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I Can Not Not Move. Can You?


Am I a mover?
A performer, dancer, therapist, a healer, teacher, coach, editor? I always have difficulty describing my work, me – this humble body – in a short biography. What is written on my diplomas seems certain. Yet, what is embodied, and what deserves to go into the “max 100 words paragraph”? I hate it each time I have to give it a try.  “I am what I am and you will see when you meet me!” I wish to say…

Does it matter? When millions of people are forced to redefine who they are as they leave their land and families – their pasts literally behind; when thousands of people are dying in the seas; when people are jailed because of their thoughts or because of their color; when environmental protection can still be questioned; when this precarious world is sucking up joy and hope I can only say: I am lost. That is what I am.

Right now, my reality: I am not moving. I had to move out of my own country a year ago. Now I sit – learning French for 7 hours each day. I am able to go back “home”. Yet, each time I pass the border, I still wonder if I will be arrested or not. I fear going back. Simply. My neighbors at the French table are war refugees from Syria, others are from Sudan, Kosovo, Albania. I ask myself: What kind of a refugee am I? [1]

Does it matter? Sitting still: Still believing in dance, still hoping for the initiation of a movement to come, I sit. I wait. I can only sit. All winter, I sat for long skype meetings for the REFLEX project and our e-publication Mind The Dance. I sat to prepare the symposium program with the Project Team. All my work around dance when I could not find my own dance! I sat at airports, I sat at immigration offices, and am now sitting in front of a blank screen writing this editorial. I can not move. What kind of mover am I?

Now. Just now the blank screen is filling up. Movement calls in. Many people are walking for justice in Turkey now! [2] Performers are walking in Germany covered in clay to peacefully protest G20 and urge people who have lost belief in solidarity to embrace more self-responsibility. [3] I sense my solitude deep down. … The initiation of the movement I have been longing for kicks in my hips. The eczema on my skin itches louder. I go out to the park and walk with all. Slowly but surely. Breath.

I come back, sit at my desk to realize that actually movement has been there within – calling. And, that actually, I have been participating to this call in silence [4] and stillness – breathing, reflecting, digesting and gradually reaching towards the strength and crutch of collective hope. And because I am a mover, I can not not move! Can you?

Whatever you call yourself: a dancer, teacher, artist, student, performer, cultural worker – remember that you are not alone and we are all participants in the making of this world. This year , the IDOCDE Symposium inquires: Why Compromise. Mind The Dance. So, before it is too late, let’s shake off the ashes and come together! Please join us this summer and ask with us “what is my practice actually doing to the world – given my experience of managing personal pedagogic and artistic practices? How are my pedagogic and artistic decisions shaping the world of others – my students? My peers? And what, in particular, is the effect of the decisions I am not making?”

And we will mind our dance thru the lense proposed by the REFLEX Europe Researchers via their “Guide to Documenting Contemporary Dance Teaching”: Mind The Dance.

Feeling so lucky to have this connection to this page I am creating now; to have you all who are reading these lines; and having met all the people who have made it possible for me to move and be still, and realize the moving in the stillness, I hope to meet you beyond this screen and beyond the troubles.

Defne Erdur,

Lyon, 12.07. 2017

 


 

[1] More than 50,000 people have been arrested and 140,000 dismissed or suspended during a state of emergency in place since last summer's attempted military takeover in Turkey. I have friends who lost their jobs, their freedom, their lives. I myself had to sit and self-censor my own PhD. Obediently, resonating with the fear of my professors, and in anticipation of something much, much worse, I sat to remove from my thesis words like democracy, hierarchy, authority, sexuality, gender role, … As I write these lines now, the news of detention of the director of Turkey Branch of Amnesty International and more human rights activists, academicians takes place, next to the news of the detentions of leading journalists and members of the parliament. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-40547972, https://turkeypurge.com/70-from-istanbul-medeniyet-bogazici-universities-under-custody

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jul/06/turkey-crisis-justice-defence-democratic-values

[3] http://www.designboom.com/art/1000-gestalten-protest-g20-summit-hamburg-07-08-2017/

[4] “The Aesthetic of Silence: Susan Sontag on Art as a Form of Spirituality and the Paradoxical Role of Silence in Creative Culture” by Maria Popova: https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/07/06/the-aesthetic-of-silence-susan-sontag/