Friday, February 14, 2014

Enter Socrates

I write this blog to bring you inside my work and process a bit - because I'm pleased to share what I do, even though I rarely present public performances any more.  

Right now I'm sharing Adagio & Danseuse Live at The Cotton Club, which you could say I started making about a year ago in at the Liguria Study Center in Bogliasco. While in Italy I made up solo material that I brought back to the states for rehearsals with Arthur Aviles, later joined by Chisa Hidaka. Eventually it was shaped into a 10-minute duet shown at Dance Conversations @ The Flea, with the score that is distracting you from reading this right now...

Wait.  Go ahead and watch.  It's more important than what you're reading.  And I learned long ago in Artichoke For Two that it's hard for people to do both: watch and listen.  Even harder to read and listen, right?

OK, so you're back.  

Does it help to know that one of the inspirations for this dance was the shtick - one night it happens I'm hanging around Moskowitz's delicatessen - recited to me by an elderly friend, Lil Bostert then 99 years old? It drew me - I laughed my ass off - because I sympathize with the interlocutor: what the hell are they (we) doing and why are they (we) doing it? When we see dancing to music like Duke Ellington's in a club, say, we don't necessarily ask about meaning. But when the context is a stage, and the dancers are barefoot, and they perform movements that don't telegraph their meaning, we start asking questions. What's making de goil so noivous? Why that particular movement? What do I need to know to understand this? Why does it mean to understand?  For me, Adagio & Danseuse is a treatise - entertaining of course, but with a Socratic method to my madness.  

I first heard Lil recite this maybe 8 years ago; the decision to record it was years ago; last year at this time I started making movement material.

Chisa & Arthur danced the hell out of it in its one live performance.  But, as I wrote in this blog, one live performance hardly satisfies my need to share the dance, to preserve our hard work for a larger - and later - audience.  So I made the short video you see here.

It had a public screening late last year with other short dance films at the Moviehouse/DFA Dance Film Lab, and was a big hit largely because modern dance doesn't often aim for humor.  Because of the headache and costs associated with *@)&##$@*!! music licensing, you won't see Adagio on Youtube or at film festivals. So I'm sharing the full video version - half as long as the live one - in an online festival with you, right here.

Speaking of festivals, there was a very engaged audience for a recent screening which included my short film among others in the Black Maria Film + Video Festival.  My favorite part of the Q&A?  Instead of talking about lenses, editing or other technical issues, one audience member/filmmaker said this after seeing Her Children Mourn:  "it made me realize that we're usually expected to mourn in groups, when actually the process of grieving is so much more individual than that."

Argue. Discuss. Contradict.

No comments: