Another night out. This time it was Mala Junta, a small techno party in Berlin. You enter the club through the back of an old Späti. They asked me questions on the door in order to get in. I succeed in that so the adventure could begin. The crowd is a diverse one, lots of new and some old faces. The dance floor is small and cosy, music sounds good!
I entered the dance floor right away, first I usually stand in the back and try to warm myself up or as I say “land on the dance floor smoothly”. It’s quite hard to get into the dancing right away, especially when it is between 135-140 BPM, which is very fast. I spend some time alone, watching people and trying to understand who they are. The best unwritten rule about these parties is that everyone is participating. In their own way.
The front row is for the enthusiastic regulars or tourists and DJ friends (I count myself one of them). Tourist in this context is maybe someone who enters this party or such a dance floor for the first time, is observing and participating and is definitely interested and enthusiastic about what is going on and how to learn about this cultural expression. They are warmly accepted by the crowd if they respect the others. Seeing a dance floor tourist in this case makes me more confident in my own sense of belonging and identity. We all have been once tourists. The centre area is for the groups. People usually always face the DJ as if it was a solemn altar. There may also be the well-known dance floor terrorists. They are the people, usually very drunk or high, who don’t respect the flow of the dance floor and continuously interrupt it. Falling into your back or stepping on your toes. There are a lot of them in Estonia, less in Berlin. Back left corner is mostly for gay scene and the back of the dance floor for people who need more space (from where I usually start) or for active listeners with or without a drink in their hands.
This time my friend D. Dan was playing. It was quite crazy. People started to jump (not yet moshing, which I presume may happen soon) like at metal concerts. I have been thinking when this will happen. The dancing bounce gets so active that it takes you to the jump in the air and doing it collectively, shoulder by shoulders, it really reminds me that we belong together, as one. I find it fascinating about those dancefloors of which you enter and then can instantly feel that you belong there. This feeling will often occur to me in different moments. I join the crowd, we sweat together in a small space by exhibiting my dance moves in common rhythm and sometimes synchronised with others. Sometimes, I just catch eye contact and sympathise with someone. I like the way this person moves or looks. There is something between us. This may stay in the air the whole night or just happen once and leaves behind the shared mutual feelings. Many shared mutual feelings can create a feeling of belonging together like a small dance community in this party society.
The maximum time you are able to move your body in this sauna kind of space is two hours (but this is really maximum) in a row. Then I need a break which in this case could be on a smoking terrace outside or dark room corners on the balconies inside. The other places where all the magic happens.
Sometimes I try to remind myself while resting that what I am thinking about while I’m dancing, but I cannot remember. I guess I just don’t think and maybe only feel? I find it so fascinating how the movement lets me to say out things on the dance floor that I would never have imagined myself saying out verbally. There we are all these twisting bodies losing themselves into music having weird conversations we have never had before.
After resting it is time to return to the floor and have another dance. And then another one and another one. I feel more and more tired and empty and in some ways more full. The more you repeat and you would assume empty the same movements then paradoxically the fuller they feel (I think it happens with the fatigue). Sometimes I just like to start to copy someone else on the dance floor. When the head is empty it is quite nice to rely on someone else. Shared responsibilities and decisions made by majority. I feel like it's totally fine to be an individual inside the group and to be the subject of the environment. It remindes both the essence of the individual and the group. Dancing becomes like a vehicle that helps me to confirm some sort of central social values and by this confirm my own identity. I am not the person who is in front of me because I dance different than him but I am more similar in my movement with the person next to me.
As Pina Bausch has said that she is not interested in how people move but what makes them move. This social party dance could be actually compared with the same feelings why modern dance was born in the start and can remind us of its importance. People felt that the connection between the dancing body and the consciousness of the person is lost. So they tried to constantly repair the deficit of links between movement and emotions, fostering a consistent body image and more effective self. This ritual to go raving and dance together reminds us again and again those important connections that are very easy to forget. I am one, my body, my conscious, my emotions, we humans.
Happy New Years my dears…
Üüve-Lydia Toompere @ 31.12.2018