I had the pleasure of watching and participating in a number of wonderful suspension rope demonstrations at the Ab Fab Cabaret on Saturday. There's a dialogue (or monologue in the case of the fantastic self-suspension demo) that occurs in rope play. The movement of both the rigger and model, both in terms of their reactions to each other as well as the way they relate to the rope itself tell a story - especially when performed to an audience. I'm adding a disclaimer that these are just my interpretations of the pieces, but what I found fascinating was that they were performance pieces, that could be interpreted.
Esinem ties fast. Very fast. Deft knots and wraps are quickly pulled into position as he dances his way around his model, literally - in a shimmy boogie eerily reminiscent of a scene in Reservoir Dogs (the white shirt and black tie combination adds to this) he doesn't watch where the rope flies as, expecting people to get out of his way. Meanwhile, his model and partner hangs dreamily in the air, arching her legs this way and that as if dancing. As she does so, he folds the rope around her new position, holding her in place here and there. Where she went, he followed with the rope, securing her in place. Their story is a D/s one - a romance, but not one you'd see in a conventional script. Sadly.
The self-suspension by Boykitten was impressive - a real display of physical prowess which had a disturbing strength to it. I'd spoken to the performer briefly earlier, who mentioned that they often bruised themselves in practice with vicious strokes. The idea of force inflicted upon the self in order to accomplish the deed was something that really stuck with me when watching: rope was hauled around angrily, knots tied with grit and almost a level of spite. The suspension seemed to be a battle, almost, the body willed upwards against gravity towards the desire for weightlessness. Once suspended there was a kind of release, a free movement exploring the space that the rope had creating, arching this way and that, testing the bonds, holding each beautiful pose for a few seconds before powering into the next with the assurance and grace of a gymnast. I could have watched that forever, I was rapt. It was a story of conquest, of personal determination and will-to-power. I was a little in love.
Finally, I was tied for the first time by a friend of mine from The Collective, who hauled me around, whirled me in circles on the heels of my shoes whilst I posed, winked and fluttered my eyelashes at the audience. We played up to the crowd and it was a fantastic feeling, not just because I am an exhibitionist, but through the way he was tying me - tight fitting hemp rope with intricate bonds - that allowed me to play in the spaces he created, interacting and teasing him as he tied so that we had a backwards-forwards conversation in rope. Banter without speaking. He would pull me back and I would follow through, moving my weight around to pivot on the rope, making him alter what he was doing. We laughed a lot, it felt like two people enjoying a game together: a real experience of play in which we entertained ourselves as much as those who were watching.
2 weeks ago