Blogalong: October 31, 2009, October 30, moving backwards and forwards.

Where are we? We are in China, The People’s Republic of China. It struck me as I use the yuan money that is printed with many Mao images: a kind of ”Mao” is everywhere. The academy is overwhelming sometimes: dance in five or six studios down 7 floors of classrooms with windows: they are dance rich.
In our project, the aim towards the proscenium stage concert might have added pressure on these last two choreographers. This is a relay between last choreographing sessions, rehearsals, and the ”sharing” gathering where we see and discuss the works. This is followed by some kind of review by authorities. I am told this is to check the quality of the works to make sure they are of the quality necessary for the funding….hmmm. interesting.
I am not surprised but everyone is very kind, no suggestion of criticism or other ways to do the program. It is certainly an honor to participate, but will this just pass and the impact of ”exchange” and moving across, into, and through each other, fade back when “nationalisms” are on the rise everywhere? I cannot speak.

(A small aside: the music is played incredibly loud at the sharing session, I could hear the molecules in my ears and the digital hissing. Why so loud?)
I see so much tension in Tiechun’s work, it never releases. I don’t feel the brilliant last roll as strongly as I do in rehearsal when it is a small section done over and over. He is eloquent during the sharing session. I wish his characters would tell me their stories or dreams. His students and Pan Li the Chinese researcher on this project say how radical this work is and that this has been an incredible opportunity for them to see him work in a different way. I see his work as a landscape, vast.
Jonathan and Carolyn
If Jonathan wants to keep the shifting, which keeps the ”life” in the work, protects it from stagnation and performance-performance, he needs to set up a trigger movement or signal that pulls the dancers out of the dance, for one moment you are not in the dance then back in. He could use that lighting designed block of light more.
Yesterday they had a talk with the performers about going back to the first encounter with the words, when it was fresh, and there was personal investment in that movement for that character. In the sharing, Wang Lei spoke of the characters of the their language having multiple meanings so that that encounter could be multiple depending on how or if you played with the character’s layers. I love it, language dances: makes us all aware of the indirectness of speech, writing, whereas gesture strikes us with potency of time, space, direction, weight, and force.
Dancers and choreographers should never say they cannot talk about their dances. Articulation of joints meets the symbolic and performative. Cool.

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