This afternoon I was reminded of a small and mysterious wisdom given to me by a mentor from what feels like a different lifetime. Glaring at him through a curtain of frustrated tears after a fairly unsuccessful rehearsal, I recall being utterly confused as he told me, “You don’t need to try so hard.” He paused and smiled as he added “I’m aware that this makes no sense to you now, and it probably won’t for years, but one day you’ll understand.” Today I began to understand.
Rushing the music, practically racing it, is a habit I carry around next to my ballet slippers. When it’s warm and I’m moving well, the adrenaline takes me and sends me into hyper speed (as a choreographer I work with says, it’s like I’m being shot out of a canon). Still hearing the music, I find myself on top of it and am continually reeled back in by shouts from the outside or by my own inner voice… sort of see-sawing between being on and ahead of the music. Today, after repeated reminders (and actual warnings of being slapped…really!), I stepped back and turned myself down a couple of notches. Instead of allowing the movement to drive me, I rode the music and released some of the ‘attempting perfection tension’ that seems to fuel the speed increase. Voila! Steadier, stronger, and, indeed, much, much easier.
Just one new addition to the ever expanding list of physical epiphanies that have strengthened my fascination with the art of dance and keep me curious and searching.
Next, I have a new dance crush: choreographer Wayne McGregor. WHOA!
Not long ago Radiohead released their newest album, The King of Limbs, which was preceded by an advanced released single on youtube.com of the song “Lotus Flower”. The video features head man Thom Yorke rocking out. I mean seriously dancing his ass off. It’s wonderful…and bizarre. Wonderfully bizarre. Oh, and the song, it's magnificent. Check it out.
On my initial viewing of this video I figured “Hey, Thom’s improvisational movement skills are really quite superb.” Shortly after I sent the link along, though, a dear friend of mine informed me that, had I been slightly more diligent, I may have noticed the name of choreographer Wayne McGregor listed. This led to an in depth internet search of McGregor and his work (prompted by another dear to my heart who sent me some outstanding links). It seems that I have been missing out for a while…McGregor is the artistic director of Random Dance, which is the resident company at Sadler’s Wells in London, as well as the current resident choreographer of The Royal Ballet. He’s also set work on numerous other companies of note including the Paris Opera Ballet and NYCB.
The work is very different, undeniably unique. He uses inhumanly talented dancers whose bodies are slithery with undulating torsos and arms atop sharp and sparkling legs. The physicality is matched with a peculiar sense of musicality and inspired partnering work. McGregor’s choreography embodies clarity and communicates an emotional depth rare to such technical work. Wayne McGregor is one to follow…and lucky for us he will be in the vicinity in the fall! Check out the website for Random Dance, it’s beautifully constructed and full of great little treats.
This is a clip from his ballet “Infra.” Enjoy!
Here’s to Thom, Wayne, the amazing people in my life who send me inspiration and a lifetime of epiphanies!
Love and light to all,