There’s a song I’ve been playing for the past few days. It’s a song I grew up with, I remember listening to it on the radio, and I remember one Saturday morning when I was little, sitting in the kitchen of our apartment in Rishon (in Israel), eating yoghurt and making faces into the spoon as the song was playing in the background.
I can describe images from that day: the brown rug that hung on the wall behind me; the green plant with long leaves that sat on the kitchen table; the sunlight that was filtered through the washing swinging wildly outside our small side window, almost winking at me in between our collective underwear; the shape of the spoon with its bent angle, which I deliberately bent some more; the view I had from my chair onto my open bedroom door and my parents’ closed door as my mother slept; my swinging feet and white socks with a frilly pink border. I’m not sure I would have remembered these things if it wasn’t for the sound of the song in the background. Quite literally, the sound comes before the sights with these memories.
And so, when I play the song now, I have this rush of homesickness. I’m not sure if it’s a general homesickness for Israel, or a specific homesickness for this particular apartment – the first place I can truly remember loving.
I thought about all these things as I read about Love is Blind by Russell Dumas, the first in a series of dance pieces that aim to explore the relationship between dance and music: “Music directly impacts on human emotions and this affects how we feel, how we breathe and consequently, how we see. The work investigates the intricate relationship between sight and sound and the somewhat surprising way that hearing trumps seeing.” This is not a review, but a personal reaction to the concept behind Love is Blind.
I can’t write very well about music, although I want to. I can deconstruct images well because I’ve been doing that in my work. But rather than deconstructing, I want to reconstruct what music makes me see. I’m not sure this is possible. I guess that’s why Dumas’ work, and the premise behind it, instinctively appealed to me; the idea of physical bodies on the stage exploring how our senses talk to each other through music, almost recreating it. While this may sound airy-fairy, and while I’m aware my imperfect way of talking about it is probably making it sound rather pretentious, I honestly think the idea behind Love is Blind is a grounded attempt to depict basic human emotion.
When Deborah Jowitt reviewed Dumas’ work, she wrote two things that caught my attention. The first one is: “you feel the choreography as a warm current of motion that the dancers are guiding through their bodies”. And the second one: “I almost hoped the five superb dancers would keep going until the night had fully fallen, and we’d all be together, listening to the darkness”. Similarly, as I’m playing that song in the background, I feel that warm current through my body like a movement, and when it comes to an end and I know the last piano note is about to be played, it feels like I’m listening to the dark with somebody I can’t see. The images come then, and I remember that first home. This is so basic, it’s almost cliché to describe it. But it’s what I like about works that aim to explore concepts and sensory engagement. They’re both profound and instinctively basic.
If you’d like to find out more about Love is Blind or go see it, all the details are on the Dancehouse website. Thanks to Dancehouse for contacting me about this.
All images are used here with permission from Dancehouse. They depict Russell Dumas’ show Love is Blind and were taken during Dance Massive last year.