Yesterday I was met by Liz King, Artistic Director of Dance Identity, at the Pinkafeld Hauptplatz. Liz invited me to lunch over which she informed me of all the arrangements for this month. The intention of Dance Identity is to care for me and to make sure that my time here is fulfilling, fun and memorable. As we left the restaurant we met the Austrian Ambassador to Turkey who was accompanied by the wife of the Australian Ambassador to Turkey. Yes, that’s right – I’m in Pinkafeld for less than an hour and I have already met an Australian.
Last night I met the Body Focus Group. I took a two hour class so that we could get to know each other before we commence work on A-K, L-Z. They are a lively and diverse group, including currently two Syrian asylum seekers who I understand to all intents and purposes, walked to Austria. What is going to be so interesting about this time, the work we do together and the learning and inspiration that I return home with, is the clash of culture. I was not sure how things were going last night at first as they move in such a different way to Australians but it seems they loved the class. I have decided to repeat class on Friday night rather than commence A-K, L-Z. This will be an opportunity for us to continue to explore our different physicality and movement language, have another beer together and then start A-K, L-Z refreshed on Monday morning.
Just one of the Body Focus Group members actually lives in Pinkafeld with the others all coming from nearby villages and towns, some travelling up to an hour to come to class/rehearsal. Each time I get to engage with older adults who have discovered dance I experience the same phenomenon – joy – and their commitment, passion, resilience and determination to ensure that they can continue to engage with dance.
Today Liz has a meeting in Graz so I am going with her and will spend the afternoon sightseeing in Graz. I will have ample time over the next four weeks to explore Pinkafeld and the surrounding area. I’m currently staying with Liz in a neighbouring village until the apartment I will be staying in becomes available on Monday.