for anyone interested in dance --the art of designing spaces with the body

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Modern dance performance - Review

Some weeks ago, I went to see “The Art of the Solo,” a modern ballet performance that presented several dance numbers of famous modern dance choreographers. The pieces were interpreted by recognized dance professors and professional dancers. Watching the performance was like watching a slideshow of modern dance history, since all the pieces were choreographic works by pioneers in modern dance. One of the big surprises of the night was having Murray Louis as a guest speaker, which is considered an important choreographer in modern dance and was presenting some of his works as well.
It was interesting to see the difference in dance technique through time, from the beginning of 19th century to the 70’s.
Isadora Duncan, one of the first and most recognized choreographers, used a lot of free and soft movements with classic music. That night, there were three short interpretations of Duncan’s work. For anyone who is familiar with Duncan, the dancer used a scarf, which is very Duncan’s style.
On the other hand, moving forward in time, Alwin Nikolais used different music compared to Duncan. Indeed, he created his own music, lights design, costumes and of course, the choreography. His music is a mixture of different sounds and melodies; it sounds like techno music. That night Nikolai’s piece was aerial dance choreography, interpreted by my modern dance professor. It was the only aerial dance number of the night. And the lights design was original too.
There was a total of 12 dance pieces, each of a different famous choreographer, each with a unique theme and technique.
It is important to know the origins of this form of dance, that is why I believe “The Art of the Solo” served as a guidance to teach us how the beginnings of modern dance were; how it evolved compared to what we see as modern dance today.
Not only is going a night to the theatre or completing a dance class requirement, but it is an appreciation for the art and inspiration for future choreographers and artists.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Is this the new Dance Revolution?

Definitely it is interesting the way electronic games want to figure into everybody’s lifestyle, taking the new music video game “Dance Dance Revolution” as the main focus. Now, video games are not only for electronic addicts but also for dancers, or anyone interested in dance.
Probably you all have seen this device before, but now it is gaining more popularity, and just this year thousands of new songs were added to the console.
Personally, I was never fond of video games. It frustrated me being sited in front of a TV for hours, hurting my fingers by pressing bottoms randomly, without advancing into another level at the end.
However, DDR activates the whole body into dance action. By playing DDR people exercises and even acquire an interest for different types of dance (e.g. hip hop, jazz, tap, or modern). People also improve their dance skills.
As of video games, without a doubt DDR is one of the best alternatives for people, especially kids. DDR compel them to move and work out, instead of being hypnotized eternally by the TV.
This new revolution in video games can be fun and outgoing. But nothing compares to the classic method every dancer knows: going into a studio, putting the shoes on, and start dancing.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

From inspiration to memories

I read an interesting article in the New York Times, about how people always remember and honor dance legends when watching an adapted modern piece from a classic one. It is acceptable to reflect in the past and compare it with the future. But nowadays, it is also necessary to have an open mind to accept and comprehend modern adaptations from classic ones, surrendering the thought that the legend (e.g. Anna Pavlova) will be the greatest always.
A worst case would be, if young dancers of today would perform a classic piece without recognizing the great dancer who transformed that same dance number into an enduring and beautiful memory for all dance lovers. As the author of the article says, “the best lies behind us, as if dance were an inevitable march on perfection.”
For me is not only perfection but inspiration, as well. The inspiration young dancers have to create and adapt attractive classic dance numbers into one of their own.
Maybe the fact of dance being ephemeral is in its nature, as the author states. And maybe a memory from the past will always come back to our heads when watching a famous dance number. But I don’t believe that this art “rests on ephemeral memory and fragile faith.”
Instead, I do believe inspiration brings us memories that would always be remembered, like any brilliant dancer when performing a classic piece.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The love of the art in the streets

Dance is more than learning basic steps; it is a culture, an art, and a form of living for many young professionals out there. For sure you can see them performing in theaters, which can be considered the “formal” way of working. But nowadays you can see performances for free in the streets of independent dance groups with new creative concepts for dance. They are a spectacle and a way of harmonizing the city.
The majority of the dance pieces that can be seen on streets or public spaces are of modern ballet. It does not require pointe shoes. Instead, bare foot is the way to go. On the other hand, classic ballet needs to be performed under certain conditions, such as using an appropriate floor that works for the respective shoes.
A great example of public performances is the
Improvisation Festival that recently took place in DC. Abstract but interesting performances gave life to the streets. People enjoyed a different spectacle.
Overall, public performances are to entertain but also to teach people about the art of dance and its culture.