He is a trader from the City, who, just before his 31st birthday, discovered he had immense creative potential. After all the trials and tribulations of reconciling his newly discovered qualities with his successful banking career (see the previous instalments here), he decides to attend a creativity workshop… Here, Annabelle, the workshop leader, encourages the group to start with a dance exercise… What happens afterwards is close to magical…
…My disappearing into the music continued. My body was yielding itself to the most unusual shapes and forms until, through a crimson fog of hallucination, I saw a mansion. It stood high up on a cliff; it must have been somewhere in Scotland, I thought to myself, as I began to feel unable to remain standing firm on the workshop floor. I kicked off my shoes and socks, feeding them to the bleak thundering sea. I was almost certain it was January and I let my feet sink slowly into the icy grains of sand.
‘Now, imagine that you are made out of clay. Move slowly, sculpting your bodies to the rhythm.’ The echo of Annabelle’s voice was distant and hard to comprehend.
Lights illuminated every window in the house. A young brunette, wearing a maid’s outfit, appeared in the doorway and was looking right out on to the beach, as if it were an evening some centuries ago and her duty was to get all of the family together for dinner. She rang the bell and waved to me – she could see me from up there and seemed to know who I was. Without understanding why, I experienced an instant longing to join her and wander about in the house.
‘Let’s add some water to your clay: your movement becomes freer and you are flowing.’ The workshop leader’s guidance still managed to penetrate into my hallucination or vision.
As soon as I started clambering up the cliff, trying to hold on to every wild bush or rock along the way, the maid vanished into the house, leaving the door ajar. With my gaze fixed on the dim and nervous streak of light, coming out into the dusk, I continued on my way up. I was convinced that my reaching the top of the cliff was vital at this creativity workshop, and that both my creativity and banking career somehow depended on it. It was a race.
‘You are now fire. Every movement releases fire and flames. Radiate the heat and intensity.’
Candlelight cast its disorderly moving shadows all over oak-panelled walls and numerous portraits of a small strawberry-blond boy. This was my first riding lesson – I couldn’t remember a painter being present, nor during our holiday in Paris, nor when I posed in front of the Christmas tree at my parents’ house in London when I was 13. Slightly higher up there were portraits of my ancestors: some that I knew of and some that I had never heard of before – yet their inscrutable faces were very familiar. Standing among them – and dancing in reality – I could feel strength surge to my feet and ankles. I was grounded and rooted.
Then, she showed up in the doorway – I could barely make out her facial features or see her eyes but her presence was warm and caring. She nodded as if giving a sign for me to follow.
‘Let go fully, don’t hold on to anything,’ interrupted Annabelle. ‘It is your chance to go deeper within yourself and connect to your spontaneity and creativity. When the music changes, begin shaking, shake everything out – lose yourself!’
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