Friday, January 23, 2009

The Dancer: I

One of the distinguishing features of dance as an artform is the masochism inherent in its participants. As company members, our lives and bodies are not our own, but offered up, sacrificed for the greater good, for someone else's vision. My knees look like this because of a piece choreographed by a good friend that we've been working on for a number of weeks. A piece of hip hop that is proving to be beyond the grasp of his dancers, classically trained ballet dancers. Its not just that the movement is unfamiliar, which it is, but we lack vocabulary to put to the steps, which means we can't say the choreography to ourselves as we dance, and we have to learn it by muscle memory, a tedious and repetitive process. But mostly, the piece is actually painful, and at times frightening, with its knee turns and handstands with splits, particulary in the practice studio with its hard floors and low ceilings. But we love this man, and he's a true artist, so we dance, knowing that it isn't good enough and that we're running out of time. Pull it together. Do the artist justice. Collect the bruises to show you worked for it.
"If you dance, you dance because you have to. Every dancer hurts, you know."~ Katherine Dunham

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