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November 17, 2007

Samuel Beckett

it recently came into awareness that there are possible negative effects from the lack of self-reflexive discourse in dance. LA is the crystallization of the problems: damnit-i-just-want-to-dance, and I-worked-so-hard-for-this-how-dare-you-question-me mentality, partly because dance as an art has become mixed up with dance as commercialism = what sells. This could maybe to a distortion in logic. This could maybe lead to thinking something is okay when it really is not
For example

i heard from one of the people asked to do the clean-up that, in the faculty concert at LMU this past year, one of the INSTRUCTORS thought that it would be OK to do a tribute dance to Nina Simone, with the all-white cast in...yes, you guessed it--BLACK FACE.

They then brought in Brenda Dixon-Gottschild to give a talk. I can imagine that woman lecturing to that group of 18 year-old girls with blond pony-tails. I'm trying to discern whether that image is simply frustrating, or out-right patronizing. Is it a case of too-little-too-late, or yet another appropriation.

Appropriation or Citation?

The distinction between citation and appropriation was made to sound important at WAC (second only to the stress placed on the concept of liminality
...hmmm). Apparently, what makes the difference in terminology is power balance. Under that definition, white person could never cite African dance (even if they were from Africa), a black person could never appropriate ballet (even if they were trained in Russia). A man appropriates a skirt while a woman cites a tie.

This conversation would get frustrating. It is similar to being told that a person of non-dominant race could never be racist (only prejudiced) and a woman could never be sexist. When engaged with it, it is hard to see how the naming of vocabulary words for specific situations and combinations would help when it seems to be a gut-level response of okay or no-okay...

Somethings are racist, somethings are not. Somethings are negligent and totally ignorant of context and history and somethings are not. Problem with requesting this more subtle discernment is that it takes knowledge of the context and self-awareness of one's position in it. No. We can not assume gut-level understanding that black face would not be appropriate. In fact, there are many things going on in the world that I would like to imagine that people would gut-level feel to be inappropriate, but they don't. Bit by bit, whatever barometer that I would have liked to assume has gotten twisted. That is, assuming it ever existed at all.

I just want to dance!

thing is, we defend our patterns. We identify with them and so think that if a pattern dies, we do. Dance is learning by practice. Repetition. Sometimes I watch people practice, refining their habits and imagine them literally twirling, screwing a hole deeper into the ground. And they are. they are mapping their brain and moving energy through the culture. form follows.

the little girl grows up pointing her toe because: she was told to point her toe. she does not understand context of that pointed toe--and why should she? Its pretty) by the time she gets to college she wants to point her toe. perhaps she couldnt unpoint it if she wanted to.

she points her toe, she kicks her leg, she bevels foot. because she always has, because her sister did.

she choreographs ABAC, left to right, open hip, pas de deux. because they are elements of form? because this is simply the way thing are? just the way the universe works.

Im not dykie. but I feel dykie in ballet. Ballet is about passing as corps. I do not pass.
(granted, I love to take ballet, but I take the early in the day classes with the old ladies and transvestites.)

men and women in dance
I think. that one of the reasons the grooves got so deep is that. Despite the 2 decades of Identity based performance art. is that Women are ensemble. Of course there is principal, but she is principal because she was the best corps (she was so good at being unison that she became stand out). Then, there is one man. Very tribal. One man, what....18 women. He is an individual. a character. they are unison.

okay, thats all obvious and hardly relevent. the only thing it explains is the larger-than-life qualityty of male dancers (opinion , of course) they are all the only one on stage.

Right now, here's the weird thing--- somehow it is curently "subversive" or something to choreograph using all men. Subversive, because we are used to seeing all women. some see it as a power balancing...but thats a power balancing that rests on the structure of a huger power imbalance. could it really be subversive to fill a stage with men? and, by the way, they are not in unison.


of course I dont even want to draw such lines as okay/not-okay. how do you even talk about it? moving forward. moving to something else. maybe better, maybe, but at least something else.

eek. "forward" there's another line. (as opposed to backwards). something like locomotor as opposed to axial. are you moving in one place, or traveling? not about the destination, but the traveling. strip it down and its not nothing. is that true? does that mean essence? take away all your movement habits. Will you be still?

Samuel Beckett

some people say that Samuel Beckett was a pessimist about the human condition. Others think that anyone who thinks he's a pessimist, is a character trapped in a beckett play. That is to say, he was pessimistic of the structures we have created, not life itself. life is not the same as our current condition. we are more than this moment.

some people cant imagine doing it any other way.

"Nothing is funnier than unhappiness, I grant you that. ... Yes, yes, it's the most comical thing in the world. And we laugh, we laugh, with a will, in the beginning. But it's always the same thing. Yes, it's like the funny story we have heard too often, we still find it funny, but we don't laugh any more" (s.b.)

In conclusion

Maria is doing a dance based on a Samuel Beckett. In a boxing ring. I would love to fight in that ring.
I will be doing Maria's taxes.

November 15, 2007

Santa Anas

The air is dry, but I wake up wet. The body knows.
Inside and outside
are not at odds, just move at different speeds.

I noticed again last night that I may always squeeze the tooth paste from the center. Not because I wasn't taught otherwise, or Im unaware. no. when I notice, I notice that it is both totally unconscious and conscious. the feeling is so perfectly specificly delicious.

Less and less. I am learning not to let her cupboards snap shut. But maybe once out of every 10. .. And probably I will always wear my keys loud and sometimes set a cup down hard. Just because the surface rises faster than it should.

when the cupboard snaps shut, im not mad. Its a very primitive feedback loop ran by some part of me that needs to know that it exists. Like a baby, I throw the spoon and it drops to the ground. impact. gravity. effect: you pick it up. I throw it again. Its a part of me that needs to know: The game is that simple.

The negative pole of earth is fear. If I throw this spoon, will it really fall? Is gravity deep enough to count on? The positive pole of earth is either trust or faith, depending on who you ask. "Mr. Fuller" is the name given to my Capricorn moon. It is the part of me that is "worse than a man" is also the part of me that stops my addictions. it is discipline that lets me hold the sky. That is the trust that comes from earth. But if earth is in fear, it smashes the sky. it leaves no room. it is dense. so dense. because its afraid of its light. it doesn't want to float away. It wants to exist. It wants to exist. It wants to exist. It wants to exist.

She held me and shook me. The counter rose up to hit my cup hard. Yelling is never a question of volume. I let go of the spoon and it fell to the floor. So much worry and uncertainty just because things have to break to change. the old world has to slip so that things can dance again. And everyday. I think of silly things that have never worried me before and if I take half a step back, don't worry me now. and then I lead a yoga class and cry for bliss. cry for re-membering. Touch someone in savasana; touch my palms together, and cry.

Let me tell you about the real Mr. Fuller. He worried so much that he forget to believe, and it made him want to die. He thought that things existed in ways that they don't . He thought this world was important in ways that it wasn't. in this way, one gets to the point where everything is so bound its empty, until the point that it doesn't exist at all. (he did not understand Shunyata!) guess what, he's dead. That body, at least, it could have been used in the time it had. I don't think anything can be wasted. He did what he had to do. but, physically and spiritually he ran in circles. he forgot to trust. Truth is, I think he really deeply believed, he was just to afraid to go where belief would have taken him. I don't want to be like him.

I don't think tears always mean sadness. You have heard of tears of joy. However, certainly they are cleaning something--they are not the bliss of that moment. They are the dripping away of all of the times I forgot to be here The awareness that I had ever been anywhere other bliss. We must engage. We must dance. But we must remember to come back, to dissolve. to shake each other until we cry. or else we turn to stone.

Look forward.