The man and the ball in a landscape of sounds

Dance & Dare – .Ball (work-in-progress)

© Ernest Potters

There is a ball on the floor. There is a dark ball on the white floor. There is a foot in a white sports sock inside a sports shoe by the ball. Attached is a body; a man’s body. The man is wearing short black sports shorts; those wide football shorts. His chest is bare, his arms are bare, his legs are bare. The man is sitting on the ground. His body is not attached to the ball. The ball is not attached to his body. The man’s legs are stretched out. The ball is motionless.

There are fans suspended from the high ceiling. They are rotating. They are not rotating above the stage. They are rotating beyond the black cloths that section off the stage. The fans attract my attention. It is winter.

We enter a landscape of sound. Sound taken out of its mundane context, placed under a magnifying glass and now displayed stark in its mundanity. I imagine it transcends mundane sound. I can’t place the sounds, but I think I know them.

The man in the sports shorts with the ball. He moves his left shoulder. It just happens.

His shoulder wants to move, his other shoulder follows; wants to join in. Alternately they move to the sounds that ring out. In a controlled way uncontrolled, to the rhythm. And while the man moves, he looks at us, seeking recognition. His arms swing, loosely following every movement. He wants to be a man. He is still a boy. A tough self-conscious searching fearful boy.

From a sitting position, the man moves backwards, forwards and sideways through space. His legs follow. The ball follows. The ball rolls along behind him. Rolls along behind him. Rolls along behind him. Rolls over the toe cap of his shoe, rolls over his laces, on over his ankle, over his shin-bone, towards his knee, over his kneecap towards his thigh, over his thigh, his groin, his belly, his ribs, his chest, over his collarbone to the side of his neck, then to the side of his head, until the ball comes to rest on his ear. 

I see two heads. The man looks at me; looks at us. Proud, almost exuberant.

The man jumps up. His body leaps up to follow. Swings along behind him, as if forgotten. The landscape of sound disappears momentarily. Footsteps, rhythms; leaps and landings. The bouncing of the ball. I am in the auditorium. The fans are still rotating.

The ball rolls, rolls towards all the corners; into all the corners. The body of the man follows. 

He moves across the stage like a star footballer without a goal. He is totally absorbed in the moment. His fears forgotten. He is playing. He kicks. I squeeze my eyes shut. He stops kicking. Does a rerun. He kicks. I squeeze my eyes shut again. He stops kicking. Does a rerun. I keep watching. My eyes open. He keeps watching. Until the lights go out.

Essay from masterclass participant Saskia de Haas on .Ball (work-in-progress) by Corpo Máquina/Guilherme Miotto. Written in the context of Writing Course Dance & Dare, a project for creative writers who dare to seek new words for dance, by Domain for Art Criticism & DansBrabant (Sept. 2017 – Jan. 2018).