Seeing my words attached to my name, quoted by the dance company they were written about, makes me feel quite weird. Slightly alarmed in fact. It’s only 3 words but the recipient values them enough to recycle them as promotion. That’s nice. But my reaction on reading that – and it was tweeted the other day too – is to shrink away from the responsibility of having expressed an opinion in public.
I’ve danced and been engaged with performance all my life and been officially writing about it since 2006. No I’m not Clement Crisp, nor was meant to be, but I trust my reaction to a piece. I know what I’m talking about.
Glad I’ve realised that. Dammit, I should have gone to Political Mother. Fortunately, a colleague of mine did.
Cloud Dance Festival on Friday made me want to write Flailbox again. Mainly because dancers need to get the message that USING TEXT DOESN’T MAKE YOU LOOK SMARTER AND ALMOST DEFINITELY DETRACTS FROM YOUR CHOREOGRAPHY UNLESS YOU’RE COMPLETELY AWESOME. It’s true. Come on. Dance pieces shouldn’t need dancers to speak the dance should speak for itself. Dancers speaking in dance pieces just make the audience feel uncomfortable. And if they then eat oranges, regurgitate them, take off all their clothes, put them in a bucket of water and then put them back on again, expect total audience alienation and not universal acclaim for your depth and insight (yes, that actually happened). I’ll grant an exception for Taciturn, though cos Scouse pleasantries are always acceptable).
Considering Cloud Dance put on upwards of 8 acts a night, they’re always enjoyable bills. This time I really liked 3 pieces, was surprised by one, annoyed by another and rolled my eyes at two. But large glasses of wine are only £3.50 at the Cochrane so it all went down pretty well. Mandy from SYTYCD was in the audience and when Sol Dans came on for their bit it all made sense. Thos was surely where she’d come from – all acrobatics, ‘lyrical’, impassioned, yearning, bonkers athleticism – and indeed, turns out the choreography, Melody Squires, helped her out with her SYTYCD solos. Sol Dans, incidentally – kind of awesome but wibbly on Friday. I imagine when they’re on top form they’re gobstopping, if – unfortunately – a bit Spelbound.
So I’m back for a bit of flailing. And in real life, I’ve been back at ballet classes myself for almost a year now. Summer school in August where I’m learning some Giselle.
NB, I’ve laid off dance writing for a while but the most thrilling things I’ve seen lately were Rambert’s spring show from the stalls seats at Sadlers (Linha Curva woop woop woop) and Michael Clark’s Come Been Gone for the second time at Barbican. Seriously heart racing, hand clasping, sweaty palm stuff. Which makes you remember why you go to all this dance – sometimes it just makes you want to explode. In a good way.