Yesterday was a rainy day at Versailles. Regardless it was a beautiful day spent in the museum, the gardens, and in Marie Antoinette’s Petit Trianon. I didn’t make it to the Grand Trianon or the farm but I was able to make it to the cottages. I had never been to Versailles, despite my several times being in Paris, so I was certainly happy to go. The views were breath taking and the immensity of the ornate chateau was something so mind boggling that I often had a hard time knowing where and what to look at. Should I look at the ceilings, floors, decorations, paintings, crown molding, furniture, or busts? It’s symmetry was so perfect it seemed as though if you moved only one piece it might disrupt the entire universe. The child in me had to fight the urge to do so! I would love to go back to rent a canoe and paddle around in the Grand Canal. And man do I appreciate that the French uphold their artists, philosophers, painters, sculptors, writers etc. to such high regard that they included their busts with the statues of Kings in the Chateau!
The night ended with an incredible show by the Hofesh Schecter Junior company Degeneration at Théatre des Abesses. If I wasn’t mildly (let’s be real the word mildly could be ommitted) obsessed with the company before I certainly am now! The movement was so free and yet the dancers found precision in the group sections to create a picture so intertwined that it really felt like a community on stage dancing as one up there. No one dancer stood out to me and no one dancer didn’t stick out to me. I’ve thought a lot about this next statement for a while now. I wonder when I started to look at choreography independent of the dancers’ abilities and technique. I first realized this early this semester when I saw Aspen Sata Fe Ballet at Centenial Hall in Tucson, Az. I never once thought wow look at her feet, or leg, or whatever. I honestly began to watch the choreography and continued to do so for the remainder of the show. That’s not to say that the the dancers weren’t brilliant because to pull off Jiri Kilian or Hofesh Schecter work you have to be but I saw the humanity of the movement and that is what I take with me after the performance not the height of the leg or the beauty of a perfect arch! The understanding of their bodies that they possess is intrinsic and they never forget about being human first. Which reminds me of one of my professors for undergrad, Bill Thomas. He used to tell us that your art is worthless unless you can bring humanity to it. I loved that statement then and I still love it now after more than 12 years. In any case Hofesh’s work didn’t just make me think about the possibilities in a dance but it made me think about the possibilities of humanity. Long story short… run to see it if you can! The lighting also really stood out to me. It added to the pieces in a way I have never thought about using lights and I enjoyed its additional flavor to the performance!
Today, although not over, began with a modern class by Nathaile Pubellier and another ballet class by Wayne Byers. The classes were equally as inspiring again, and I got to use some translation skills which is always nice! Nathalie discussed that she wanted to see us not the leg, not the arm but us. She noted the importance of moving from the torso, the pelvis, and the core as opposed to the limbs for a more natural state of being and dancing. She stated that the form above all else gives us the foundation to then do all other things but form, human form, is and should be most important. I love that! And side note, I love that the French use the term basin to discuss the pelvic floor. The word literally translates to basin and goggle defines this as “a wide open container used for preparing food or for holding liquid”. We have all heard the analogy of the pelvis as a bowl but doesn’t the word basin really imply the weight of the pelvis even more effectively? Food for thought…
Ballet class again was so interesting as well! Mr Byers got out a piece of chalk and drew on one of the male dancer’s back. He drew a cross that intersected at the C7 vertebra. He said that this is where Balance can be thought to come from it helps us to maintain ease of movement as well so that our ribs remain in alignment and our shoulders don’t lift as we relevé. He went on to use the chalk later in class to discuss the attachment of the arms. He drew a star on the right side just below the clavicle and stated that the same is true on the left. This is where the arms connect and if we move from there we are more apt to be successful in port de bras and all other movements. These elements were simply so helpful. I want to continue to investigate these ideas further and implement them into my dancing and choreography. This also was some more food for thought. I think I might be filling up my dance fridge rather nicely this trip!
In about an hour I’m going to head over to Théatre de la Ville and attempt to get a ticket to the Pina Bausch concert Nelken! I’m throwing it out there! Let go and let God!