Notes Towards A Theory of Grace (Dance Massive 2017)

‘The fact that the natural world is bound by laws of necessity has led philosophers to exclude the possibility of a spiritual order. They should have come to the opposite conclusion. “God can only be present in creation under the form of absence.”’ –E.W.F Tomlin after Simone Weil


The dancers are playing a game. The game is one of language­–corporeal, verbal. They must answer questions posed by each other–physically, linguistically. The dancers know the rules, though these change–a new game always begins before anyone has tallied the score. The dancers rotate within their spheres of knowledge, circling each other, suspended in orbit. They are all, together, caught up in the broader gravitational logic of a force that is delineated but never defined by the grabbing, snatching, jabbing, ducking, weaving, shouting, guessing.

We are playing a game. We must describe what we have seen or felt without ever touching on its essence.

A different venue. The dancers are each undertaking a task. The tasks involve light and weight and their bodies. They are aided or obstructed by smoke and mirrors and machines. One dancer climbs atop a screen, straddling it so that it hides their supporting leg and arm. The screen only reflects the half of them that is suspended, floating a short distance off the ground. This completes them and for a moment they seem untethered from the laws of necessity that govern the space. Then it is over. The dancer climbs down and the illusion that they were ever exempt from material logic dissipates as it is revealed they were grounded the whole time.

Words aren’t weightless. Like bodies, they fill gaps, take up space. They function like a sinker, dragging us deeper and further from a moment in which we may come up for air. Or maybe thought is the halo of Harwood’s imagining, forever circling a centre in an eternal state of remove.

The contradictions inherent in writing about dance only stand to illustrate particularly clearly the contradictions inherent in writing about anything. The laws that dictate our inability to articulate Truth do not exist within the language itself, they exist outside of it.

The game is rigged. I want out.


g r a c e

“Man only escapes from this world in lightning flashes. Instants when everything stands still, instants of contemplation, of pure intuition, of mental void… it is through such instants that he is capable of the supernatural” – Simone Weil, Gravity & Grace

I am observing a body, trying to write around it. I am trying not to write through it. I am trying not to imbue it with the experience of my body.

I am having trouble.

I am having trouble writing about the body

because it is not my body

but it is not nothing.

It is not nothing and I am not able

to say what it is outside of what it is

to me.

I am writing about a body

my body


I write to feel empty, to escape. I try to think myself out of myself. I try, though I know I embody a perpetual state of                                                                   reaching

Contradiction rends the soul, so I pull at the loose threads

and hope that in the act of striving for the unattainable,

grace may be manifest.






The dancers are playing a game.

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