Welcome back – it’s been a while since a long post because life has just gotten extremely busy – lovely, but I haven’t had the time to write which I would have liked. So, here it is, my ramblings on what’s been going on with rope lately.

We’ve been doing a lot of performances of late – quite fast paced and theatric ones – and I love them, the charge, the thrill, the delight of those who are witnessing it. But there is a price – It’s easy to get lost in the adrenaline rush and aesthetic pleasures of a performance piece with focus shifting outward, past that sphere of the “you and I”. Riding that balance between chemistry and spontaneity, and the constraints of time, themes and the audience. An audience whose attention spans and energy expectations are tuned to that of an evening of distraction and sensual stimuli, such as a loud venue, a club night or a more burlesque atmosphere. The purists may say “damn the audience, we’ll do what we want!” – but that is the whole premise of playing to an audience – for better or worse, you need to be aware of THEIR reactions and energies.

Recently I’ve been playing a lot more with low level and partial suspensions, and it’s been magical. There is a certain special tension and energy from holding someone just inches from the ground, bound tightly and so very close to landing, but held there – like the last moment of a fall to earth captured in amber, a drop of water hanging off a leaf, trembling to fall. You can feel the closeness of landing, yet knowing that the moment of release from that excrutiating anticipation is purely within the hands of another is its own delicious torture. There is a nearly palpable erotic charge between the body and the ground, with gravity trying to reclaim those particles tied and pulled away from its will. That psychological sadism of toying with the promise of release being held so close yet so far, allowing a limb to touch the ground and then taking it away again always brings a smile to my face.

The interplay of anticipation, building of tension and energy, exposure and slow languid sensuality, punctuated by those intense moments which draw a sharp sigh, of the body arcing slightly, then relaxing back like a wave hitting a crest, the beautiful agonized expression falling into a blissful release – of finding the right pattern and rhythm for each body and soul to unlock the way to their own path to abandon. These are journeys I always delight in embarking on.

These more deeply personal moments, where the play is just for you and I, where any observers are incidental and fade off into the event horizon, are those moments where we lose ourselves, where we can find the places that take time, that cannot be compressed into a set piece, that flow and change like the tides and currents just below the surface of a deceptively calm exterior. Perhaps a good analogy of the dichotomy of performance and play is the difference between pornography and intimate sex – one is a performance, and the things which make the meeting of two bodies and minds so deeply satisfying to the minds and bodies involved are an array of subtleties which are lost on an observer – without the intersection of all the senses, you end up relying on the visual, the aural, you’re playing WITH the audience, not just your partner. No matter how pure an intention, the observed cannot help but be altered by the observer.

Shifting focus between one sphere and another, bringing something back from one to the other, translating and adapting what’s been learned in one world to another – one finds new places in between, and those tiny spaces expand into their own vista of possibilities. There are so many places to explore in rope and play, and each new discovery or uncovering depths behind existing knowledge is a joyful experience.

It’s been a journey… and that road carries on and on.

Catch you in the ropes soon.