For f**k sake it’s just movement, ‘Movement is movement’!
- I have steadily heard this statement: ‘movement is movement’ being thrown around by many in the ‘movement community’. Interestingly this statement is usually applied when somebody finds similarity with a ‘new’ movement brand/method and an older one. Or people claim the ‘name’ of a movement that doesn’t match the others name or the context it is used in ect.
And of course soon or later the question and topic of ownership almost always arises.
All this is just funny to me.
Hear me if you can and please do not be offended if I choose agree to disagree with you as this is not an attack on you personally. It’s a way of expressing and reasoning that which your teacher, mentor or school/academy/institution should have had with you or at least inspired you to think about while you were learning and being taught your subject field.
This is probably an alternate opinion outside of your own ‘echo chamber’. A view and perspective that you may not care to know or you have not even thought about. An opinion that may not matter to you, or one that you agree with as my fictional character is not yet fictionalised as one of the many movement gurus, instagram celebrities or a leader of a major platform with a huge following which I know would aid to validate my opinion to you- but never the less my story in movement and art sure has firm roots.
So let’s begin.
That’s right. Nobody ‘owns’ ‘movement’.
But let’s go a step further, no body ‘owns’ anything! As we are all passing through here, everything is borrowed, the only thing we are: Is ‘responsible’ for that which we borrow- and truth is most can’t even own their ‘own’ actions and thoughts or take responsibility for them, let alone own a tree.
However we do not live in that world right?- We live in a man made patriarchal capitalist system. A consumer society based on supply/demand and ownership! A illusory world of ownership which becomes real because people choose to buy, invest and believe in it. Yes, sadly the majority of us believe this is as the only way with no other alternative structure, so here we are.
Let us speak from this basis. As this is the plane in which that I assume you like I are bonded to. You have birth certificate. A passport. You hold a citizenship of a nation. You use money. Pay taxes. Pay bills. Have a bank account. Savings, or an intention there of. Possibly an investment such as a house or assests (eg a car) and liabilities (eg mortgage or some other assets you maybe trying to pay off).
Now let’s bring this statement ‘movement is movement’ into perspective within the greater world we live in. Replace ‘movement’ with a different word, any word and apply it to the context. ‘A house is a house’, ‘culture is culture’, ‘a country is a country’, ‘people are people’, ‘a woman is a woman’, ‘a man is a man’, ‘a wife is a wife’, ‘a husband is a husband’, ‘a car is a car’, ‘art is art’, ‘everything is everything’, you get the point? You sure are right, in fact you are scare-fully right and I agree fully, ‘everything is everything’ and ‘movement is movement’. But really!? Do you really believe that? Are you sure? And if you do are you truly living that? Is that statement not a tad bit general and vague? I think your movement brand/method/practice is more to the point than that statement, but we will get there I’m sure, we will. As Im already getting the scent of double standards here through my BS filter and its affecting the aroma of my double espresso.
I can see where your going and can empathise with the statement I really can. I can even empathise with your cause. You are the liberator, a pioneer, the crusader, the discoverer, the hero/herione archetype, the interpreter, the ambassador, the entrepreneur, the leader doing the right thing in order to help the masses, freeing the enslaved movements from all dogmatic, restrictive, orthodox, old school disciplinary, movement arts, liberating them away from their ‘dogmas’, from their respected names and masters onto the new and free promised land of milk and honey also named ‘movement’ and then renaming those movements as something else - and then branding your creation something else also. Unsurprisingly, that which you create is not just called ‘movement’ but something else, so now although you liberated this movement and transported it to the new and free promised land of ‘movement’ you then decide to name and own it, so it works for you… Makes total sense! (O’ boy you’re a great mover! Look at you shucking and jiving, rocking and rolling, flipping it upside down, swinging from art to art, name to name dodging all the sticks of criticism being poked at you! Look at all these crazy movements you’ve utilised. See, this movement stuff really works!)
I just hope you and your leaders are not doing this because if they too broke away from their arts and/or teachers due to disagreements whats not to say they’re just out here repeating the pattern! Apart from that it all sounds very much like past events in our near history repeating it self to me. But then we are a people with amnesia. So… It figures why we forget then can’t relate or empathise.
I get it. Movement doesn’t belong to anyone! And you’re not selling your brand of movement right? Right!? So movement then isn’t another commodity that is sold or is it?
Let’s see. Lets go back to the, ‘for f**k sake its just movement!’ ‘movement is movement’ statement and take it further forward. ‘A house is a house’ so I am guessing you don’t refer to your house as it’s ‘your’ house right? As its just a house, or a car as ‘your’ car because after all ‘a car, is a car’ and your husband or wife as ‘your’ husband or wife? Do you not ‘buy’ the licences to obtain the private right to own these as commodities so you can have the freedom to use them as you wish? Houses, cars, the proof of marriages and your rights in them ect. Uh oh! Problem right. Got you thinking. Unfortunately in the world we live these are just all commodities, yes sadly enough even people and marriages!
