This is a fable, an untrue balance. Start again. This is an explicitly abstract account of an event that couldn't count because people weren't speaking the same language.
A great idea was had. A meeting about the relationship between bodily movement and social movements.
So a committee spoke on the phone to organize an event. And support was given.
Performers were invited, thinkers were invited, community organisers were invited, activists were invited. Americans, Canadians, Mexicans, French, Australians, blacks, whites, browns, hes, shes, theys, zis, zers...
Emails were sent leading up to the event. Some danced with a monument or landmark on their way, others read and asked questions in preparation.
And then only some arrived. Some more arrived later. And there was one day when all were there together. Until people starting falling away.
There was movement in the entrances and exits, but in the middle there was so little, it was hard for many to *.
There was talk.
The food was delicious. People ate together.
And then it ended. Where it ended isn't clear. Some people say that the end is still happening.
Some kind of (un)choreography for coalition.
and then it ended
then it ended
then it started
then it ended
and then it ended
i'm sure it started
and then it began
and then it ended did it end?
"Concepts are events in the making. An event in the making is a thought on the cusp of articulation - a pre-articulated thought in motion" (Manning 2009: 5).
Dance Court courted the
uncovering of what movement knows in the face of the political.
Emerging out of a semi-enclosed public space, the tennis court, it
beat the ball of belonging. (As in, the match around whose place is
whose.) Gently, and within the given structures of the time, Dance
Court spoke to the place of diversity without a binding to the blood
that made each so. This binding that speaks loud in the experience of
any person associated to a margin. This binding that reminds how our
But a binding that also hosts our roots, that connects us to that which makes us. I am yellow and am told so, beaten so, wronged so, and yet without my yellowness I would not be. So such a tension exists in this boundedness: that which holds us hostage to patterns of marginalisation also feeds us, our values, our perceptions, our pride.
But on Dance Court,
people danced beneath the lines. They danced to the beats that speak
to each and all. And as they did, those that might normally
marginalise, couldn't even find the lines to do so… And so
emerged: Dance Politics.
"When we define ourselves, when I define myself, the place in which I am like you and the place in which I am not like you, I'm not excluding you from the joining - I'm broadening the joining" (Audre Lorde)
Are you? There's trouble here. Who (what) defines the definition? Its scope? Who (where) ensures that the definition maintains its ability to hold paradox, despite its tendency
its tendency to routinely forget? The event? Who, then, advocates for the event? The event is not pushy.
The shared storytelling
of the Collective History of Dance Politics was one platform
for this circum-traversal of the histories in the room, even the
tacit stories omnipresent. Simply, it invited people to articulate an
encounter with Dance Politics in a shared-storytelling format.
Whether it be recounting a first experience of the mingling between
dance and politics, or a response to the collated expression that
emerged. Its inclusive textual pathway enabled instruction in the
propositional sense, in that it helped trigger the relational
movement between personal experience and a public emergent
"Space: changes shape."
"Allow people to change the process; leave space in space.""Multiplicity (to find enabling constraints)."
"Develop and share techniques for tending."
"Lose the separation of social movements and body movements; move forward integrated."
"Scale; subtle as powerful in different ways than big."
Collective-history-telling sees traces of orientation into the event - onto the 'in-between'. Once, we attempted to meet, and move in this invisible middle over a course, it was as though we kept trying to protect our trace, our mark – as if it was ours – rather than realizing we did not have the gravity to drop beneath to where lines were moving out of shape. So there was this catchment that evolved, this tension around how to navigate, or shift between the circum-current of Dance Politics' invisible middle, and the event's ecology itself:
some kind of topography of individual territories colliding together.
"Do we need something to center (ourselves)? What if there's no center but multiplicity of navelings, temporal radiating spots?"
