Postcards are here! 😊
Postcards are here! 😊
Photo: Bill Hebert
One of my goals over the next few months is to create (new?) movement material. Now I have time for it. Free rehearsal space, flexible work hours, and keys to a studio that is mostly vacant during the day is such a luxury. I felt frustrated after being by myself in the studio last week because it felt as if I had writer’s block in my body. My improv/jam muscles are a little out of shape, with so much of my energy directed towards embodying the movement vocabulary of others. Gotta keep up with personal corporeal research too, right? I’m inspired by concepts and ideas all the time, and I like to talk and write about things, but I don’t express myself through self generated movement as much as I want to. And it seems contradictory to underuse that ability because the sensation of movement is what most inspires me the most to think critically and analyze with words. What I want is to direct some clarity and discovery back to my self generated movement practice. It’s great that I’m setting movement on dancers right now, because it means I have accountability. Preparing for today’s rehearsal felt like progress and I felt like I was in my niche. I played my favorite song from U2’s new album on loop and after a solid half hour of repetition a pattern finally emerged based on movement I worked with during the summer and some creative research at the performance site from last week. Teaching the combination in rehearsal was such a treat. I was focused, I felt inspired, and I was productive. I want this to be a time where I become more focused in my own creative process and gain a better understanding of my “voice” and its “range.” I’m so happy to be back directing in the studio! I’m lucky that my challenge is going to be editing all the material I have.
arrivals & departures (by Phillip Kalantzis Cope)
Dance Class #14 by Peter Voerman via Flickr
New York University is opening a “Center For Ballet and the Arts.” Led by Jennifer Homans, the Center’s goals are “establishing ballet as a serious subject of academic inquiry; drawing new voices into a discussion of its past, present and…
Interesting news and great thoughts! Yes, the nature of a professional ballet dancer’s career path has everything to do with why university gets sidelined. Funny that you mention the bridge between academia and professional ballet. My ballet professor throughout undergrad earned her degrees after her professional dance career and she’s a fabulous example of an academic with a ballet background. She’s written a book or two you might like. While she did her PhD she also did a certificate in Women’s Studies. She definitely brought up similar criticism about how modern dance is taught when I was in her dance history course. She didn’t give us cave people chapters to read. :) We read Foucault’s Discipline and Punish, talked about court dance into classical ballet, Russian politics and how it influenced Cuban ballet, and she transitioned into talking about American and European modern dance by saying that modernist/neoclassical ballet was what made modern dance possible. Nothing ever happens in a vaccuum-so when Isadora was trying to “break free” she did so having come from a ballet background.
The issue with ballet in universities is that the professors who come from the Judson/pomo tradition are quick to criticize ballet dancers for making dances that are “too technical.” Modern dance programs aren’t always that fond of ballet in my opinion because a lot of modern dance history has to do with rejecting “technique,” which is unfortunate because ballet technique and its institutions do have a lot to offer to the conversation.
I flipped open to a page in my notebook where I wrote down things I wanted to do this summer. I love that I did everything on my list. The amount of dancing I did exceeded my expectations. The only thing I didn’t do was Bikram yoga. But how good does that really feel in summer heat, anyway? Having surpassed my summer goals makes me hopeful for the next few months ahead. I’m even going to have a consistent work schedule by this time in 10 days, followed by what will hopefully be a consistent series of paychecks from 4+ jobs. I have keys to two studio spaces in the city. Possibilities feel endless. There is so much more I can do beyond what is posted on the dance job board and all I have to do is ask. I will have many decisions to make.