Register Wednesday | June 19 | 2019

Craft and Ritual

"Is it the tradition of high art that causes us to gather in darkened rooms as voyeurs to watch and listen to experts players. Is it our society’s respect for the individual experience that draws us to witness self expression."

Blog, blog, blog.

Was having an interesting discussion about performance with a dance producer in the city. She is writing a doctoral thesis on what is taking place when people gather for a dance performance and writing from an anthropological perspective. I am curious about the nature of performance in our culture in general.

Is it the tradition of high art that causes us to gather in darkened rooms as voyeurs to watch and listen to experts players. Is it our society’s respect for the individual experience that draws us to witness self expression. Distraction, entertainment, loss of self; I think the darkness and anonymity have something to do with what draws people to this modern ritual. Do people gather to lose themselves in another perspective, or to have their own experience validated by having it in common with the artist. I am drawn in by both. Either by strongly identifying or by being shown a glimpse into another reality. There is that wonderful effect of having the audience group energy harnessed and transformed by a performance. This alchemy which creates a break from the mundane is the magic both artist and audience seek. But I find the more art I see the rarer this seems to become. Am I too critical or oversaturated? For example, I found the Cirque de Soleil finale at the Jazz festival so sensational and thought that it appropriated dynamic elements of diverse cultures without adding much of its own. On the other hand it comes closest to making the kind of experimental art I am involved with accessible. Creating a fantasy realm, communicating without words to thousands of people and mixing statement and spectacle is not an easy task that was achieved. Just wish the mainstream could handle originality.

I am currently collaborating on a new work and as a result questioning how well my own choreography has expressed my ideas in the past. One thing I know for sure about creation is that it is far easier to criticize others than make something yourself. It is amazing how much our own demons can haunt us when we start to generate material, which is to say nothing of the jury of our peers. Anyway ignoring them, when making art and wanting to reach an audience, should we aim for clarity or subtlety? Set out with are clear goal or follow an unconscious process? I know the subject that I want to explore but how do I facilitate an experience of it for others? Telling someone is one thing, getting them to experience it experience is quite another.

Working on it, Erin

* Was treated to some fine music this month: Funk Brothers, Sticks and Stones from Chicago and Thom Gossage & Other Voices. Sorry I missed The Roots, Y'Sou N'Dour & Wyclef Jean.