Life in a Bind – BPD and me

My therapy journey, recovering from Borderline Personality Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I write for , for Planet Mindful magazine, and for Muse Magazine Australia, under the name Clara Bridges. Listed in Top Ten Resources for BPD in 2016 by

The powerful metaphor of dance


As soon as I saw this dance footage, I knew I really wanted to share it with you. It is a clip of Jacob Lang, one of the competitors in the Contemporary Dance final of the recent BBC Young Dancer 2017 show. This is one of his solo pieces, entitled ‘FrankAIstein‘, danced to music from the film ‘Shutter Island’. The music itself is haunting, both in its words and in its moving strings – it is a beautiful blend of Dinah Washington’s ‘This bitter earth’ and Max Richter’s ‘On the nature of daylight’.

The dance is about an Artificial Intelligence ‘being’. When interviewed about the piece, Jacob Lang said this – and his words are for me, the perfect depiction of the dance – or rather, the other way around. If this is what he was seeking to communicate, in my view, he communicated it powerfully, and left me almost on the point of tears:

“I think the character is almost alive, but not quite. And I think the character has a conflict going on. And I think its experience of being is quite painful.”

These words, and the dance itself, resonated for me as powerful metaphors for my experience. You can substitute the psychoanalytic concept of the ‘false self’ or the ‘artificial self’, for the AI, but the conflict, and the painful experience of being, are just the same. Who am I? Am I real? If there is a ‘true self’, how can its spontaneity and freedom be expressed or show through this artifice that has been created? The painful sense of fighting with oneself, of trying to figure out one’s true nature, of being taken prisoner or being taken by surprise by one’s own being – I think they are all there in the dance. I know that for many of you reading, this will be your experience too, which is why I wanted so strongly to share this.

Sometimes we struggle to come up with external realisations or depictions of our conflicts and our pain; and sometimes it’s easier to see them, to feel them, and to process them when we can do that – when they are ‘out there’, rather than ‘in here’. Our therapists help us to do thatΒ  – but so can creative expressions such as this heart-rending dance:



11 thoughts on “The powerful metaphor of dance

  1. Not available to view outside UK 😦 Pity, it sounds wonderful

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really wanted to watch this but because I live in Australia, it won’t allow me to view it…..bummer! πŸ˜”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh no! I hadn’t realised! I am trying to find out an actual link for an international version, if there is one, and will then repost if there is. According to the BBC website there is an international version of their programmes website, but it probably has a different URL and I probably can’t access it! I think if you live outside the UK it loads the international version automatically. Perhaps if you try googling BBC young dancer 2017 and click on the link that appears to be the BBC website, it will load an accessible version for you? If it does, and if it’s the same as the UK version, once you get to the young dancer homepage click on ‘Clips’ and then scroll through to find the right one. They are listed by name, dance title and dance type. If you find it could you possibly let me know so I can repost with the international link? Many thanks πŸ™‚


      • Unfortunately I don’t think it will work as it’s all part of BBC iPlayer which unfortunately you can’t access abroad. So far no one has posted a YouTube clip of that performance but perhaps they will – I will keep checking !


  3. I was really struck by your interpretation of this. I find it very beautiful.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I can’t see the video either! I am in Latin America!


    • oh no! I am so sad about this, as I so wanted people to be able to see it 😦 I have tried messaging the programme’s Twitter account, and I’ve even tried sending a Facebook message to the dancer concerned! But I’ve had no response, so unless someone puts it on Youtube (and they haven’t yet, so it’s unlikely now, I think), then those outside the UK won’t have access…..I might writing to the dancer and his dance school! Good old pen and paper!

      Liked by 1 person

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