International Dance Day 2012 - Artist’s Message

Each year an outstanding member of the international dance community is invited to share some of their thoughts on dance as part of the IDD celebrations. This years artists message is from Flemish Moroccan choreagrapher Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui.

Celebrate the never-ending choreography of life

"Through time, through the ages, what endures is mostly art. Art seems to be everything humankind leaves to its heirs – whether through buildings or books or paintings or music. Or movement, or dance. In that sense, I think of dance as the most current, the most up-to-date history lesson, as it is in a constant relationship with its most recent past and can only happen in the present.
Dance also, somehow, does not acknowledge borders in the same way as many other arts. Even when certain styles try to limit themselves or work within a frame; the movement of life, its choreography and its need for flux: these take over very quickly, allowing certain styles to mingle with other. Everything engages with everything, naturally, and dance settles only in the space it belongs to — that of the ever-changing present.
I believe that dance may be one of the most honest forms of expression for us to cherish: because when people dance, whether in a ballet performance, a hip-hop battle, an underground contemporary show or just in a discotheque, cutting loose, there are seldom any lies deployed, any masks worn. People reflect each other constantly, but when they dance, perhaps what they reflect most is that moment of honesty.
By moving like other people, by moving with other people and by watching them move, we can best feel their emotions, think their thoughts and connect to their energy. It is, perhaps, then that we can get to know and understand them clearly.
I like to think of a dance performance as a celebration of co-existence, a way to give and make space and time for each other. We tend to forget this, but the underlying beauty in a performance is that it is primarily the convergence of a mass of people, seated one next to the other, all sharing the same moment. There is nothing private about it; a performance is an extremely social experience. All of us assembled for this ritual, which is our bond with the performance, our bond with the same present.
And so, in 2012, I wish everyone lots of dance. Not to forget all their problems of 2011, but on the contrary, to tackle them creatively, to dance around them, to find a way to engage with each other and the world, to engage with life as part of its never-ending choreography. Dance to find honesty and to transmit, to reflect and to celebrate it.”

Why I dance… Pourquoi je danse… (by OntarioArts)

Tomorrow is International Dance Day. How will you be spreading the love?

Nikolaj Hübbe as James in the Royal Danish Ballet’s production of La Sylphide.

Act 1 Solo - choreography by August Bournonville. Filmed in 1988.

Pina (2011) - Official Trailer

A Film for Pina Bausch by Wim Wenders

I saw this last night. I will not claim to have understood any of it, but it was a love-filled tribute to Pina Bausch. Even without understanding the content, the movement, music and cinematography are a breathtaking combination. If it is playing at a theater in your city and you are a lover of dance, please make the effort to go see it!

PINA is also Germany’s official submission to the Best Foreign Language Film category of the 84th Academy Awards.

New View on Ballet (by Amberhythm13)

A little inspiration or motivation for all of you out there who struggle with friends/family/classmates/teacher who don’t understand just how much work you do.

Meet Robert McCollum (known to many as ‘Ballet Bob’), director of the Adult Ballet Program at Canada’s National Ballet School.

Here Bob is teaching some of Irene Dowd’s conditioning work for dancers (click here for more on Irene). If you’re a dancer looking for something to add to your strengthening/warm-up routine, this is a good place to start. The first three sequences shown here target your abdominals and muscles of the lumbar spine, while the fourth incorporates hamstrings as well.

(It may look silly, but I speak from personal experience when I say that it’s a workout when you do it correctly. For an added challenge, you can perform the “crazy fish” movement in a straight leg hamstring bridge position).

Meet Osiel Gounod, principal dancer with the National Ballet of Cuba.
A friend competed against him in China a few years ago and came back raving about his turns. Now the whole world knows!

La Fille Mal Gardée - The Royal Ballet (Choreo: Sir Frederick Ashton)

Thanks to the wonders of technology and BBC2, those of us who don’t live in the UK or near a company with the means to perform this show can now watch it on Youtube. It’s a bit of light-hearted, yet technically demanding, fun - I would fully recommend watching it when you’ve got a couple of hours to spare.

Carlos Acosta as Colas
Marianella Nunez as Lise
William Tuckett as Widow Simone
Jonathan Howells as Alain
Artists of The Royal Ballet

I know this blog has been super-quiet as of late, and once again I apologize. I started at my new school this week and while I am incredibly blessed to be surrounded by talent and dancing from 9am to 6:30pm five days a week and assisting on weekends, I basically don’t have time to breathe.
So, from here on in posts will probably be sporadic - just pieces that catch my eye or maybe things we discuss in my dance history course (if I’m feeling educational). Consider yourselves all warned and unfollow at your own will.

- Laura

I’m Not Yours - Kathryn McCormick and Morgan Burke (Choreography: Erica Michelle Sobol)

Filmed SYTYCD style, including rehearsal footage and interviews with both the dancers and the choreographers. A beautiful piece of work in a unique space.