Bite-size relationships

Naomi Honey:
Exactly. And so, learning to … It feels like learning to listen with my body, and learning to respond smoothly and instantly. And it’s so fascinating. And it’s so lovely, right? Because you know how parkour is brilliant, and you have a great time and it’s lovely and social, but it’s not a kind of evening party time sport. Whereas with this, I get to go out in the evening and go to a party and it’s lovely, but I’m still being active. Because I find sitting around in the pub, it’s nice sometimes.

Craig C:
There’s also a personal space in parkour. It’s not that people have a bubble, like 18 inches of clearance. But generally, people will avoid each other. So, there’s not normally physical contact between two people moving in this space. I was going to say, have you ever heard of a thing called parcon? So. there’s a group in New York city, Andrew Suseno, S-U-S-E-N-O I think it is. And they took … There’s a type of dance called the contact improv.

Craig C:
My understanding is this started in New York City. They rented a dance studio, filled it with crash pads, put one person in the center, and physically threw other dancers at them in random orientations Raggedy Ann doll style. And the person in the center try to receive the physical other person coming at them. And then together as a team, they would try to fall and move. So, it’s literally contact improv, like, “Incoming.”


Craig C:
And then, they would cycle through and switch jobs. And this is apparently totally a thing and they still do it. I don’t know where Mr. Suseno got this from, but he ran into parkour people, and they have taken this idea of contact improv, and they’re trying to mix it with parkour. So, they go and they get either a piece of architecture or a tabletop in a park, and they will do really strange things and use the actual other practitioners as part of the movement space. And Naomi just give me this look, like, “Wow, that’s cool.”

Craig C:
I’m just like, you seem to be at the same idea of there’s a piece missing. And I don’t mean this as a flaw of parkour, but there’s a piece missing, like the physical actual contact between other people. In parkour, you never use your sense of smell. Maybe you smell the grass or you might smell car fumes, but it’s not like a primary sense. But if you were standing next to someone or behind them or a side of them, then you’re engaged in visual, tactile, and the sense of smell and all sorts of other things. So, I derailed your discussion of Brazilian dance, but I was like, “You need to know about contact improv and parkour.”

Naomi Honey:
That sounds amazing. I’m going to look it up. So, like you said, in parkour you don’t interact very closely with another person. And you have lovely relationships and stuff. But actually in my life, that was something that was missing. I wasn’t in a relationship. And I was a little nervous of … It’s partly a British thing I think, but I was a little nervous of getting really close to someone unless I was very interested in them, and dance gives me a chance to do that. It’s almost like these really mini relationships that are really …

Craig C:
Yeah, the norm is totally different.

Naomi Honey:
Exactly. And it’s just lovely. And it taught me you can go really engage with someone, have a gorgeous connection with someone without a commitment. And I don’t mean that in a bad way. I just mean it doesn’t have to be scary.

Craig C:
Yeah, you can have bite-size relationships. You dance for 10 minutes and then go to the next partner.

Naomi Honey:
It’s like that. It’s so lovely. And that was really special for me because that was something that was utterly missing in my life, actually. Yeah, that was great.

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