Landing in the big metropolitan city of Buenos Aires, after having spent a few weeks in the smaller towns of Merida and Antigua where the traditional life is still very apparent, was a bit of a shock. Our great host, Martin Piliponski, an Argentinian modern dance teacher picked us up at the airport and told us immediately to not take money out of the cash machine – that they were going to take care of us. What that means is that Argentina functions on an official exchange rate and on about 4 unofficial ones. Only if you are an ‘insider’ you know what that means and you learn to not touch any official banks or cash machines… As we drove into the city, chatting away with our very friendly cab driver and Martin, we had to adjust our eyes to the fact that the landscape around us, and the houses looked VERY European, and the closer we got into the city the more we saw everyone looked like Europeans. It felt a bit as if we had arrived in Paris. Our flat was located in the more bohemian area of Buenos Aires, the so called ‘Palermo Soho’, with lots of small restaurants and cafes and artisan shops… and the day of our arrival, a Saturday seemed like any Saturday in any European city: quiet and sleepy with lots of people gathering in cafes.
Tired from our overnight flight and a bit overwhelmed by the generous hospitality of our friends here, we fell into bed, slept a few hours and afterwards enjoyed a beautiful lunch in a chic and delicious Finnish restaurant with our host, surrounded by young people, a very postmodern scene…
Then we went home and prepared the workshop for Sunday. We were expecting 40 people, all dancers and felt a bit challenged by working with such a big group. How will we be able to hold a unified field with 40 people? How do we bring across the deeper meaning of dialogue and connection in just one day? What will dancers expect from a workshop that includes not only movement but also the art of dialogue? With these questions we scheduled the day knowing well that we were going to have to improvise and go with the flow during the day.
The next day we were picked up by Camillo Vacalebre, who organised this workshop for us, and Rosa. We were driven through the spacious city again, it was a hot spring day. We arrived at the studio, which was a converted industrial space that was just about able to hold the forty of us.
Like everywhere on our trip, we were welcomed with a lot of warmth. That is just the way it is here! Meeting other people is a warm, joyful and well-meaning encounter! And so is saying goodbye. Lots of kisses and embraces… Us Europeans, especially us Northerners can learn a lot from this.
We started out the workshop with everyone expressing what it is that moves them in life and as people spoke there was a beautiful sense of stillness that overcame the room. As we worked with the themes of not wanting anything (from others or from life) and following a deep interest and curiosity, we interspersed movement work with dialogue. At one point the whole group stood still and started to express their experience of ‘not wanting and care’. The voices and sentences intermingled with each other. Someone described it sounding like rain-music in the rainforest, a rain of words, hopes and longings – and also just a real sense of deep connection. As the day continued the experience of care, love and joy deepened amongst everyone and at the end we naturally landed with the question: what responsibility does each of us have to give something of ourselves for a better future?
As a non-dancer I continuously am surprised how ‘connected’ and how loving dancers are, when they move together. Most of the ones I have met have embodied a deep sense of connectedness When they start speaking about it, it is amazing to hear their experiences. Kirstie tells me, that dancers are very reluctant to reflect and talk about their experiences, since their bodies are the instruments of communication. Yet here in South America we are continuously surprised how vocal and imaginative everyone is, when they speak about their experience and about their sense of responsibility they feel towards the planet.
Despite travelling long distances and being a long way from home, especially here in Argentina, it strikes me more and more what a small world we have become. How much we share the same concerns and how much our dreams are the same. We want to connect, love more deeply, take care of our natural surroundings and beautiful creatures, and act more responsibly, in a flow that bows down to the universal laws in and around us.
Like many times on this trip Kirstie and I looked at each other again after this workshop with awe and gratitude for meeting so many generous and bighearted people and for having the opportunity to exchange the deeper longings that concern all of us with everyone.
Kirstie will write more about her experience the following week leading a week-long workshop while I was working on my other two jobs virtually. Apart from this, a beautiful excursion to Uruguay, a great performance by Kirstie and Martin during a rain flooded night, spending some sweet times with our hosts Martin and Gucci (Gustavo Lesgart), meeting the amazing osteopath Raul Abeledo who took deep care of our somewhat travel-weary bodies, and breathing in the Latin-American ways of being has showed us once more what a beautiful warm-hearted continent we have landed on.