trance 'ndance

*transcendence – trance 'n dance* is a performative piece which explores the power of dance as a tool of bodily reappropriation and of trance as a state of heightened awareness, focusing on the liberation journey of the Self from the physical and psychological confinement imposed by the politics of a colonialist, patriarchal, and capitalist society. A narrational electronic-poetic piece plays in space. I listen; I respond—through dance. Since I am remotely connected to a set of automated drums via a vaginal muscle reader, which reacts to the movements of my hips, the outcome is a sonic clash between the drums (primal, ancestral) and the electropoetry (digital, intellectual). I embody the eagle and the snake in me—'opposite' forces—and battle to balance them, reclaiming my body as subject to stop it from being object, transcending from oppression to liberation.

concept, development and performance: pamela varela

electropoetry: Montserrat Balmori, Victoria Martínez, Anna Arov
technology: Marlot Meyer, Maarten Keus, Adriaan Wormgoor
costume: Mexican artisan, Ines DeRu, Jill Wilkinson
thesis: Sofía Irene, Taide Martínez, Anna Arov
percussion: Bob Verhoeven, Lucien Nicou
installation: Ella Hebendanz, Ines DeRu
dance: Fazle Shairmahomed
metalwork: Dennis Slootweg
mask: Davide Amato

phrases, pledges
by pamela varela

my great-grandmother was a land
and just like the Mexican grounds
taken she was
by a European man

trinchera de guerra
a body is a land
continuously regenerating
a body embodying time

transgenerational experiences
rooted in ancestral stories
collective trauma
transmitted into our spirits
presente in our bodies
carrying painful stories in our vessel
the grandchildren of generations of rape

hammering our Selves
is hope on the horizon?
hope should be no diamond

patriarchy at the forefront of pain,
of restraint, of constraint
cisgender men exerting domain
–don’t let them tell you that is the natural way–

and capitalism committed
to racism and sexism
a system that does not value
the looks of a body
that is just not the Vitruvian man

binary constructions rejecting “the other”
a history that does not
tell herstory, theirstory

so if imprisoned by language
then poets to break the code
myths myths myths
myths can be retold

se la robaron, she was stolen
a woman taken by a man
oh, dear great-grandmother
I light a candle on your name
your story is the fuel of my fire

and thanks to all the rebels
who changed my path
so that I won’t be
taken by a man

so here we are, protesting
the new mestizas, a breed of antagonist cultures
daughters of an encounter of ravaging essence
gaining control of the dangerous streets
so that the eleven Mexican women
who die everyday
at the hands of men
will march then

heartbeat rising when walking the night
do you think it’s fine
to walk with your keys between your hands?
the night, the obscure, the shadows
taken away from us
to depend or to endanger

and is home any better?
to perform the unremunerated job
of raising kids and feeding husbands
choose one: whore, mom, nun
I choose none

gender binarism professed
biological differences stressed
those with uteruses oppressed
so let us protest

united in the struggle
to destroy cis-temic violence
intersectionality striving diversity, plurality
to construct new realities and virtualities
inclusive bodies, including bodies

from politics to poetics
from activism to art
of movements that heal
and its creator creatures
the change generators:
the rebels
the dancers
the poets
the witches
the serpents

dance as a form of protest
“for the joy of a body that enjoys
and dances on the ruins of order and progress”
movement connecting us
physically, spiritually, sexually
to our joy and our struggles
the rave as subversive
and the power of collective dance
breaking away from the framework of norms:
“political disobedience, sexual rebellion”

loosening the soils, planting the seeds
for a future constellation to exist
a bright destiny where we
commune, collaborate, cooperate
for change, to change

reclaiming the witch and her rebellious ways
with a body that dances to the beats of the obscure
I let the quietened voices
living in and around me
guide my way
mi cuerpa, my body
enjoys, joys, joins
to rebel, to dance
I rebel, I dance


images by Melle de Groot, Marlot Meyer, Robinou, Ines DeRu, Ella Hebendanz, Emma Grima, pamela varela...© 2021.