For ‘old friends’ of this humble site, you’ve probably heard me mention the site ‘English Muse’ in previous posts. The author, Tina, besides being an authority of all things literary and fashionable is currently working on the Presidential Campaign (yes the REAL DEAL!) so while she’s
being lazy otherwise occupied, she’s invited me to be a GUEST BLOGGER on her site. I will be sharing literary plus dance junk every Thursday. Take a little trip over to see my post on ‘Taking Fashion Advice from A Fictional Character”...(Three points for you if you can guess who it is before having a peek. Read on for a hint)
Could it be: A) Katniss Everdeen? B) Swanilda (from Coppelia)? C) Ramona Quimby? D) Hermione Granger?
I bet you’ll never guess. Oh and speaking of guessing games…2 things
1. Guess What? Win!
Sort of. Remember that ‘Name the Book of Dance Photography’ Contest that I entered (and hassled you to elect my submission?) Well, thanks to you and my ever-flowing brain juice and bookshelves stocked full of dance-literature I WON SECOND PLACE! And Mr. Jordan Matter- the Photographer- said on facebook that he was impressed with my creativity, so he’d like to extend a signed copy to me regardless of the silver medal. How awesome and generous! (Read his sentiments here) So thank you for voting, if you did so. I cannot wait to receive my copy!
2. Guess What? FAIL!
I really SHOULD tread carefully in what I say regarding this next matter, but I spend so much time trying to be light on my feet that at least in my own wordpress domain, I will stomp around like a flat-footed elephant if I so choose.
A person who will remain unnamed recently shared with me the St. Louis Post Dispatch review of the recent Aspen Santa Fe Ballet performance that I wrote a preview and interview with choreographer Norbert De La Cruz lll for a week ago. Unnamed person alluded that there were suspicious similarities between my post (which debuted it’s wordy head first) and the Post’s post. Read it here. This person, who has been a long-time reader of writer Calvin Wilson’s submissions, suggested a rather fishy connection between my own use of the idea of ‘surprise‘ linked within the concert, my comparison with Norbert as a poet of movement, among a few other things.
I, however, think that Norbert simply conjures up that comparison with no helping hands and that ASFBallet is all about the surprising and cutting-edge and therefore I do not see a link between my own piece and that of the Post. I do not think Mr. Wilson read my piece first and then was influenced. I don’t think THAT highly of myself. I also don’t think Mr. Wilson read much of anything before going to see this concert.
To be clear, his writing is succinct, visual, and well-structured. It is everything a journalist who seems to know very little of dance could be expected to produce. I was just pretty upset when he called Jiri Kylian’s ‘Stamping Ground’ a ‘Guess-The-Animal’ Game. Not quite.
In fact, not at all. This piece is inspired by AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINALS not animals. It does have elements and motifs of primitive, animalistic movement but this is drawn from the ceremonies of humans, not zebras frolicking on the plains. In fact, Kylian can be quoted in the 1990 documentary film ‘Road to the Stamping Ground’ saying he wanted to ‘draw the animal out of the human’. In that sense, I applaud Mr. Wilson’s natural keen eye, but not his sense of research. Especially since I’m that loser that sat
and cried through the whole film. Kylian was even questioned if his choreography should be considered cultural theft in the presentation of the dance because it was so true to these HUMAN ceremonies. Several key differences in the Australian version to the concert production include: the number of participants (the Aboriginals dance together as a community unlike the dancer in ‘Stamping Ground’ which features more solo and duet work) and the way the dancers place their feet on the ground. The Aboriginals use their feet with a sense of percussion, making loud rhythms while Kylian’d dancers employ the look but not the sound. This is a crucial difference, especially since the first eight or so minutes of the piece is done in complete silence; a testament to the genius of his choreography in its ability to maintain the audience’s attention without the added power of music. It was also a hassle for me as I sat in the audience last saturday because I was hungry and afraid my stomach was about to growl. Hey, maybe that would have been a hint for Mr. Wilson in his ‘guess-the-animal’ game….’Ooooo, it must be a Warthog!’
(Ps…that’s a hint for the guest blogging guessing game)
I’m not trying to purposely blaspheme another writer’s name, but I just have to stand up for the real mission of this amazing piece of work and put my foot down when the authorities are getting it incorrect. And unlike the dancers of ‘Stamping Ground’ when my foot hits that ground, it doesn’t come down lightly. Stamp!