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It’s Not a Whatever Business.

By Anna Drozdowski

In a rare moment that brought together parts of the dance world that don’t often cross paths, William Forsythe spoke about his work in the ballet last month.   Tony donors and ballet aficionados (almost) rubbed elbows at the Arts Bank alongside contemporary choreographers and dancers of most stripes. 
The chatter was honest and as fast moving, just as layered and dense as Forsythe’s movement.  Clearly having had much time to think about his particular place in the dance cannon over a long and varied career, he was eloquent in both word and gesture and smartly articulate about where his interests lie.  
These are the phrases and particles of thought that rose to the surface that afternoon and remain lodged in my brain some weeks later. Taken chronologically as I notated, I offer this strange Cliff’s Notes to the conversation:  a bread-crumb-trail of classicism in our contemporary world that is more sidewalk-sketch-artist than court reporter.
Chorus Line
Rolling Stones
fanny pack
Cy Twombly
line, sensation, realization
mental : physical
mechanical mastery
questioning = alive
what person / how person
defeat language
Nothing fails like success.
two axis
training v. practice
balance : tension
Look everywhere!
classically dialectic
unisono agreement
It's not a normal ballet company.
dumb shit
academy of poecy
You don't chat in church.
Look at people.
ownership opportunities
cuts like film
The proof is in the pudding.
$1 first-ring Balanchine
sublime musicianship
Funk is a way to be.
Damien Hirst
Little Buck
You Tube
bodily time
collective time
whole stage
21+ dramaturgs
love & loss
Ideas are pleasurable.
mortal everyday
a letter to her
They had to be made.
Where to look?
musical organism
movement choir
(live) real choreographer
something “other”
Methods that saved our butts…
like a cat
A leader that I’d want my kids to have.
threshold (again)
autonomy, authority, conflict, health
powerful, magical force
It's not a whatever business.

The symposium Fold, Collapse, and Shift: Ballet and Beyond in the Choreography of William Forsythe was held May 30, 2013 at the Arts Bank.  Moderated by Dr. Linda Caruso Haviland, Director of Dance and Alice Carter Dickerman Director of the Arts Program at Bryn Mawr College with panelists included Freya Vass-Rhee, PhD, Dramaturg and Production Assistant for The Forsythe Company and Jennifer Homans, author of Apollos Angels: A History of Ballet.

See Kirsten Kaschock's response to the PA Ballet's performance of Artifact Suite here.

By Anna Drozdowski
June 19, 2013

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