Performance

I’m behind on all posts. Again. It has been an intense summer, and I’m still finding myself having a very extensive hangover from the last month or so. This post will be about performing in front of a crowd and how it felt to do my first public show ever.

After a big event such as Shibaricon, or the Stockholm Pride there is a lot of things to write about. I usually brain-storm afterwards, trying to sort through the memories, the feelings, the important bits and to also consider that which is perhaps not important at all, as it can be exactly the opposite. Our minds are brilliant at hiding small details that then emerge with full force. One such detail is from the Tuesday party night, at Wish ( a womens’ only playparty), when D and I was preparing for the show. We had rehearsed the day before, she was still bearing the ropemarks. That very evening, before the door opened, I had set up the suspensionpoint, got help setting up the light, organised the playlist together with the brilliant DJ, then quitely sitting and preparing the coils of rope exactly to how I wanted them. The first rope of the TK in a slightly larger coil than the first, the tenugui folded properly, candles and lighter, the vicious antique Japanese scissors, a short hitty stick. But the other preparation took place minutes before we went on. She got dressed, we checked the kit, then sat down in the staff room in a quiet corner, leaning us against and feeling each other. Those precious moments, sitting quietly without speaking, while breathing, stroking each others hair, massaging her shoulders, helping her to warm up.

I have never ever done a ‘proper show’. I do play in public, but the set up is different in this case. D and I have played with rope before and know each other fairly well, the rehersal had gone well, and if we knew that if we just would focus on each other, we could probably get out on the other side without having looked like fools. Performances are interesting for many reasons. There are the purely theatrical, which can be good but also seem to be somewhat of a mime instead of showing something interesting (no, I don’t like mime, deal with it!). Then there are the ones with stories, the theatre which comes to life and make you live through that which is in front of you. And then there are those which you perhaps can’t judge if it is just something that is happening as a scheduled performance or intimate, private play. I am aware that a performance as such often has to give something extra, be faster and display the action, the model and the movement more clearly. Thus, in the back of my mind was also the way in which I as a rigger needed to position myself in order to not block the view too much, as well as how to best show how amazing D looks in rope. I was also seeking to actively attempt to show the audience a rope-session which would be about communication and interaction.

She was dressed in a very simple kimono, with rope as a belt  that would get undone if pulled. As she stood in the spotlight and the music started, I got closer to her with every beat of the music, pulling the kimono over her shoulders, stroking her skin, grabbing the rope-belt that started to get undone. I moved to the front, trying to be as invisible as possible, hunching on the floor as the rope came undone, falling off and with that, the kimono fell to the floor. She became exposed and as I uncoiled the first rope close to her skin, the music had already set the pace. Pushing shoulders back, making her arch her back (trick learned from a dirty old man) and my fingertips felt her shiver, my cheek close to her neck, feeling her pulse beating. The ropes came alive, and then all of a sudden the performance was over in no time. But before that I several things: what ever you think that you might do, it will be slightly different or very different; even if you checked that everything is working, you have forgotten something; the light is in all likelihood be even darker than you expected; when you think you are too fast, you are going slower and vice versa; the person you are tying are going to shine so bloody bright just because they are wonderful; it is essential that you keep on doing those things that make it ‘right’ from the beginning rather than trying to alter your style and finally: wearing latex is going to make you sweat like…eh. insert appropriate description here.

D was more than magnificent, she was shining so incredibly bright in the ropes and played together with me and the ropes in a way that can only be described as surreal to see. There is some kind of adrenaline so special to this kind of performance/public play, and yes, it was over far too soon.

Afterwards, someone who I deeply respect and admire came up and told us that she now understand Shibari as more than just pretty knots.  Then D smiled, sitting on the floor, drinking a glass of water. It was the only thing I needed to see.


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