…isn’t it called the “Rosenthal effect”, the opposite of what happens when one has low expectations to a group? I certainly am a good version of myself here. Yes. So far I have been. Oh, that’s Lara Palmer, and oh! I let out a loud sigh there. My inhibitive skills are probably worn down. But nobody here would care if they’d hear the little shrieks and aches from every part of my body. 

Oh, there he is again, the tall and elegant fire dancer. He is gracing us with a hypnotizing display of strength and rhythm, he’s owning the ground above which his pois are swiping. Now he grins and bites his lower lip and I remember Jane Fitz did that too, at MNMT 2019.

The festival has grown so much since its first edition, but it hasn’t grown bland. It is as benevolent and as thoughtful as last time, and I am proud to have taken part once again. We are picking each other’s garbage this time too. And we share so much, so many tangible and intangible things, all things good that can be shared. 

Now three people are hugging in front of me, hugging and dancing at the same time. I forgot how nice it can feel to watch strangers hug and I also want to dance and hug even more people, but for now I must only enjoy with my eyes and my ears, for I am too tired to dance, too tired to put my arms around another body, though there is no one I wouldn’t have hugged. 

At times of utmost personal freedom I choose to sway, I am made for dancing. I choose to let the beat embody me. More free than ever, is what I am. I am feeling the beat and seeing its pulse, and I am keeping track with a funky banger, drumming the air by my left hand. I want it yet another way. I need something else, something deep and gentle. So with a soft, soft tap I start beating the bones of my rib cage. I straighten my right index finger so that it bounces off my bone. This is me resonating bodily, if ever so lightly. Yeah, I will just sit here and observe my fellow dancers, while sensory and motor cortex engage the little parts of me that can be moved; single fingers and toes, yes. And now I am nodding slightly.

Oh, look, another familiar face, my volunteer luggage controller! Rolling back and forth in their own orbit, behind the main body of dancers, at a 90 degree angle to them. Most others are facing the stage, north, but this incredibly liberated, sweet soul is facing west. I can relate to this, I’ve also turned my own way, struck a dance with the sun, let the rays hit my face. It is about to be setting now, and the lights and colours are all saturated.

I could also be dancing out there with my face turned to the light! 

And oh, there’s my fellow dancer with the cowboy hat and the tutu! I recall tutu darling telling me of her appreciation of the crew’s “planned little surprises”. These unsuspectedly added layers of joy were relatable to me too, but I’d felt it with a different set of things. I’m humbled by the consideration taken into omitting information from the public eye, just to bump up the ride; this is skillful mass massage. Now tutu’s moves are getting damn rhythmic and edgy and strong, and luggage checker is like a puck of orbiting hard and colourful candy. How swell to observe them as they align their movements to each other, so naturally and playfully, so perfectly fitting, threading each other’s air as they define positions in space and time. They remind me of a pair of hand drawn animation characters, bodies flying and jumping in all directions, bodies hollering «play with me, friend!» and «oh, you bet I will!» 

Yes, yes, yes! Oh, thank you all for this space to roam, my pet festival, my favourite (and not to say; precious). Thank you for this playground, and all there is to see and feel and appreciate! This is like the best of communal growth, this might even be epigenetics at play. This is group fitness evolving before our eyes, evolving within us. This is love grown from little spores of music and good ideas, from acts of kindness and enthusiasm. The love mycelium is growing in each of us, affecting us all like a sweet, sticky sickness. What a big shot of oxytocin this must be for all! Good thing the crew weren’t lenient with the anti-COVID requirements, for people are hugging so frequently, there are only few minutes in between the good and long ones, people finding variants of “I am so glad to have met you and spent time here with you. Let’s not let this be the last we see of each other.” I wonder how many hugs have happened so far. Must be hundreds. Could be thousands! Oh wow. 

Dance, dance, dance, dance!

