Mar. 3rd, 2012

jezebelblue: (Default)
Firstly, if you want my professional credentials for this rant, email me....you can have them.

I know that competition dancing has an element of 'tricks' in them...I get that...yep. But dance stepping away from a cold definition of the noun and the verb, it is the interpretation of music through movement. It is finding the meaning to a piece of music and bringing it to life and bringing it to the audience. It could be just your interpretation of it (this especially applies to classical or abstract pieces of music) or what is commonly known as the meaning of the music (although  how interesting if someone can take the traditional version of Happy Birthday and interpret that in a different way?)

Watching some young dancers today, I despair. Yep, you can put your foot in places that are ridiculous, stretch in ways that make rubber bands jealous but when you are done, I haven't been left with anything but the same feeling after seeing an artistic or rhythmic gymnastics routine. Impressed by the tricks, but left empty on emotion. I want to FEEL something, not just be IMPRESSED by something. 

Look, I have done pieces where the music was so abstract and asking the choreographer (even it was myself) what that piece is about brought blank faces. But there was something there...it wasn't just being able to lift myself from being on my knees through my toes, it was having light and dark, soft and hard, shades of light and of movement. People could walk away with their own interpretation of the feeling that was being sent across...discuss it...be changed by it. Not go home saying 'wow did you see how she could put her foot over her head and touch her ass?'  but go home and debate why that male dancer pushed that female dancer away and whether it was about love, jealousy, retribution, solution, remembrance, acceptance, forgiveness....see what I am getting to?

The dancers that have been my heroes have not always been the most technically amazing...but I walked away feeling something. Yes, I was impressed by the Nicholas Brothers who some could say were trick dancers, as that is normally what you see of film clips of them (usually they leaping over each other on a large stair case and landing in splits) but when they danced, when they tapped, the joy in their faces, how they took that feeling through to their feet and made a language of sound...wow...I smile just thinking about it.

One could debate that there are tricks in ballet. Example, the 32 turns in Giselle's mad scene. Yes...gotcha, that is a 'trick' but it is part of the dance showing the despair, the disintegration of Giselle's mind and her anguish. It wasn't put there just to impress but to EXPRESS. That is a HUGE difference. Use the tricks to enhance and express...When there is jubilation - hit that huge grande jete, when you are expressing (lyrically or story line alone), that the wind has been whipped out of you, use that for the huge backbend break or whatever...make it the story...not the distraction.

Some could say that I have a traditional or old fashioned view of dance and I should open my mind. Oi, it took me years to really accept hip hop and other styles of street dance as dance. But there is a reason for that and probably shows how old fashioned I am. It was when those styles of dance actually incorporated expression, emotion and storytelling that I went, yeah dudes...go for it (I am still inept at the style of dance to be honest) 

If I ever have a child who wants to dance (and if the world is a good place for me, that will happen, otherwise, I will have a child who has two left feet and couldn't do a plie if their lives depended on it), I will ensure that they will dance, not trick; emote and express, not just impress; make people feel, not just go wow...

Okay...rant over. 

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December 2012

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