"... the field of gravity is the enabling constraint for dance, but dance is not framed by it or structured by it. Rather, dancing converts the predictable, inescapable demands of gravity into a creative force for its own form-taking, tangent to the pull of gravity. Enabling constraints put in place conditions for emergence. The emergence tangentially exceeds the frame, and is self-structuring in a way that is one with its own unfolding movement" (http://senselab.ca/wp2/events/enter-bioscleave-2013/).
desperation to protect. Some
kind of self-defence over personal history that over-shadowed any
kind of dancing in the collective of what movement knows.
So did this self-defence mechanism emerge because the conditions for appropriate enabling constraints had not been set-up in the space? YES. But could it also be that the people in the room were not capable of seeing constraints as a means for freedom because of their own conditioning? When all someone has known is the need to protest against the barriers they find around them, then these barriers, and the act of protest, inadvertently become the means by which this person relates to any pathway out. Imagine constructing your world based on the lines that divide.
How do you exist, relate, express, move beyond these lines that drew your structure of self and experience? And if
these lines are your
language, your gesture-->
What are the other invisible things that are actually the shadows that needed to be invented?
"For bodies to take place, the body must appear… I must appear to others in ways for which I cannot give an account, and in this way my body establishes a perspective that I cannot inhabit. This is an important point because it is not the case that the body only establishes my own perspective; it is also that which displaces that perspective, and makes that displacement into a necessity. This happens most clearly when we think about bodies that act together. No one body establishes the space of appearance, but this action, this performative exercise happens only "between" bodies, in a space that constitutes the gap between my own body and another's. In this way, my body does not act alone, when it acts politically. Indeed, the action emerged from the "between." (Butler 2011 :2)
The possibility of what movement knows in the face of the political propelled Dance Politics into being. Its potential a pre-articulation of its promise. Perhaps a disappointment lies in the missing piece of promise in Dance Politics' formation. Promise being the outstretched gesture of an unknown limit, a limit that circles concurrent realities back into each other until, until, until they lose themselves in (the speed of) a new thought. The movement that precedes the resonance, that touches its porters of potential. That whisks them away into the state necessary to transmute the possibility into a collective enunciation. Did anyone let themselves be whisked? Did anyone attempt the outstretched gesture of an unknown limit? Yes: the arc of intention spoke to some kind of "pre-articulated thought in motion." The body-buddy-up also perhaps. And the ripples of the course conversations closing the event.
And yet, could it be not the hindered gestures but the bodies that housed them that lost us? Where does promise lie in a body? Is it indeed a fabulation? A pre-constructed narrative that dictates a commitment or duty or debt without the means to stretch it out. The means being the gesture, and the gesture being the expression of intention, and the expression being the convergence of identity and need and conditioning and race and gender and reaction and reflection, and the intention being the goal (while its place of construction remains a question - which are the body or bodies and the way they express), perhaps brings me to the cycle of navigating the circum-current of the invisible.
supposed failing of what was supposed to happen
... but that's
their take on things..
Which I came to appreciate,
that some people don't attune...
oh yeah there was frustration
that I think that they came here to
do something and the infrastructure
So this seems
like a big deal.
They weren't cognisant that there was an issue of long and transfer-to-meaning cogs. I kept on hearing flutters - when I was trying to understand what I was even in. When anybody was willing to tell me a story I was really all ears. Otherwise no one was going to tell me what brought us here. I came to appreciate that but also went to my own fugitive planning. He talked about zer because they're really close. And they were, she was very, he told me it was very, he was very upset at zi for the way that people were at the event. And so were they, as people of colour. You know it was a big deal to them, it felt like there was such a lack of reaching out, it was so obvious there was disconnects, and they were just, and he talked to zhim about it and blew up or whatever, that thing she says when he asked me to explain to zer, their whiteness.
-The trees-wind-cars-colors-lights outside the window across the street.
And so i connected back to that story, they couldn't really see that what they were doing wasn't working but there was an issue of power being deployed. And that was something that he and she could see. And so I think zer just ended up being really upset with how zhim dealt with it. Starting to get hazy at that point with the recount. And as you probably know he doesn't think it was that big a deal: "I think you guys are making too much of this."
