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[ENG] Transcript - Full Interview with Wayne McGregor

December 18, 2015

Photo by Cheung Chi Wai

 

Date: 15 Oct  2015

TB: Tom Brown @dance journal

WMcG: Wayne McGregor

 

TB    You’ve directed and choreographed for your own company, Random Dance since 1992 and in 2006 you were the first modern dance choreographer to be appointed as Resident Choreographer of the Royal Ballet. Could you talk about the highlights and challenges, similarities and differences of your work with both companies?

 

WMcG     I started my company young, just because I felt a need to do it, it felt like a bit of youthful arrogance in a way because now I realize all of the people I would have wanted to work with and subsequently met, people like Merce (Cunningham) whom I would have loved to work with.  In those days in the early 1990s, the UK was really supporting young artists to make their own work, which was really quite rare.  So, they were finding funding structures to be able to support young choreographers to form their own companies and have their own vision.  So it was part context and part a desire that married up, now it’s much harder for young companies in the UK.  That was a highlight itself that the structure of UK arts to championed these young artists in making and I think it is part of the aspiration here (in Hong Kong).

 

That was a real highlight, the beginning of that (Random Dance). Then I became the first residential choreographer of The Place, which is an experimental theatre in London, who hadn’t trained there, who hadn’t come from the London Contemporary Dance School.  So I’ve always been an outsider in these organizations – I’ve kind of had a career in that. 

 

I never imagined making ballets.  It wasn’t on my list of things to do, and it was only because I started to work with some ballet dancers who had seen my work and wanted to try it. So one of the first ballerinas I worked with was an Italy, an amazing dancer, Viviana Durante, who was one of our greatest ballerinas [Principal Dancer of the Royal Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Teatro all Scala, K-Ballet (Japan)]. I made a piece for her and that started to generate traction in ballet.  And it just worked. There was something interesting about [the] synergy that the Royal Ballet liked and the audiences liked.  And already, next year we’re having my 10th anniversary and we’re doing a big celebration around my first 10 years with the opera house.

 

TB    There is a difference between the Random dance work and the Ballet work, could you talk about that.

 

WMcG     I think they are different because the bodies have been trained differently.  What I’m always interested in is what is the history of a body. So one of the reasons I have such a multi-cultural company is because I’m interested in what their physical histories are because their physical histories can’t help but imprint themselves on the things you make. The way in which they think imprints themselves on what you make and I think [if] you have an amazing diversity in the group; you’ve got an amazing chance for diversity in the work.  That for me leads to more innovative practice.  I think you can’t stereotype ballet companies as a thing.  I think we tend to say the Maryinsky, the Bolshoi, the Paris Opera, the Royal Ballet; these are all companies I’ve worked in. But all of those large organizations are made up of individuals. Some of these individuals are more curious than others. Some of them have a feeling for the work, some of them don’t.  Some of them have more of a feeling for Balanchine than they do for Forsythe. Some of them have a feeling for both.  Some of them are super-versatile.  All of these ballet companies, the Royal Ballet included, are very multi-cultural. 

 

The Royal Ballet has dancers from 14 nationalities.  It’s got people from all over the world. It’s not got a system in which only the people from the Royal Ballet School go into the company and so again you get innovative and open practice.  But the difference is that you are working with different people.  So even if I were working with Shobana Jeyasingh and doing a bharatanatyam inspired work, you’re working always with individuals, and what’s important about that choreography is the energy transfer between people, and that’s what actually makes the work. Now because I’ve been at the Royal Ballet for a while, I’ve worked with some dancers who have done a lot of my work.  Actually, Edward Watson, who’s a dancer of the Royal Ballet has done more of my works than anyone else’s, which is interesting, an interesting conversion point.  But the difference is, with your own company it’s more like an experimental lab where you can do a lot of improvisation, a lot of co-authoring, a lot of stuff where you’re making the thing together. Whereas, with a ballet company, partly because how time is structured, you’re doing more of the making.  You’re literally either making a thing, showing or doing, or working with bodies and objects to think with.  But you’ve got an hour to do something really incredible with Natalia Osipova before she goes off to do Giselle.  You don’t have time to prime it with improvisation, you really don’t.

 

TB    To stage a work on the Royal Ballet, how much time are you given?

 

WMcG     It depends; it’s usually about five weeks for about three hours a day. But then, you wouldn’t get Natalia Osipova for three hours a day. So it depends, there’s a whole kind of practical and logistical issue around making work.  We’re trying to change though, right.

 

TB    Well, we are too.

