Monday, December 14, 2015

Something Old, Something New

Mid-December, almost two months since you've heard from me, and the weather still isn't wintry yet! I've been busy making new work, even shooting a little with my fancy new iPhone. Older work is screening both near - Plow Plant Reap in Miami - and far - 890 Broadway in Malaysia. 

But before I wax on about old and new work, I'm excited to report a chance to see two of my dance films at Lincoln Center.  Both Honeymoon and Plow Plant Reap will screen at  Dance on Camera February 12-16 co-presented by Dance Films Association & the Film Society of Lincoln Center.
Why dance? Why watch dance? Starting with the effervescent music of a big band and juxtaposing that with a comic mis-reading of ballet, Adagio takes an intimate look at the mysterious joy of movement.

I wrote this synopsis to highlight a sequence of intentional non-sequiturs which appear in this month's Archive. Meet the dynamic duo of Arthur Aviles and Chisa Hidaka in Adagio & Danseuse Live at the Cotton Club. The voice you'll hear in the middle section is Lilian Bostert who first regaled me with this monologue after a particularly perplexing dance concert we'd both undergone. A few years later, I made sure to record Lil performing it.  I didn't know then how it might be useful; I just knew it made me laugh.  More time passed and the humor seemed a good way to help explore what I do and don't love about dancing. 

At the rare live dance concerts I attend lately, I often find myself nearly as mystified as the interlocutor in Adagio. Sometimes I'm wholly absorbed by the mystery as in a recent show by Palissimo. Other times I feel lost in an insular world where I'm not welcome. Or I'm enraged by the fact that what's being presented is a world too shallow and conventional to be worth my time.

I admit to being a harsh critic - as hard on my own work as I am on others. But apparently I can't stop making what I make - and how I make it. Right now I'm swimming in the deep end, shooting and editing a longer dance film that will continue to evolve through the spring of 2016.  Critical friends suggest more narrative, fewer characters. Of course they're right. Except that I'm trying to make something that's true to me and that isn't necessarily plot-driven.  If people are mystified, does that mean I've created too insular a world, that others aren't welcome, that it's shallow and conventional? And yet if I don't trust myself, I'm lost.

As 2015 comes to a close, here's an end of year salute to all of the people who are participating on this project. Their trust in me grounds me enough to dare more.

Arthur Aviles
Esme Boyce
Charles Caster-Dudzick
Andy Chapman
Jim Desmond
Paul Galando
Ben Harley
Max Kumangai
Aislinn MacMaster
Alethea Pace
Cari Ann Shim Sham
Kate Steinberg
Aileen Passloff
Robert Sorrentino
Deborah Tacon
Maya Tacon
Kal Toth
Tina Vasquez
Blakeley White-McGuire
Amos Wolff
Daniel Wolff
Lorenzo Wolff

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