Thursday, 13 March 2014

Suppressed anger and other unnameable emotions

The choreographic project I am currently working on in my Dance Composition class at Goucher explores the notion of suppressed anger. We are exploring the tension and resistance suppressed anger can cause, the animalistic and instinctual nature of the emotion, and finally the sudden eruption of frustration, hatred and rage that follows the suppression.

There is something fundamentally unhealthy and dark about suppressing memories and feelings. We can push down memories that upset, or frighten, or anger us, but we can't escape them. We can crush  them in the darkest corners of our minds, underneath the time and routine and repetition of our daily lives. But they don't disappear: instead they rot and decay and darken. They fester and grow, clawing their way back to the surface, to surge through all we buried them under, in an explosion of fury and rage.

We all know the sensation of rising anger. Hot, sweaty palms, rapid heart beat, tense muscles, tapping foot. The surge and volcanic eruption of red fury, as it fills your mind and body is often too familiar. The urge to let loose, like a wild animal, to scream and shriek and kick and shout can be overwhelmingly powerful.

It seems that for a lot of people, suppressing anger in particular, starts from a young age. I remember my sister and I being told not to have tantrums by our mother (especially in the supermarket and in shoe shops), but we were never told to not express ourselves. So were we subconsciously conditioned by the society we live in not to express certain emotions? Or is it a personal choice, based on our own experiences and individual characters to suppress our memories and emotions?

Composition rehearsal. Dancers: Lindsey Hahn, Cami Del Mar, Eryn Simons and Raven Nee. Music: James Blake - I Only Know (What I Know Now)

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