Monday, February 7, 2011

The Education of a Choreographer

It was fascinating to spend time this weekend with three such distinctive dancemakers: Bill T. Jones, Karole Armitage and Elizabeth Streb--all at the ICA to speak about the education of a choreographer. Fascinating to sense the commonality in three such distinct voices. They all share the desire for their audiences to have a transcendent experience via the dance viewing experience, they share a strong romantic impulse.  They seem to have a common hero in Merce Cunningham.  Elizabeth for Merce's opening up of new spatial and temporal modes in choreographic work; Bill for Merce's fundamental inquisitevness and sustained investigations, and Karol for Merce's brilliant exploration of the dancer's  technique.  It was wonderful to hear them discuss the works, and what lead and radiated from them, where their voice strongly emerged (Monkey Road Run '79 for Bill, Drastic Classicism '81 for Karole and Fall Line '81 for Elizabeth).  They described a freedom of process that had the quality of action painting!  A new found will and courage to act on one's own intentions came through as they  spoke eloquently and retrospectively about their creative histories. --Richard Colton

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