Celeste Stein – creative writing response

We dance in multiple places at one time; in our memory, in our presence, in our body, with each other. There is an external doing and thinking, but mostly there is an internal involuntarily narrative that unfolds within us- as visual, audible, and physical thought. Our legitimate ‘movement’ is what our audience cannot see. There is some parallel to be drawn in the way our bones restrict us and the way our lovers do. The following attempts to recount the reality we live in while dancing as a list of choreographic sentences.

Dance 1:

The path that leads to the other room is safe, even though it runs into the ocean. Your breath lasts through it and to me sounds like a lie. Then a black stage and your calves are ruining you. You’re letting them. You don’t know how to get out. You feel that you will suffocate in this- one jump. Then you remember the time you were very drunk and what that same leg had done, and the other foot too. You get angry for what seems like no reason; your mind leaning all the way over. Parts of your body failed you before you could talk. You said you don’t want anything to do with that –right left. And away your nose leads and walks. You get home. Your shoulders roll over. Slower when you stop to check you are still ok. Ask can you come over and I say do what you want. You are lying face down. Now you feel your toes start to worry if this will be one of those times where you take your whole body turning and all it does is make you feel numb. You completely forget about it, like you dreamt it. We are walking on the floorboards in autumn in Ohio, meaning ice melting on the road. You said could you hold your hand? In one way or another the other says no, inside you.

With history, you come to decide that you won’t find solace in a consciousness like this. Growing legs are something secret, what you can only whisper that you know. You take a photo of your hunched self and then another of being skinny when you turn your belly that way in that mirror. You remove your hips for two hours; the maximum time we can be apart. This hour is the most complex, endless, difficult thing in my life. It mirrors me. ‘What do you think about while you turn sideways, or the other way?’ I said, I think: ‘am I ok? Am I ok? Am I ok?”

Dance 1 Illustrated:

Celeste Stein


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