In the middle of the dance floor is the boss of it all. It is him, yeah! How I appreciate seeing him there dancing, finally reaping the bounty of his work. I lift my arms to applaud the job done by him and his crew members. I am chuckling. Chuckling and grinning. Now my right wrist and ankle are spinning.

This fuzzy feeling that glows in me and around me feels so right and so rare. I think it must be a sort of thankfulness that requires this utterly skillful prepping and three days of maturation, three beautiful days spent dancing together. I recall it now. This is it! I remember this feeling.

I don’t need to rest. I need to dance, dance, dance, dance!

And now the last sun beams are disappearing and the change of atmosphere feels a bit like yesterday morning’s adventurous bath; I was struck and caressed simultaneously. Now the pleasure and the change of atmosphere is raw and mammalian in a similar manner. When I dipped my body in that stream I could have been sleeping (out), but instead I had the most memorable morning bath to date. I crawled up that stream on all four, crouching as if I was riding a spunky motorbike on a sand track. I felt my way with my bare feet while nature attacked my senses, it was violently stunning. Around me, the world was so lush and so mighty. I had to pick a few stones, some souvenirs, because they were too beautiful. After slowly climbing the stream for a few hours without once slipping on the slippery stones, I found a pool as deep as a big bathtub filled to the rim with water (might it have been a few degrees colder than the air? Wasn’t it as cold as + 8 at its coldest? As I painstakingly slowly submerged myself in the pool, a little trout came to greet me.

I thought “This is the place to be. Otherwise there would be no flesh for the water to pound, no seething clear and cold streams around my toes, no small facial muscles lightly doused in river mist, in these biotopes.” Mosquitos summed around my head as I stroked the swollen big lumps of moss growing on sandy edges around me. I loved the micro beaches of fine sand, and the pools hollowed by streaming water and thousands of years of movement. I’ll volunteer as tour guide next year if any will join me after morning yoga.

And fuck, yeah! I certainly am the universe experiencing itself from within, and now I want to experience the universe through dancing.

I hear excited whistling and hollering from my fellow dancers. Oh! It must be because the silky robes are rejoining us. These pretty things are certainly spicing up the image that falls on my retina! Thank you lovebirds, for being my visual cake decor. The cake was already scrumptious, but now it is also magnificent.

I want more, I want more! Dance, dance, dance!

I love all the instant friendships; my own ones and the ones I hear and see forming around me. And here is yet another dancer tapping while scrolling down on their phone, must be adding new friends on social media. Is this about sharing, or being amicable? Is this about participating in something that is larger than the sum of us all? And there are so many great ideas at work here, like welcoming every single attendee at the festival gate. What a way to start it all. I’ve fallen for it. We’ve all fallen like dominoes. How generous to make such a regenerative event. 

Maybe an anthropologist or sociologist would appreciate observing what we are doing here, but what would they observe, actually? Is this a sort of circular economy where we trade non-monetizable values? Is this a collective dissolution of control? A collective growing of trust? We are united in dancing. Like bees from the same hive, we’ve increasingly grown to act as one organism. We’ve grown inter- and intra-connected these three days, and soon we will have to bid each other farewell. Maybe this limit of duration allows for more freedom. Marco Shuttle is taking over now. A fellow dancer to my right is tightening the belt around his waist.

This will be the last dance, now dance, dance, dance!

I wonder how much adrenaline gets pumped inside me now by the pumping beat. I wonder how much endorphins and dopamine and serotonin my body was secretly storing in hard-to-reach crevices of my brain. Whatever’s left to enable dancing must be purging from my synaptic vesicles. Yeah, something is causing major relay problems from those parts of my body still crying “don’t move, just be still and rest”. My aches are all numbed out and I feel blissfully merged. I am no longer in complete mastery of myself, all I can do and all I can be is this beat. This beat rides me smooth and steady. It rides along with the beat of my heart. All right, fellow dancers, I’m dancing too now.

Because it is easier to dance, than not to dance.