 

WMcG     We’re working hard at it.  I’m about to go to make a new piece [Alea Sands, for eight dancers] at the Paris Opera with Pierre Boulez, who’s going to be 90 and Haroon Mirza. There, I’ve got a group of dancers, and this is common in Paris, where you get the dancers the whole time. So I can work for, in this case it’s for five weeks, it’s a half-hour piece, but I have all of the dancers, all of the time.  So if I wanted them for 6 hours at a time, I could get them for 6 hours at a time.  And they don’t do anything else [during the rehearsal period].  It’s an interesting model; it’s just a different model.  The San Francisco Ballet, for example, you get your group of dancers, all of them, for the whole three hours, the whole time you’re there, but you get not more time, that’s the time you get.  So, in a way it’s a logistical balance with a creative balance. But that’s interesting because it’s a constraint, and constraints are important. Otherwise you just have that really fat structure where people are indulged in having as much time as they like. I like the discipline of it.

 

TB    It was actually one of my questions that the choreographers here don’t feel that they have enough time to make the kind of work that they want to.

 

WMcG     Well we never have enough time.  Aaron Copland said this brilliant thing around, you don’t finish a piece, you abandon it.  I partly think that.  When I’m thinking about my own choreographic process I think of it as a continuum. I don’t think of it as a series of dead ends.  Actually I’m thinking, this piece I’m making in Paris is a series of decisions, and those decisions are in this combination at this time, and I have to show it to people.  I have to show it to people, that’s the only scary bit.  But then I moving on to something else, and I’ve got a whole other series of decisions.  I don’t think I’m trying to make the best piece possible.  But to do that, you have to have opportunities to make a lot.  And this is what’s really important.  It’s not enough for choreographers, and especially for young choreographers, to have one piece a year where they work on, or one thing and then they don’t do anything in between. They need to be in the studio every day. I’m lucky enough to be able to be in the studio most of the time. I go from one commission, to an experimental project, to a bit of teaching, so you’re working with bodies all of the time and you’re learning.  And it’s very, very important.  For me, it’s not about how many commissions you get, it’s about how do you get yourself the opportunities to be in a studio working with bodies as much as you can.  And from that, choreography emerges; some will be interesting, some will be less interesting.  I noticed that the things that I learned most in, the pieces usually the critics don’t like so much that actually those are the times that I’ve really felt like I’ve made a series of decisions that have taken me somewhere else.  And I think young choreographers, well choreographers, have to decide what their own version of success is and not look at success from external sources. You have to work out for yourself what success is and value for yourself what success is in a particular process and not always be looking to the outside to have validation for that. 

 

TB    You came from University dance originally, and then you went to Limón [Limón Dance Foundation in NYC] and studied with the Limón School.  I see the weight in your work, both in your modern dance choreography but also in the ballet company, which is sometimes difficult, or sometimes not part of ballet choreography’s attention. How do you get that?

 

WMcG     First, what’s really important is ballet is not a fixed form.  Ballet is a language in evolution, even though some people don’t want it, a lot of critics don’t want it to be like that.  The fact is, it is changing.  If you look at the repertory of the Maryiinsky, the Paris Opera, the Royal Ballet; if you look at what ballet is now to them, there’s a disjunction between that and actually what people think it should be. That’s the first thing.  The second thing is that it’s really important in classical ballet that that language, that instrumentation of the body is done in a really rigorous way.  That’s why they are a ballet company. That demands a very particular type of training and that demands a very particular type of body.  But it’s not to say that those bodies can’t do other things.  And that’s what we are working on at the Royal Ballet is extending and understanding what the context of ballet is in a more wide sense.  So we’re using Sports Science, for example, to be able to work better at stamina and fitness, and use models, which come from sports science to be able to jump better.  So we’re not just using this handed down knowledge from generation to generation, which is very, very important, as a way of saying, this is how ballet has to be.  We’re using new technologies, new ideas, new ideologies to be able also to optimize performance.  Not so it’s like a sport, but actually it stops injury, it allows this instrument to extend its range. And part of that extension of range is in its relationship to weight, in its relationship to plié, and why we do that because lots of the choreographers that are working in ballet today are demanding that. And if they’re demanding it we have to be sure the body is in a state of preparedness to be able to do it.  I think there is no compromise one or the other.  I think it’s just kind of a mindset.  You know it used to be this old fashioned idea that if you did modern work you couldn’t do Giselle. I’ve worked with some of the most amazing prima ballerinas in the world, who would be working with me for three hours and perform Juliet in the evenings or Swan Lake in the evening - these incredible dancers who have that facility, because they have a kinesthetic knowledge, a proprioceptive knowledge, a knowledge of their own body, which is really, really extraordinary and an appetite to want to work with living choreographers in a real space.  They want to work with somebody in real time.  They want to do all of the repertory classics. [That is] really important.  They want to interpret those roles. They want to bring their own kind of values to those incredible performances.  But, they also want to say something of themselves in real time with choreographers who are alive and in the room with them.  And those choreographers are interested in things, which extend ballet in new directions. And so, therefor, they are.

 

TB    You’ve talked about engaging instinct and intention as well as autonomous choreographic agents in creating your work.  Can you talk a little bit more about that and the balance between them and are all three engaged at the same time.

