One can easily get lost in any city but most dangerously one can also get lost in translation. Even worst one can get lost in him or herself, in a feeling that just won't go away.
I tried to come to Korea with no expectations of what this experience was going to be and so far that has makes things easier. On the other hand, the expectations of who I am supposed to be and what I am suppose to accomplished me followed me closely, traveling in my luggage and now lurking in my room ready to attack in my sleep. Sounds dramatic, I know. Welcome to an artist's head.
So in this last weeks the most important things I've had to overcome and lear is to stop fearing getting lost, in any of the instances above mentioned. This falls into the idea of discomfort, which is summed up by that mild fear, that acid anxiety in the bottom of your stomach or that self awareness that informs you of how ridiculous and funny you must look when you say the wrong thing in Korean.
What I've put to the test is the idea that my willingness to accept and deal with discomfort is directly related to the gratification I can get. And gratification is sweet and informative and stimulating. So at the end discomfort can also become all these things as well.
This last week has been intensely gratifying. The best part has been the people that I've had the chance to meet. Koreans have been incredibly kind and very willing to help out. Here at the residency I have daily contact with talented artist that expand my mind in many ways.
Last Monday I was invited by my friend SeJin to a contact improvisation jam that she organized. SeJin is my first Korean friend. She's a facilitator of movement techniques that have a meditation-therapeutic result, such as Qigong or contact improv. The latter is an interaction between a few people that have to react to the touch and movements of the others with awareness and thoughtfulness. Think of it as a conversation through dance.
Here is were I met 5 of my next collaborators: A-Reum, So Young, Kyong Sun Seo, Haein and Jungmin (all women except for Jungmin). It was a wonderful and unexpected experience. Every one of them had a very unique way of expressing themselves, from the lyrical to the very contemporary; from traditional Korean dance to the integration of minimal and daily movements. ; from wildly spirited to contemplative.
A few days ago I also met Sanghun. A wonderful dancer that works with one of my favourite choreographers, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. He showed me a video of one of his solos and it was like someone had just grabbed my heart and made it pump blood through my body. (You can take a look https://vimeo.com/145407787 Minute 1:58.
There was so much more in this week that I wanted to share. Some of those topics merit a post of their own because they are so complex: the abondance of plastic surgery, LGBT rights, food, the search for costumes and materials, the upcoming exhibition.
So for today I will finish with this:
1.- Dance is a wonderful and universal language. No words are needed.
2.- Tame your discomfort, allow yourself to be vulnerable, it is all worth it. You'll be better and happier for it.
3.- If you are not willing to say my teacher is delicious by mistake, you might never learn anything new.
Until very soon.