We gather in the big studio in the morning. Outside the windows, the world is made small by the blizzard, flakes falling huge and slow in the alley, bright against red brick and the graffitied chimney stacks of the building across the way. Inside, everything is warm brown wood, thick sweaters and socks, and the overpowering invitation of so much space. In this shelter, we come together like birds, restless to be moving but eager for our flock, for moments huddled together around the thing that feeds us. We sit cross-legged, sway to the rhythm of our conversation, unable to be fully still even in rest.
When we talk, it is about community. One way or another, our stories all come back to it. Connection, and the need for it. Fellowship, and the search for it. Movement as a discovery and opening of ourselves to ourselves, and then to each other. We tell each other we are not impostors, we belong where we are. We talk about the falsehood of our bodies as disposable objects, the way that our emptiness means we are ready to be filled with something better. We talk about waking up to the idea of movement as art as well as healing. We talk about the unexpected discovery of streams in what we thought was a wasteland. We talk about stone and water, the green, green, green elixir.
It’s hard to come back to the Quarry, mentally, when physically it is far away. It’s hard to call back the memory of what it was like to stand on the Worlds, out in the water, and connect it with what we are doing now, in the studio. The floating Worlds are alive, are members of the dance, in a way that the studio is not. They move with us, partner us. There is a flow of give and receive, out on the water–we move, pause, wait for the World to catch us up, move again. The platforms are a part of the choreography, a part of the portrait, the waltz, the balance. They breathe under our feet, a sucking in and pushing out of air like giant lungs. We are water striders on the surface of this infinite pool, the Worlds our dimple on the skin of the deep. Without them, we fall.
In the studio, the floor feels heavy and unforgiving. Also alive–but slow, asleep. We learn new choreography, and I imagine how the Worlds will change it. How will the Worlds change it? Our response is so often Maybe, so often I don’t know. Question everything now–the Quarry will give us answers next year. I am learning to embrace the anticipation. I am learning to begin each season as an improvisation. Make plans, set choreography, learn spacing–throw away the list, let things outside my control change the steps, watch structure unravel and build itself again in new ways I never could have seen. The Quarry is ancient stability–we do not need to be stable too. Let it be enough.
Later, I stop at the brink. There is a flock of waterfowl out on the water in the middle of the blizzard, their webbed feet reaching three inches below the surface as they paddle and preen. Three inches out of over five hundred feet. The disparity of size is almost impossible for me to comprehend. So small–so vast. So transient–so enduring. So fragile–so invulnerable. I can’t hold the depth of the Quarry and the tiny flutter of feathers on its surface in the same thought. The snow falls and falls, the sky joins with the earth, with the seeped water of the wakeless underground. It is quiet.