How about liquid competitions with judges who are unbiased in relationships and maybe more in tune with what inspires outsiders and potential newcomers? Imagine a liquid contest with a popper, a house dancer, and a random raver for judges. Really high-level liquid dancers could participate without worrying about having to judge or being judged by their peers, and high level dance is always inspiring to newer dancers. Newer dancers could participate without worrying about having to demonstrate all the latest/known concepts and bring their own style to the table.
I remember the first time someone showed me what would become the foundation for my hand flow. I was 15, sitting in the back of the school bus and talking to a friend. She said, “Here, do this.” I had no idea what she had just demonstrated to me. A couple of years later, also on the school bus, a different friend showed me digits. Again, I had no idea what I had just seen. That I had witnessed liquid and digits in their most basic forms didn’t occur to me, nor did I realize how much of an impact these two separate events would have on my life. This was all before Youtube, Napster, Kazaa, or anything that could distribute media like we have today.
Those were the days, when it was all unexplored. Before rules and technical standards, there was this freedom that I haven’t witnessed since. Whereas before, the liquid was guided by the soul, it now seems to be directed by the quest for technical perfection.
I have been fortunate enough to meet and talk to some of the authors of the online tutorials. I had the pleasure of watching some of them dance and demonstrate their technique. Some are phenomenal, their creativity shining through their technical mastery. Others make me feel like I’m watching a tutorial video on Youtube. There are some who, for all their displays of technical mastery, never look like they are dancing, but rather working through training regimens or exercises.
When I was young and still trying to figure it all out, we used to play “liquid” games. The thing that made these sessions special was the exchange of knowledge. At times we would slow down the flow to the point that you could actually see every bodily motion in sequence. The thing that stood out to me as absolutely critical was the connection made between the people in the circle. Now, when I go to parties, I see circles, but they are not the circles I once knew. They are like an impromptu stage, where the goal is to develop the biggest audience, to inflate the ego and not simply to dance.
I go to events to dance, listen to music, and see my friends, not to be seen. I think the thing that is missing in all of the tutorials and seminars is the connection to the soul, the people around us, and the music. What’s missing is that this is an expression of creativity and not just a demonstration of technique.
I haven’t posted for a while, mostly because I’ve taken a step back from serious dance but also because I ran out of stuff to say. The two are probably related, since I’ve never been short of thoughts when I was steeped in the dance. Now I’m old and lazy, but I did have a thought a while back that I’ve shared with a few friends.
Liquid flow was always a favorite discussion topic of mine. Not the mechanics of it, new ways to create it, or what it could become, but what the illusion was metaphysically. The definition of flow has been a tired and useless topic for many and dangerously limiting or elitist for others, but I have always appreciated a fresh perspective on the topic, or in this case, an aerial perspective.
On my way home from a business trip, I looked out the window of an airplane to see a river down below. A river from that height is a motionless thing, a single jagged line dividing the terrain. But everything that makes up the river is in constant motion—rushing currents over top of undercurrents causing riptides and cyclones, a motion invisible to us if not for clues from refraction and swirling silt.
The illusion of flow is akin to the river and its currents. The illusion is not a concrete one like mistaking a man for machine, but an abstract one of motion and stillness. Whereas the popping style of animation shows motion through stillness, liquid seeks the opposite from the other side of the fine line, stillness through motion.
Motion can only be seen relative to its environment and the same for stillness. So which is the illusion? If you consider both simply as conceptual tools for understanding, is there even an illusion?
“Truth and illusion. Who knows the difference, toots?”
This class will cover the basics of what I classify as “round” (as opposed to “angular”) flow: orbital and helical. This would probably be geared toward newer members, but of course older heads are welcome. There are some finer points in these styles that aren’t really touched on that I feel should be common liquid knowledge.
Thursday, December 16
So far Eric has hosted viewings of a house music documentary and previously unreleased LPC footage, accompanied by a group chat and discussion. What more is to come? We can only wait and see…