19 September 2005

inside out

most people would never look at this and think of it as modern dance and I know why. because when the average person thinks of modern dance, they think of strange people in black leotards on all fours, barking like dogs to the sound of discordant flutes and cymbals. or overly dramatic dancers in flowy gowns gesturing wildly. I'm not saying these stereotypes don't exist-- too many times I have found myself in a dark theatre, rolling my eyes or trying to hold back giggles in the middle of a performance dripping with symbolism and/or pretension. and I've danced in a couple of pieces that I am not particularly proud of. BUT. when modern dance is good, it is SO GOOD. really and truly, because modern dance, in essence, refuses to be defined. and because there really aren't any rules, there's endless room for experimentation. my favorite artists and companies are often blending and layering so many elements of movement... african, hip hop, jazz, pedestrian, ballet, release, capoiera, modern and more. this is what keeps my mind and body engaged, this is why I can't seem to get enough. I get excited when I see things come together that are not supposed to come together. I think this is why I love collage so much (ephemera and photography and paint and whatever, all coming together to evoke a sense of something). and why I love underground hip hop, love to listen to my brother's music (beats and fragments from so many different genres of music all coming together to sound like something completely different and original and fresh... hello, DJ dust). nothing inspires me more than to see choreographers turn perceptions of dance upside down and inside out. that's when things get really interesting. because you can find art in the most furious back spin and you can be moved to tears by the simplest hand gesture.

rennie harris puremovement is a company out of philadelphia that I have fallen in love with. I am giddy over the marriage of hip hop movement and modern and more than happy to fork over hard-earned dollars in exchange for a ticket to the show (counting the days til they hit atlanta's rialto on november the 5th). I think I know what I'm going to see (fortunate enough to have seen them perform once before), but really, I don't. sure, the dancers will be electric and the choreography will be brilliant but the sub-context will have me thinking about stuff for days. and days. in both big and small ways, it will change the way I move, the way I dance, the way I teach, the way I choreograph, the way I think.


  1. Ive heard you mention his company before, and I absolutely love the photo! I am so glad you are going to see the performance.....November 5th, huh? I might just try to sneak over there myself. It sounds like Modern that I would really enjoy!

  2. That is a really great photo! Thanks for educating me on modern dance :)

  3. I'm seeing them in Nov. too! I'm so excited. Glad you'll be there. Miss you!

  4. i can understand where you're coming from. i love it when my ears bend, or my eyes are challenged with the unexpected. the layers as you put it so well are so engaging. i don't know much about dance and you're right, it does get pigeonholed to the novice, but i know i have seen some cool stuff and would love to learn more. i feel a little jealous of not being able to attend one of these productions with you. your excitement is contagious! i look forward to hearing about it!

  5. isn't it great when you see the threads that connect interests in your life... music to old photos to collage to dance.... one big happy stew!

  6. i love reading about this passion of yours and seeing how much it must effect your life and who you are.

    btw, what is pedestrian dance? (probably the way i dance!!)

  7. this sounds amazing! i want to see it! jan's right, your enthusiasm is contagious.

  8. thanks meredith, i think i did mean to say enthusiasm but was sooo excited i used the word excitement. (ha)!

  9. lulu-- we should go together!

    zabs-- thanks for being so open-minded!

    amy-- girl, you know I miss you, too. are you going on your own to the show or taking the kids? need a chaperone?

    jan-- dare I add this to the list? of cool things we could do together? oh well. I bet there are some great modern companies up in your neck of the woods. I'll have to do a little research for you!

    lisa-- yes. yes, it is...

    molly-- thanks for reading...! oh, and pedestrian movement is just what it sounds like: everyday movements like walking... and I bet you're a good dancer.

    meridith-- ohio state u has an amazing dance program (from what I understand)... I bet all kinds of fantastic companies come through columbus... I bet rennie harris will be there (keep your eyes peeled). with your deep love for hip hop, I think you'd especially love this company....