Carrier walks staggeringly slowly, with Burden resting gracefully on his back. His legs quiver as he tries to maintain balance, walking diagonally across the stage. Carrier falls down. Exhausted. Burden is unrelenting. Carrier lets out an animalistic scream and throws Burden across the stage. The audience gasps. Is Burden dead? Is Carrier free? The Carrier cries. Perhaps he’s tired. Perhaps he’s scared that Burden will leave him. Or maybe because he knows that she never will.
She walks back to him, unfazed and tenderly caresses his face. Are they going to kiss? She lays down on the ground, in front of him. Their eyes meet. Eyes that have looked into each other’s soul for centuries. He lifts her head and brings it close to his. She wraps herself around his body. It’s an eternal love affair. Burden resumes her position on Carrier’s back. The doomed lovers continue their journey.
In the audience, many a people shed a tear, confronted by their own burdens, that sit on their shoulders right that very minute.
This is a movement excerpt from a dance theatre titled ‘Conversations 2013’. It was staged in Karachi, Pakistan, with an ensemble of eleven dance enthusiasts. The idea behind the show was something that plagued me at the time. That in every moment the past sits on my shoulder, and doesn’t let me live fully in the present moment. Memories fade-in and out constantly, leaving me helpless.
And after marinating in this concept for several months during research, rehearsal and performance, at the end of it all, I found myself feeling strangely very empty. But emptiness that meant a boon. A gift. A re-birth. Empty to start all over again, but this time with a heightened sense of awareness.
That’s the beauty of dance & theatre. It’s so cathartic. ‘Emptiness’ was the theme of my next dance production. I lost all my baggage. Some left, some I threw out, some fell off. Look how empty this space is now. I can do absolutely anything.
Following that was a ‘Journey of Emotional Migration’, ‘She Flies with the Swallows’. And now it is ‘Happiness’. As a state of being and as a theme for my new works. My favourite quote from the acting manual, ‘Being’, says, “As you are in life, so you are on stage.” For me this is true. Dance plays many different roles in people’s lives. A profession, a hobby, entertainment, exercise, social activity, learning a new skill, and many others. For me it’s my medicine & my therapy. I dance and so I’m alive.
When happiness suddenly creeps up as I sit on the bench, as the wind grazes my face, and I feel the space of my heart open and expand as if I’m in a yoga pose. The sun warms me up and my smile grows. I think I might just break out in a dance as I stretch my thoughts and slow down my walk because I know there is no hurry and there is nowhere to go and so what I do is I breathe in a holiday.