Meeting Oneself


Meeting Oneself

Nadia Genois


I have always loved dancing.

I remember when I was little, going to see The Nutcracker with my father. Imagination fertile, body touched, I came back announcing that I wanted to be a rat in The Nutcracker. Note the rat here, we will come back to it. Maybe.

It took several years for the call of the dance to take root. In fact, my relationship with dance is above all one of flirtation. An ambiguous relationship. On one side it lives in me, it crosses my body and my soul, on the other side it mistreats me, I fear it, I approach and save myself. And yet I come back to it. I always thought I had to choose one or the other. My fragmented identity, made of contradictions, impossible reconciliation. It’s a bit like that that I approached my studies at the École de Danse de Québec, both invested but almost permanent, the presence of doubt, the impossible. Torn.

I met some of Marie Chouinard’s work at that moment, which was essential. Facing the other, upset, disturbed, her breath jerky, there was something animal, raw, true, great sensitivity, authenticity, no pretense, no half measures. There on the boards, the complexity, the multiplicity, fundamentally human, everything poured out, offered. It disturbed me, scared me but I was also intrigued, inhabited. An open breach, changed forever, no turning back but flight as the only answer. The learned one. How could I stand up, assume.

And this shock. Confronted with myself. The envelope now perforated. Had it ever been waterproof? Unlikely. Impossible to escape, through the pores of my skin, everything flowed. Perhaps it was to find myself face to face with someone whose emotional charge, sensitivity is at the service of creation while mine was a story of containment. Hold back at all costs. But impossible to close the valves. Yet I tried and tried.

My father died last spring. A few days before the fateful date that would mark his absence, seeing him, small in his bed, I wanted to slip behind him, take him in my arms. Could I? Did I have this right? Then the certainty that this moment would never come back, that the present moment was the only one, nothing before, nothing after. I dared. And for the first time in my life I really felt, deep in my being that my great sensitivity was a gift and not a flaw.

This realization, perhaps the culmination of so many years of research, of this long road traveled and of all its detours to ultimately return home. To reach this moment, this connection, to recognize without words, the kinship, the absolute. A new certainty, bringing hope, opening up space. Knowing that the body could not lie, we may be able to hide behind words, but our gestures betray us, the blood runs through our veins, all these cells in motion, dynamic, vibrating. The evidence. Our senses. My sensitivity. Hers.

The last three weeks I had the opportunity to teach Feldenkrais to the dancers of the Compagnie Marie Chouinard. When I received the call from Marie, I was touched, nervous. The fear in the stomach, again, present in front of the other. But this time I could recognize behind this color of emotions, the big yes. A yes to life, to exist. This openness, this desire to jump, confident and maybe just show who I am. Fully say yes to yes, choose them now because they are the ones that matter. Learn to say no, to leave room for yes. In fact, I want to believe in the stars, in wonder. And I say thank you. Thank you for your welcome, your attention and your presence. It was a pleasure to teach you, dancers, humans and then to learn alongside you. Discover us.

Life is never exactly where you expect it to be.

*translated from French

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