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Samuel Beckett

So,
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.

dykie
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.

Empirical

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.

Comments

i miss reading your thoughts laura. you're brilliant. xoxo

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