I think zer's not wrong with there being a problem with identity politics.
But you can't ignore that there's essence there (Because people will just refuse.)--but this is also Moten's point: The new essentialism names an indigeneity (now) native to blackness (capital having transformed us all into 'productive beings,' in hard and soft ways). Refusing that is a form of white-on-black disintegration, a scatter-politics,
separating out the already-other, the already-under,
A re-theorized essentialism, in Moten's view, sees blackness retain its bodied memory of what changed everything by a conservation that spends: a binding of non-likeness that connects the fruit of that constructed black memory through to the otherness latent in "non-others," an otherness that is already itself pushing out to connect, albeit in a much softer key. 
different people, basically the people with black or brown skin, but
not only them, mentioned this thing, this crystallizing,
where they saw others, white others, having an issue with identity
politics at the same moment that its
lack of essence produced pain, a severe missing.
"Deleuze … insists that a body never ceases to be sub-jected to encounters, with light, oxygen, food, sounds, and cutting words – a body is first an encounter with other bodies. But how could the body protect itself from serious wounds in order to embrace the more subtle ones?" (Pelbart 2014: 24)
"Which is why ze wanted me to explain their whiteness."
(has the whiteness been presupposed?
How do collectivities come to terms with their whiteness in a way that doesn't only entrench their beginning blindnesses?)
Have you?—I haven't.
I'm afraid of that challenge. Because why would they listen to me? Okay, I'll do it, if I can touch some bodies while I do it. I've been talking around the edges. Being neither direct or indirect.
So I just hope that some of us that could be there… talking about more than skin.
-Why is critique so valued as the way forward? Or the place to begin with or end on?
the boundlessness of both; and
Movement knows the boundlessness of both; and. Dance Politics' first iteration didn't. Propelled by its potential it stood, wobbly legged, in both, but it barely danced between the both; and. Could it be that this was necessary? That a traversing of the circumference in order to touch the invisible middle is the pathway to Dance Politics' pedagogy?
* both; and - ?
Politics is language as much as it is movement
"The correlative conjunctions both . . . and . . . are best served by parallelism, which is easily achieved but just as easily overlooked. The conjunctions should be carefully positioned and their conjoined elements should be well balanced. That is, what follows both and what follows and should have the same grammatical form...
Here, the conjunctions frame two infinitives, which brings symmetry to the sentence – unlike the following constructions, which lurch rather awkwardly...
Again, balance in the following sentences enhances their efficiency and euphony (their what?):
The game is suitable for both children and adults.
The game is
suitable both for whites and for blacks.
The game is suitable both for whites and blacks.The game is both suitable for whites and black.
In the last two examples, both and and do not carry equal weight, and the sentences become unbalanced. Although the sense is not destroyed, the rhythm is upset and logic is undermined…
"Once [the male trapdoor spider] has lifted the trapdoor and entered the silken shaft, it is for him both a tunnel of love and death."
(1) a tunnel of love, and (2) a tunnel of death, but the sentence as it is written suggests that the shaft is (1) a tunnel of love, and (2) death. Better to have written:
It is for him a tunnel of both love and death.
Or, less plainly but more dramatically:It is for him both a tunnel of love and a tunnel of death." (Carey, 2008)
"both;and for me come from a convo...
talking about the vast possibility in life; that we are often told
that we exist in either;or frameworks (i.e. straight or gay; man or
woman, etc...) but there is so much more. and that we have to live
after they were killed i began to deepen my connection with it and came to understand the boundlessness associated with both;and how we are so boundless in many ways; and that
we can live that, even in the midst of the hard, it is there; that energy is there.
so it is
attached to spirit, and faith, and keeping my relationship with
someone who has passed from body." (McCarthey-Fadel
So how then, can a terrain to understand Dance Politics be cultivated if the characteristics that enable it are boundless? Or rather are just so. And it is the letting be so, rather than grappling at its ungraspable, that enables it. The uncovering, unweaving of the layers of binds could be possible. Days of a delicate unpicking of the many threads and shedding by the many people. But in the context of an international event bringing together people from disparate dimensions, the complexities pile up so swiftly that the doorway is barely opened.
in the room here
is not the tensions, but
the unpreparedness of
the organisers  to
navigate through Dance Politics' spacelessness while establishing the
platform it needs to be understood.
