses, along the way we might create a pretty dance piece that might mean something to the people that dance or view it.
Cathy Marston, Crystal Pite, Julia Gleich, Tamara Rojo, Rosie Kay, Holly Blakey; So much trouble. You know. SO much trouble.
(Notice how I didn’t mention Akram Khan? It’s certainly too late to say sorry because baby, now we’ve got bad blood.)
Our team of yes-people found a solution and although at best, we only reached 10% of our potential audiences, our dancers were happy because they got a chance to dance.
Moral of this story is: some twatface with a uniform is always going to try stop you. When that happens, cross the street, plug in your speaker at an old lady’s home and do your thing, because guess what?
The haters gonna hate, the breakers gonna break and we’re just gonna shake, shake, shake, SHAKE it off.
Ps. You’re better off on the YES-team.