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.

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