The event being a kind-of microcosm of the dance politics field, and its failure not so much a critique of the individuals involved, but rather a fierce articulation of what needs to be responded to in the movement.
"You can't blame facilitation for the event just like you can't blame fall for winter."
"In order to continue to be affected, more and better, the affected subject needs to be attentive to the excitations that affect it and filter them, rejecting those that are too threatening. The ability of a living being to remain open to affections and alterity, to the stranger, also depends on its capacity to avoid the violence that would destroy it altogether." (Pelbart 2014)
"rage. people deserve to be heard."
So in the instance of a caucasian woman being asked to play a racist person in a role-play to explore the Black Body Survival Guide, she is being forced to step into a layering of barriers that have created a dimension of relatability for those that asked her. In fact, she's being asked to draw the lines. What connected them to her didn't connect her to them: a collective consciousness of boundaries, on a tilt. While her surprise at discrimination in the face of defence against discrimination is apt, the issue is not that. It is the need to enable ripe conditions for the deconstruction of boundaries
through which we comprehend and behave. Allied with this deconstruction is the allowance, both in the conditions and the bodies within them, for
yet, another, and rather blatantly simplistic, issue reveals itself
here in this very intent. That of my being a person used to
privileged public and spatial relationships. Whilst we all have our
own kind of story of disempowerment associated to body, the mere fact
that, in general, I have been empowered
by my conditions rather than oppressed by them,
provokes my capacity to connect with alternatives beyond current body
politic paradigms. If my public experience was one grounded in active
racial discrimination (rather than just the inter-generational
transmission of trauma), then would I not be attached to the
assertion of my body and its cultural-political associations? Would
I not be
resolute to position the bodies of me and my fellows in
public space before any kind of surmounting of the boundaries that
held us back?
"... But how could the body protect itself from serious wounds in order to embrace the more subtle ones, or as Nietzsche says in Ecce Homo, to use "self-defense" in order to preserve "open hands?" How does he have the force to be at the height of his weakness, instead of remaining in the weakness of just cultivating the force?... How to sustain a collectivity and at the same time preserve the dimension of singularity for each and every one? How to create heterogeneous spaces, with their own tonalities, distinct atmospheres, allowing each to connect in his or her own way? How to maintain an availability that facilitates encounters, but does not impose them, an attention that allows for contact and preserves alterity? How to make room for chance, without programming it? How to sustain a "kindness" that allows for the emergence of a speaking that grows out of the affective desert?"(Pelbart 2014)
The other thing with zer that you probably know is that the group that was supposed to come from Boston was not the group that came. But he didn't, zhim's not that upset about that, but it would have been nice if he could try and connect more with people. And I think that she , it made her concerned about techniques of improvisation that become overly solidified, because that can create this social clickiness or social power that can make it possible to go all the way to make an event and do all the things but no event because the techniques aren't attuned to the moment because they're not able to respond to what's there and then no event happens. Oh there's no event here - too solid and circumscribed. How did that happen?
That event was teaching zer..
I'm glad that zhim's
thinking about that. She thinks it's a weird thing to try to
control an improvisation. It's going to bring to a head these
things in another way, because it's about identity, essence,
blackness/whiteness, being these improvisational energies.
"The body, defined politically, is precisely organized by a perspective that is not one's own and is, in that sense, already elsewhere, for another, and so in departure from oneself."(Butler, 2011)
move into coalition, to move in coalition,
requires a shifting of posture. A mutual demand of one
self and of the other to move through the stance of resistance and
with it, into a collective body of persistence.
