Water Contact in Ecite 2017

Davide Casiraghi
Oct 22, 2018
Ecite 2017 took place in Tuscania, a beautiful medieval city hundred kilometer far from Rome.

TuscaniaOn a free day within a group of five persons, we have been to Terme dei Papi thermal bath, a huge outdoor swimming pool where the water temperature is almost equal to our usual body temperature, around 36 degrees.
We spent there almost the whole day, from 10 am to 8 pm.

The people present to this lab with me were: Andrea Decrescenzo, Andrea Scheel, Anne Dolorès Marcélis and Anne-Gaelle Thiriot.

Andrea Scheel in the last four years attend three Agua Ara teacher training, and me, at the same time I spent two years living by the sea in Trieste doing free diving, monofin swimming and researching on water bodywork and water dance in Slovenian thermal bath.

Andrea Decrescenzo, Andrea Scheel, Anne Dolorès Marcélis were dancers and contact teachers, and for them was the first time experimenting bodywork and dances in the water.

Terme dei Papi - ViterboI arrived in the thermal bath enthusiast for the possibility to share with someone the passion I feel for water in which I find a practice to reconnect with the best part of myself.

We start the practice laying on the grass in the shadow, taking 5-10 minutes to reconnect with our breath, our feelings and our needs. Then Andrea started the session giving a warm-up, we spent 30 min focusing on the flow of our breath, placing our hands on the lower part of our chest to feel the movement of the diaphragm, in the front part of our lower chest first and then in the back part. And then we shift our hands on the side of the chest, then on the sternum and the collarbone.
We filled the lungs to expand more and more their capacity since in our daily life we usually use just 10-20 percent of our lungs capacity.

Then to enter the water I’ve proposed a slow walk, from the side of the swimming pool where the water was 20 cm, to the side where the deepwater begin. The ground was lightly descent.
During this slow walk we kept noticing the weight of our single body parts and how it’s perception was affected by the water level that was rising up after each step forward.

Suddenly one by one starting from the feet, all the body parts passed from a state of falling to one of floating.
But since the chest has been above the water level the entire body was still falling having some ground under our feet.

We stopped and observed each time we felt that something was changed.
When our pelvis started to float we surrendered completely to the water and stayed there floating for a while.

Then in two groups, we give and receive 30 min of bodywork each, starting putting two tube floaters under the head and the pelvis. And another two around the thighs.

After each one receive bodywork, we went directly into the water jam, everybody with a noseplug, someone wearing a mask or goggles. For the one without googles, it has been a blind water jam.

We had almost one hour and half jam in 5e morning, then a lunch pause and then another 2/3 hour water blind jam session in the afternoon.
Especially the afternoon jam was in the part of the swimming pool where the water level was more than 2 meters.

I remember that this long dance, in 36 degrees water with eyes closed, after a while shift completely my perception of the present moment.

Since the skin is the bigger sensing organ of our body, to be surrendered and sustained by a warm fluid I think that awake some memories connected to our womb experience in our subconscious.

During the afternoon session, one by one, all the other participants except me and Andrea left. And at a certain point, one of the stronger emotional experiences in my life happened.

I remember that in that state of relaxation we were both breathing almost every two minutes. And in the same moment, we both deflate part of our air, just enough to fall together from the surface to the 3m deep bottom of the pool.
I felt a profound sense of relaxation in the heart, like that a tension that was there since years has been released, and when I came back to the surface I found myself crying.

Later on, I shared my experience with Andrea and she told me that Aguahara is about to reconnect with our trust in life.

I felt deeply touched by this experience, and through this, I got that movement and dance in the water can have a very deep impact on our experience of self, of the environment, of the present moment and on how we relate to the others.
I think that once we experience something in life the memory of that experience remains until we are alive, to that we can relate to, and will be part of the map through which we will taste later on experiences after that.

For more info about ECITE (Europen Contact Improvisation Teacher Exchange)

Davide Casiraghi
22 September 2017