I remember being accused of being superficial because I was involved in fitness. In the modern hyper-critical world, it’s easy to judge anyone who has different priorities from you. In our world of absolute ideologies, it’s not only easy, but seemingly required, to denounce the “other”. Is this why so many are feeling they aren’t being heard? Is this part of the reason for the rise of populism?
While some are basking in being heard, many of us are feeling a loss of voice and a loss of control over our environment.
Rose Beermann is one who feels things are out of control. She reacts to this in her new work, My body is the field for tomorrow’s battles.
“In light of what’s going on right now in the world, it seems paradoxical that a return to and into the body is taking place. As the last domain that still seems controllable, the body has become the battlefield for the conflicts that surround us. It is shaped and designed to become the ultimate weapon.
Superhuman strength is just one of the skills we need to train to survive what is coming. Current fitness trends combine an extremely wide range of physical practices in order to achieve nothing less than being prepared for anything. What visions of the future, ideologies and role models are hidden behind this desire? An army of ultra-fit women who are prepared to deploy their bodies, but don’t exactly know what for, will fight for answers to these questions on stage.”
As a former personal trainer, I am well acquainted with the empowering benefits of exercise. It’s more than physical. It not only affects how we see ourselves and others, but how they see us.
Rose Beermann knows that, like any power, it can be used for good or bad.
As a choreographer and dancer, she feels herself drawn to that which makes her body strong. After all, her body is her tool. She became increasingly aware of a growing trend for cross-fit. Naturally she was intrigued.
“Were ‘In the Penal Colony’ to be written today, Kafka could only be speaking of an exercise machine. Instead of the sentence to be tattooed on its victims, the machine would inscribe lines of numbers. So many calories, so many miles, so many watts, so many laps.”
In Rose Beermann’s My body is the field for tomorrow’s battles, we see that cross-fit is more than an exercise program. It is a win-at-all-costs philosophy that can be transferred into any facet of life and society. The concept that failure will not be accepted, leaves no room for empathy. It leaves no room for the learning that comes from failing and starting again.
Perhaps, most importantly, it leaves no room for the recognition of limitations. Is there a difference between crossing thresholds and crossing borders? Should all borders be crossed? I’ve always found this kind of no holds barred exercise program reckless. Not listening to your body leads to injury.
As someone who used to do martial arts, Rose Beermann knew the rewards of regimented exercise. This kind of mentality and the daily routine of a dancer is the same in many ways. In order for the body to perform, it must be trained. So what’s the difference?
She purposely chose dancers who struggled with this paradox to participate in the project. Together they explored what makes movement exercise vs dance. They looked at the social interaction that this creates or lack thereof.
This piece takes you through the experience, from the work to the fantasy behind it. It looks at the thought process and motivation behind it and laughs at the relentless search for new ways of doing the same old thing. From the gym workout to Lene Riefenstahl to Gladiators, the music by Malu Peeters expertly sets the mood. Electronic, without ever taking us to the club.
What are tomorrow’s battles? In our current political climate, are we training to let our brains escape for a moment to reset? Are we fighting aging? After sitting in front of the computer all day, are we trying to get back in our bodies? Are we controlling the only thing we feel we can?
My body is the field for tomorrow’s battles
Sat 4 March 8.00 pm
Sun 5 March 6.00 pm
Lindenauer Markt 21