"That's like that Fred Hampton shit: he'd be like, "white power to white people. Black power to black people." What I think he meant is, "look: the problematic of coalition is that coalition isn't something that emerges so that you can come help me, a manoeuver that always gets traced back to your own interests. The coalition emerges out of your recognition that it's fucked up for you, in the same way that we've already recognized that it's fucked up for us. I don't need your help. I just need you to recognize that this shit is killing you, too, however much more softly, you stupid motherfucker, you know?" But, that position in which you have no place, no home, that you're literally off center, off the track, unlocatable, I think it's important." (Harney & Moten 2013: 140)
What Movement Knows
The boundlessness of both;and
Sparks from within the movement that take you in (immanence).
Invents possibility every time!
The in-between... ----- more than we know...
Speed//Sound and Rate.
Generated/generatized spirit and concretized manifestation of matter.
Actual becoming of the virtual (that we don't know)...
Movement is self/less; collective.
Becoming a structure; language and understanding (allows failures and cuts).
How things go beyond the self
It's an unchoreography because it's disparate gestures by independent bodies and voices. It's an imbalance in articulation. Can it miss scatter-politics and yet still embrace a directionless movement leading us somewhere?
Dance Politics.. Some kind of unchoreography for coalition.
is it started yet?
 "The dismissal of any possible claim regarding the essence or even the being of blackness (in its irreducible performativity) becomes, itself, the dismissal of blackness. Differential or differentiating techniques are made to account and stand in for an absence. Appeals to internal difference are made in order to disallow instantiation. Abstraction of or from the referent is seen as tantamount to its nonexistence. The techniques of black performance – in their manifest difference from one another, in the full range of their transferability and in their placement within a history that is structured but not determined by imposition – are understood to constitute the 'proof' that blackness is not or is lost or is loss. In this regard, abstraction and performativity are meant to carry some of the weight where the refutation of claims about the authenticity or unity of blackness becomes the refutation of blackness as such. This appeal to technique is, itself, a technique of governance. Meanwhile blackness means to render unanswerable the question of how to govern the thing that loses and finds itself to be what it is not" (Moten & Harney 2013: 48-9).
 Perhaps in fact, both the genres of identity politics and non-identitarian philosophy were unprepared for each other (for the improvisation that emerged as they collided).
This piece includes excerpts from conversations with various attendees and non-attendees at Dance Politics, limited responses to an Invitation to Converse on the (Un)Choreography of Dance Politics, as well as group notes and evaluation submissions devised by attendees from the event itself. Sincere thanks to all who shared around their experiences and perspectives. Special thanks to Kenny Bailey.
Butler, Judith. "Bodies in Alliance and Politics of the Street". 2011 Mary Flexner Lectureship at Bryn Mawr College: Philadelphia, 2011.
Carey, Stan. "Both… And…". Sentence First: An Irishman's Blog About the English Language. 2008. Web. 22 December 2014.
Harney, Stefano and Fred Moten. The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning & Black Study. Wivenhoe/New York/Port Watson: Minor Compositions, 2013.
Lorde, Audre. Quote Shared in Anonymous Conversation with Anique Vered. 2014.
Manning, Erin. Relationscapes: Movement, Art, Philosophy. Cambridge and London: The MIT Press, 2009.
McCarthey-Fadel, Corina. Response to "What is both; and to you?" by Dance Politics' Producer. Email. 2014.
Pelbart, Peter Pál. Cartography of Exhaustion: Nihilism Inside Out. São Paulo and Helsinki: n-1 Edições. 2013. (Via submission by Ramona Benveniste to An Invitation to Converse on the (Un)Choreography of Dance Politics.)
SenseLab. "Enter Bioscleave (2013)." SenseLab. 2013. Web. http://senselab.ca/wp2/events/enter-bioscleave-2013/
Collective compilation from the Dance Politics event. "What movement knows." Design Studio for Social Intervention: Boston, 2014.