I began my professional dance career dancing in a well-known, very large, London-based touring ballet company. It was a dream come true. But it didn’t take long before I began to notice and feel unsettling contradictions.
I have always loved to move. As a child, I loved the exhilaration of running barefoot, feeling wind on my face, in my hair; I loved to climb higher and higher, to jump, to spin, to roll down grassy slopes, turn cartwheels, skip, hop, fall and laugh. Moving gave me great joy and a sense of freedom that melted boundaries and made me feel alive. And when I danced, un-nameable feelings took hold of me. I loved dancing. It was my way of giving voice to the stories inside of me.
My independent spirit rebelled against the ever-present hierarchy of the dance company. I watched adults being treated as children; older, often jaded corps de ballet company members go through the motions of framing the few who danced. A beautiful example of this is in Jerome Bell’s solo for Veronique Doisneau. I wanted to dance, not frame the few who danced, and I wanted to continue to believe in the dancing I was doing. I wanted to embody my dancing… always.
It also became clear to me that ballet was not kind to my body. Beginning to practice Taiji and Yoga, and take Alexander Technique lessons gave me the taste of freedom again. My subsequent meeting and growing fascination with Release Technique and Contact Improvisation stimulated me to embark on an enthralling, never-ending journey. The miracle of the body unfolded. I began to understand, in depth and with great precision, the wonder of the body in movement when it's freed from unnecessary tensions and purposeless artifice. I experienced what it means to dive inward and, to paraphrase John Cage’s desire to hear the sound of the sound, I learned to see the movement of the movement. I became familiar with, and grew to love, soft and slow, stillness and silence, and began to trust my own body’s wisdom.
These and other considerations, including my sensibility opening to other forms of dance and other ways of moving and thinking, led me to engage with explorative thinking and making. I made a number of considered choices, with the consequence that, now, I can describe myself as an Independent Dance Artist.
Eva Karczag, 2022