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Workshop: Bonding rituals (2021)

Rope bondage is excellent for exploring power and surrender and provides many interesting technical challenges for suspensions. There is the Japanese heritage with its aesthetics, narratives, and patterns. And finally, there is the communal practice. To join together and explore the ritual practice of being bound.

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In this workshop, we will work towards three different roping rituals with their unique themes and challenges.

First ritual centres around tying with strangers to celebrate that every rope encounter is unique. Depending on how much trust two people can build in, their mostly non-verbal practice decides how deep the meeting will be. Preparing for this ritual, we will learn to establish trust through body language, tie blindfolded, and discover the edge while being both safe and brave simultaneously, in both the roles of tying or being tied. We will focus on simple building blocks for improvisation that require little preknowledge and boot camping them into muscle memory.

Second ritual is about being seen in our power and vulnerability. Together we will enter a slow and wordless communal play space where we follow our attractions and honour our rejections. During an evening, you will get to tie and be tied by many different people or witness others in doing so. Building up to this ritual, we will explore tempo and transitioning between tying and witnessing. Using taboos and fantasies, we will fuel our play with passion and vulnerability. Technically you will learn how to restrict and shape the body to give an emotional imprint. We will dive into some Japanese narratives that made rope bondage to what it is today and how that merges with our local culture—love, melancholy, devotion, and freedom.

Third ritual is about falling deeply into surrender to see how our bodies adjust to challenges if we can stop fighting. The lessons ring true in rope bondage and life’s hardships in general. We will explore the paradox of letting go of responsibility while taking loving care of our body. Technically, you will learn how to tie stable structures while holding a meditative presence for your partner. Do it properly, and the force of gravity will be on your side. You will be challenged in reading your partners reactions and trusting your intuition. This ritual will form a deep bond with your partner while learning how to trust your tying skills.