So. If you are commodifying, accommodating making more accessible in order to sell, productising, USPing, branding, licensing, copywriting. You are in the business of owning, differentiating and ownership. Like we all are. So please let’s not pretend. But then again what level of honesty can we really expect from one another being so far from our ‘self’. So the double standards and games continue. This is everywhere, all across society its nothing ‘new’.
Lets take a look at culture from that perspective. ‘Culture is culture’. Most of pop culture in the west today is largely based on so called ‘black culture’. Fact. (Did I really just write that? Those who can see, will see what I’m talking about. Please don’t be offended, scared or alarmed by that statement because thats not my intention, my intention is however is to make you think, raise your awareness). From the most popular music genres (rnb and rap) to slang, style, the ‘hip’ (whats popular) to the ‘hop’ (movement) through to fashion, this is to be seen everywhere. Black culture appears to be everybody’s default culture of choice but yet surprisingly enough it is not labelled as black fashion or black music by the mainstream rather it gets passed as- Urban/Street again yet another word that seems to be easier to digest and that also frees it from those who oppress it, do you see where I am going with this? Can you see the parallel here? We must learn and wake up from the amnesia.
‘No people come into possession of a culture without having paid a heavy price for it.’ -James Baldwin.
So why am I using the example of culture? In short, because Movement Arts and culture are very much entwined. Movement arts, are ‘connected’ to oral traditions and at large are ‘embodied’ by their practitioners. Within the movements are ‘our stories’ which contain knowledge and wisdom- Those embodied are like living libraries. So before ‘severing’ movement from culture one should at least try to understand and grasp the base foundation of the original concept one is trying to replant, in this way he/she she can actually aid in the evolution of the art if they wish, or create something authentic and useful from it, rather than to be seen trying to poorly ‘plagiarising’ it.
In fact through this process of embodiment and practice is actually how the movement arts themselves in time evolve and transform!
But I guess having the need to own, be first, the go to source and get to the point quickly and simply as possible (The McMethod) at some point will conflict with that process.
Now I am sure that if we were to examine the majority of those throwing around the words ‘movement is movement’, ‘It’s not about names and labels of movements, nor brands of methods’ and those agreeing with this idea- We will surely find out these are people who either ‘sell’ movement and/or that have brands and have relabelled and named movements themselves, or themselves practice or support a particular brand of movement created by another who has, and are now invested in it so naturally find themselves having to defend it.
So. When it comes to you selling something that which people are already doing, or similar enough to be confused with it - that happens to be part of their existing lifestyle and culture there seems to be a problem when people with a little sense of self, call it out and its here where you want to fall into amnesia forgetting where we are, and play the role of the saviour and liberator ‘movement is movement’ ‘free movement’, ‘nobody owns it it’s free’, but at the same time events/workshops and teacher trainings are paid up and you want re-package what is ‘free’ and sell it for a ‘fee’! And when somebody notices your brand and label of movement you are happy that they did!- and after all that we still don’t have free movement across nations borders without a valid passport! and we’re talking about free movement, hold on!? What!? LOL.
Do you not see the slight hypocrisy here?
If ‘movement is movement’ why is it that you teach specific movements and pay attention to your particular brand or style of ‘movement’. Why is it that you have branded your brand and are not practicing an art form? Or maybe you did and that art form is not so fashionable today as it once was or didn’t serve you? Maybe it was because you miss understood it, or had bad teachers, or it wasn’t the art for you or maybe you just missed the point all together, maybe the art wasn’t there to serve you. but rather it was there to teach you about yourself.
Which ever way, I wish you the best, but hear me clearly.
As I mentioned right at the beginning of this blog. Truth is that no body ‘owns’ anything. As we are all passing through here, everything is borrowed, the only thing we are: Is ‘responsible’ for that which we borrow. The key thing here is responsibility. Lets be responsible. Just because others don’t do it doesn't mean you have to follow, it doesn’t mean you need to add to the mess. This is your responsibility as a teacher, artist, mover, coach, mentor, leader, human ect.
So what solutions are there? Well. If you are a ‘teacher’, ‘instructor’, ‘coach’, ‘practitioner’ with a study of movement you could start by referencing your work and educating your students/clients and future teachers as this is what professionals do. Practice or at least experience an art form that your movement method draws from. Yes even if others are not doing so. This will only benefit you to grow.
For those from Movement arts that see this nonsense daily. Create your works. develop your brands but most importantly value your arts!
For those learning, question! What did convenience ever get you? Search deeper to find the roots!
I will round up on a positive by quoting a Mestre of capoeira - M.Pequines (Alexandre Ronán de Sousa)
‘Capoeira belongs to those who train it’.
Now insert ‘movement’ where Capoeira is.
So thats right ‘Movement is Movement’ but is it just that whats playing out?
Think about it.