Dance Deadwood dance
Dear Deadwood, 10 April 2022
Yesterday I visited a forest that had been struck by a large forest fire, the largest wildfire in Swedish history. Eight years after the burn, the place is still in silence. No trees. Just burned trees that eventually fell. My whole body shut down as we entered this area. Birds? Maybe one or two, but silent.
Man makes monoculture that has no resilience. A monoculture of a production forest, football fields of the same aged trees. If this had been an old forest some trees would have coped through the fire. In this instance how do you, a place of diversity and growth, come back when we need the old trees to teach us, we need them to show us the way. In a monoculture, all trees have the same age. As the planted forest burns the three crowns stretch across and make a burning field in the sky, with no Interruption, no cooling leaf tree to calm the heat.
When soil is burnt into the ground. We know from our own skin. We will eventually heal but if the skin is without its natural components what chances do we have?The fire can roam freely as the wind takes various directions. Nothing is left untouched. Now we leave you alone after the fire but the burning is after monoculture, a destruction. Two devastating events one after the other. Now we say: you can heal yourself, now we say we leave you alone, but without the old system does the place know-how? Will the place patch itself without its protective ground? I guess that’s all we can do, to leave you alone, give your intelligence a chance to come back. Come come and see, come and feel the destruction that man has caused land. Come and see it for real. The dance paused, we all paused and now we come back, but without rhythm, without a beat, without music.
Dear Deadwood, 29 march 2022
We met at Halltorps Hage for a slower dance. The old oak’s body is very worn and the standing dead has an appearance that is rare as the old bark runs like a deep furrow vertically through the tree. The movement here is unrushed. Birds make a backdrop to a waking season. A slower motion through mulm as the lava inside your body will wake. What movement can we be in as a leather beetle wakes after four years inside the oak tree?
After months of sleep and four years as a larva, the body emerges as another being. A shiny armor. another movement, new functions. One hundred and one red-listed beetles have their residence here as part of you. In this wake, we are in slow action. Movements are coming out of your very body like a stretch in a dance rehearsal. What is the next step of läderbagge and purporsop, what’s the lesson of gammelekslav?
As you are present since the fifteenth century – a witness, as a landscape shift. Can you teach me about intersections? About a biodiversity system that gives way to another dance, a reflective search for a new walk? This walk would be a walk that carries the body as in a habitus, a body in the landscape rooted throughout the landscape. The body is not an individual stem, but rather a ‘mulm’ to enrich place and practice.
Thanks to the slower action, I felt clumsy with my stiff walk as an entry to the work of the movement but my bones soften.
Dear deadwood, 28 march 2022
You are a complex system, the dance goes through your bodily structure in a very different way, as your impulses are not centralised by a brain. We are similar in many ways. I like the idea of the many in a microsystem, in a body. The idea of hosting rather than ‘I am the owner of my bodily construction’. As movement, practice has to adapt to “the many” in your microbiome. In a beautiful way, we enter a non-controlling pattern that adapts to place and landscape. Through dance, I want to manifest that action, in listening practice.
In the system where you are present, you are, in an intrinsic way, defining patterns and rhythm. I have not felt this pattern when first getting to know you. At first, I felt sorry for your decomposition in your state of being. We looked down on you as poor fragmentation and as waste. Your complexity and movement were unknown. We laughed at your very name, ‘Deadwood’. So now after an introduction to a new dance, I feel ashamed.
I am tired, my mouth reshaped, as a wrinkle among other wrinkles, a worried tone, trembling as it made its mark. No sound: only an internal vibration. It must be so nice to be deadwood, without a mouth. To not always have to speak and make sense of words. It must be so nice to just surrender to a bodily voice and a language situated in the system of change. I long for that voice. Thank you for today’s session.
Dear Deadwood, 1 march 2022
Who is deadwood? A visitor asked me at the opening of the Art Center. Deadwood is the dance teacher I answered. Yes, the dance is important in this work, how we all move together and how we make up the place. I tried to explain different dances. The material movement dance of branches and tree trunks, the plant to human microbiome movement practice, the somatic sensing experience, and the dance of letting go. It was hard to explain what the dance really is. I think I succeeded in bringing a certain curiosity, I hope so. He took some steps and I felt encouraged.
Dear Deadwood, 8 december 2021
I want to learn how to develop a platform that decomposes the finished art piece. Different ways of seeing, feeling, and experiencing you. I know, it sounds a bit upside-down, but is it not right to say it is about time we brought some light to your forest floor. I would like to maintain openness in our process and dance moves according to the nature of the place. I feel odd to ask you this, as I am sure you are already there, seeing, and understanding new perspectives. Your connection differs from mine and I understand that your form and the ways you communicate follow a completely different system.
This is what I mean, this non-brain material you are working on. Not a machine, not an animal, not a subject. Well, how can I even introduce your being to others? At the same time, you are naturally in that dance of change, and that is what interests me. What happens after, after rupture, after the storm. What happens then?
I am tired now, I have an overall feeling I can not hear you fully, your logic confuses my words. Much easier to dance our connectivity. Then that distance disappears. I am desperately in need of more lessons as I can feel cold winds now. I guess it is the time of the season, I try to accept this time of rest.
Dear Deadwood, 2 November 2021
I am so pleased you accepted to teach me to move. At this moment I am curious about who you are and how I can learn from you. I have agreed with daily contact and findings of your very material to make up a rhythm and also to study your system and the way you live and move and disintegrate. I think it is so different from other dances I can not think up any structure or score or notation. From heavy to light. From full body to fragment. Your different time zones and your sense of location. Those different steps can tell me something about now and about how to move slower and to keep up a whole internal space as the bark holds everything together. The first place that comes to mind is the place between an oak and two ash at Sättra on Öland in Utmarken. I think about how we can move there as there are many of you all around. The hazel circles, their stems in wide circular patterns, and oak pulses with seasonal change. That was the beginning in a way when I found you first inside the circles of hazel it was the start of us getting to know each other. I know this sounds a bit corny, but meeting you there and watching you move changed something in me. The fact that in your circle the young, the mature, the old – and the dead stand together to make a slow circular movement. I became curious about how you did it and how you were, in all those times, and at the same time in the same body. I remember thinking I wanted to dance like you.