Tuesday, October 30, 2007


I have a physical therapy appointment tomorrow. When I called to make the arrangements, the nice lady on the phone suggested I bring workout clothes and assured me that they have towels and showers available. Very nice, I said.

"Oh, and it'll be about an hour and a half to two hours long."

What? When I do anything that requires "workout clothes," it's never longer than an hour. Even 45 minutes makes me feel virtuous. I'm going to be working on straightening my knee. One knee. I'll be exercising a knee for two hours. Quite frightening. Perhaps after this surgery I'll have a knee with Jedi-like powers. A superhero knee.

One of my favourite bits of The Darjeeling Limited was the slow-motion shot of Adrien Brody running for the train. He's graceful and interesting and you notice how the fabric of his suit flows just right and the way his fingers unfurl from the handle of his Louis Vuitton suitcase. I wondered if this fantastic detail was the result of incredible movement ability on Brody's part or simply the effect of slowing down the film. Thanks to this bit from the website, I've decided it's the later:

Which makes me want to drive down to the financial district and video business people on their way to work to see if everyone is interesting in slow motion.

Monday, October 29, 2007

exactly not quite what i mean

Today I had the opportunity to answer some questions in a rather interview-ish format. One of the questions went along the lines of: "What do you want to achieve in dance? What about dance is important to you?" And I said something along the lines of how I want fluency of expression. Communication with people. Connecting with the audience and saying something honest. Rising above technical amazements. All these rather worn out turns of phrase and sentiment kept falling into my mouth. It's something I've said often, parroted back ever since one of my teachers (the extraordinarily beautiful Ms. Dunn) told me that dance is an art that only becomes meaningful when based on generosity.

Not that I don't believe this. I do, but I've spent the rest of the day thinking about this--injuries have a way of making you evaluate, constantly, the worth of dancing. Over and over again, weighing the drudgery of rehabilitation against the reward of dancing again. Is it worth it? starts off a train of arguments in my head at least ten times in a day-- and I realise that yes, I want to communicate ideas to other people, but the meat of it is what I feel when I'm dancing. That's what intoxicates me. I get satisfaction from other kinds of work. Writing, for instance, has moments of complete absorption. It can be thrilling and exciting and strange, but it's still a pleasure of workmanship for me. Dance is the only thing I know so far that gives me that visceral kick. It makes me feel different, extraordinary. I feel, inside me, the same species of gut and heart and mind vividness that I can sense in poetry and music.

In one of Jasper Fforde's books, a character describes poetry as the "crack-cocaine of the literary world." That's what I feel like when I'm dancing well. I bypass the process of consuming and understanding the art and go straight to wherever it is-- solar plexus, soul, whatever--where you experience those aches of feeling so commonly described in drama, but so rarely felt to that sheer degree in real life.

Chasing that is what means the most to me in dancing. Of course, I want to make other people feel too. If they can have at least a morsel of that same shock of sensation, then I'll feel I'm doing a useful thing. I'm selfish though and the thing that keeps me dancing at all is that greed for feeling.

That's what I really meant. It makes me sound like an addictive personality, doesn't it? Lucky I haven't latched onto any dangerous and illicit substances.

And now, to calm my hyper-ventilating dance indignation organ, I'm going to watch Doctor Who. My first Tom Baker episode. It's called GENESIS OF THE DALEKS, which seems promising.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

bits and bobs

Stephen Fry has a blog, let us celebrate.

He has also started writing a column for my favourite paper of the moment, The Guardian. To be completely clear, The Guardian of the UK, not the Guardian of San Francisco which is generally painful to read. The UK Guardian is wonderful; how can you not like a paper that sets forth its editorial code in the language of souls and morals?

"A newspaper's primary office is the gathering of news. At the peril of its soul it must see that the supply is not tainted."

Today I signed up for NaNoWriMo, which is simultaneously a Very Cool Thing and one of the worst acronyms ever. It stands for National Novel Writing Month and designates the time between the 1st and 30th of November for writing 50,000 words of a novel. 50,000 words is quite a short novel, but a very respectable output of words in one month. I suppose NaNoWriMo is easier to say than N.N.W.M, but it sounds like it should be the name of some unused Star Wars character.

Writing 1,700 words or so per day is certainly something you can do while immobile.

I've been tinkering around with writing over the past few days. It's odd and slightly uncomfortable, rather like a pair of shoes you haven't bothered wearing for a while. I've ended up with bits and pieces of things, all fragments that might put up with further exploration.

Friday, October 26, 2007


This is what happens when you find out that you have an injury that is going to take some time to heal. You think about what you're going to do with all that time. There are suddenly huge piles of empty hours that need to be occupied with something or else you will turn into a mushy lump. Anything that involves moving in any degree of vigorous is out. No dancing, obviously, no long walks, no running, no wandering around a city on foot so you can poke into interesting corners.

So I'm starting a blog.

I'm thinking about all the movies I'm going to watch.

There are always books to read.

I'm writing again, which is surprisingly enjoyable.

I want to tinker at the piano and relearn all the French I've forgotten.

I may actually finish a knitting project.

There are lots of things that aren't dancing which are interesting, fascinating, and wonderful, but the sad thing is, a month of them might be a novelty, but four to six seems like a long slog of grey.