Yes (laughs). That is true to a certain extent. Yes, it is a space to be intimate, to have affection, to have emotions. To share something with the other person. In capoeira, for example, I could sing and dance and fight and play with other men in a way I never would have otherwise. However, there was something about the touch that was always pragmatic. The hands, for example, only touched to do something: to manipulate, to hit, to lift, to scratch – they have to have a pragmatic function. They do not just touch for the sake of touching.
I am very happy that we managed to introduce into the work the touch that is simply there to feel the other. What are you going through right now? To support, to understand, to communicate, to sense, to guide, to just be present. I loved it, because when we invited that kind of touch, or sometimes stayed in one position and breathed together, it allowed the performers to melt into each other, to find softness, find comfort, as well as enabling them to support each other or even to make jokes with each other’s bodies.
There is something special in this ability to comfort each other physically without it being sexual in any way. Because it is easy for us to hug the opposite sex, and maybe women can embrace each other rather easily, too, but men and men not so much, I would say. I am very happy that the performers were also open to that.
And there is one theme that came up a lot, both from them and from me: The idea of companionship, of supporting each other. Of being together on the same journey. How can you define this physical and emotional intimacy between men? There is the idea of rivalry, or of brotherhood. But those types of relationships are often coded in masculine terms, whereas with companionship, I think, you are just being very close to the other. With the other. This was a nice term.