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dance while you can.

September 24, 2011

dance is a form that i’ve never really given a lot of thought to, and i suppose that is a short-coming on my behalf. maybe it’s because i just cannot do it. i don’t have a body awareness that a lot of people have. this past year, i’ve really started to become aware of other creative forms, and have really started to watch other people – people who are more aware of their bodies. actors. dancers. and they have, in them, a fluidity that i envy and that i admire simultaneously.

can i just say that the national ballet of canada still remains one of the best ballet companies i’ve ever seen? it’s so good. even the new york city ballet doesn’t compare. the only ones that go compare are anything that come from russia. and i got to see their western tour for their 60th anniversary and it was so good for my heart to see. i need all of the beauty i can get right now. i still don’t feel comfortable being out on the town, and it’s hard to sit alone in a theatre with couples kissing all around me, but the ballet was really, really good.

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willima forsythe’s the second detail was choreographed to music that i would deem similar to a dissonant mannheim steamroller. and considering the ballet first showed in 1991, that makes sense. i’m fairly uncertain as to what this piece was about, which either shows my failings, or the failings of the choreographer, but if i had to hazard a guess, i’d say something along the lines of industrialization and the incoming of the technological age trying to squelch self-expression… or the day to day 9 – 5 life affecting people. i’m not sure.

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Linked from the National Ballet of Canada

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the next piece – classical ballet dances to chopin – was fine. it was typical classical ballet. nothing remarkable.

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james kudelka’s the man in black was set to all johnny cash songs – all covers, actually. three male dancers and one female dancers – dressed in jeans and cowboy boots and plaid, remarkably – danced all together. they were touching each other in some way for about 90 % of all six songs, and so in that they became a sort of cowboy western monsters, an entity moving by itself. the choreography to “if you could read my mind” was especially unreal. the dancers took turns become marionettes, sort of, with the other dancers moving them at will.

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Olivia Clark and Jimmy Orrante in The Man in Black. Photo credit: Will Shively, courtesy of Ballet Met

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the last dance was the best. crystal pite’s emergence was what would happen if a choreographer was influenced by salad fingers, radiohead’s “idioteque”, 1984, Antz, Brave New World, doulas and childbirth, plato’s “the allegory of the cave”, and entomology. which sounds like a disquieting mix, and it was. i felt out of place, and uncomfortable watching. it was swarms of dancers, all dressed in black, the women in costumes that had horns coming from their breasts, the men with horned tattoos on their upper backs. the music consisted only of deep bass sounds and chitinous clicking. it was unreal. the dancing was spastic and clean and when the groups danced together, they all lined up with each other and they moved cohesively. they looked like insects waiting for a sunrise. they looked like things being born underground. they were tempted by the light. they were downtrodden.

i don’t know how else to describe it, really.

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Linked from Tapeworthy. Original source unknown.

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and there’s the rub, right? i always assumed that dancing and writing were on the same level, and that they both equally expressed emotion. and now i think that i might be wrong. because i knew that i wouldn’t fully be able to describe what i had saw, and i felt, within me, my shortcomings. i have emotion inside of me, but all it’s doing is eddying around because i can’t fit it onto a page in such a way that it expresses what i feel. lately, i’ve felt totally mute because people ask me how i feel and how i’m doing and all i can say is “fine” or “okay” and that’s totally not what i feel but there’s no space for me to say it and the words would be flat and stupid anyway. i wonder if dance is the truest form of expression because it explodes out of you. it controls you like a puppet, and all you can do is dance and feel in the same moment. no words clogging the way, no rhetoric tripping you up, etc, etc.

i don’t know. food for thought. i have a feeling that dancing existed long before language did, and that says something, i think.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. September 24, 2011 11:01 am

    Beautifully and accurately expressed, Anna! I just saw this show last night and your assessments are right in line with mine. I think you hit on the reason why dance and writing have both been equal passions and forms of expression for me. Dance “explodes” into forms of expressio that words can’t reach — crosses over the obstacle of language so to speak. Miss you, woman!

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