 

WMcG     The simplest way to talk about that, and I blame Isadora Duncan for this, there is a sense in which this perception of modern dance that its just free, just being free. And you do what you like and go into a room you’re just free. That is an extraordinary feeling. And to be able to engender that in a ballet company or to engender that in young people is amazing. And the value of that is really critical.  But, if we accept that the job of the brain is to construct meaning from things. We’re searching for meaning all the time. We’re trying to pull out meaning all the time. The brain is active the whole time.  When I’m making choreography I’ve got this running narrative in my head. And that narrative some days is, “oh this is interesting” or “oh that is bad” or “what’s this person going to think of this”. It’s like a voice on the shoulder.  I am preoccupied all the time with the narration of the story.  I don’t mean like a story . . . I’m talking about voices.  I’m convinced I’m not the only one.  We have this kind of literal analysis of ourselves all of the time. That affects the decisions that we make. Choreography is a series of decisions, a series of choices, that’s all it is.  You’re negotiating your choices with other people, so choreography is a relational art form between people where their thinking and my thinking are expressed through the body in making something new. That started me to think about what really is instinct.  Is instinct what we describe it to in dance, which is just being in the moment, or is it actually habit  - how would you know the difference? How could we start to understand our habits and model them from a scientific point of view?  And then really use that, to perhaps prime new instincts, new ways of really just doing.  Because I think, the thing about the brain is once you’ve just done it, you’ve learned about it, and then you construct a rationale for it.  It’s very hard to stay in that space, but you can train yourself to do that.  There are lots of somatic practices in dance that have allowed choreographers to do that, but when do they become habitual. Does this tension [exist] all the time between the brain and the body, between instinct and attention or intention. I was just interested in that and I wanted to work with some experts, some cognitive scientists who would help me unpick that. The way cognitive science understands brain function is by modeling it, and they make things.  And I was interested to make an artificially intelligent agent that thought choreographically, but didn’t make choreography.  This agent we’ve been building for almost twelve years is a kind of curious thing. I wanted something that wasn’t a body, but I wanted it to be of body.  So, it is limbs, and its sinew, and it’s in 3D – you watch it in 3D.  It primes you to want to move with it.  You’ve got a kinesthetic response to it.  It’s a different version of body. But it thinks choreographically.  It uses choreographic thinking that the cognitive scientists have modeled from the choreographic practice to learn with us.  It’s like an eleventh dancer in the studio.  We set it a task; in the same way you would the dancers.  It’s just there, doing its thing, in the same way the dancers are doing their thing. And from that, you get a really interesting dialogue between them. We want to extend this more.  At the moment it’s still screen based, and we would like it to have more presence in the studio, but we’re just trying to work out how that would be.  And, how the learning of that agent continues, how is it that we start to seed some other things.  We’re working on a project at the moment about backspace; so how is it that this agent might feel backspace.  We know, for example from Skype, when we’re Skype-ing, that the physical presence is very frontal and two-dimensional.  That takes away many of the physical cues around a body that you need for good communication.  It’s also chopped off.  You’ve got a very particular view.  There are lots of challenges about this mediated technology. One of things when I’m talking to you I feel, I’m talking and looking at you, I already sense (pointing to Cathy Lau, who is also at the interview) you from the side.  I know your reaction; I can feel your physical behavior in relation to what I’m saying. I can tell whether you’re engaged or not. And that affects how I’m speaking to you (pointing to me). At the same time, even though I’m not looking here (pointing to two ‘minders’ from the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority) I absolutely can see them.  I can see who’s got their arms folded, I can see when they sit back, I can see when they move forward.  I also feel when someone passes the door.  All of those proprioceptive clues in Skype are just not there.  All of these things are very informative of how you behave in a room.  That’s why dancers are so amazing at what we do is spend a lifetime at making those (abilities) more acute, more aware.  Scientists want to understand that because we do it instinctively as human beings, but they want to understand it more.  We’ve got an excess of kinesthetic intelligence, if you like, because dancers are primed to do that.  And scientists want to understand it.  They often work with people who’ve got some kind of brain function loss, someone who has had some brain trauma, and we’re the opposite way. We want excess.  And that’s the yardstick they can use to understand things differently. So that’s why I’m interested in that.

 

TB    Your work is very complex.  You talked about the balance between instinct and intention, and there is a spontaneity and I guess the secret of good choreography is to make it look spontaneous.  And there is this wonderful spontaneity not only in the movement itself, but also in the form, which at the same time is very complex and fast.  You also have these other interests. You really are interested in the physical sciences and technology, for example.  How to you channel those interests and how to they feed your work in choreography or does you work in choreography feed you interests, or both?

 

WMcG     Well, that’s really the easy bit. I just do things I’m interested in, and I’m lucky enough to be able to do it.  If I’m fascinated by a particular thing, I feel a compulsion to make it – and that’s what I make. The thing about the dances which is really important, I’m making dances or choreographies with dancers not on dancers, so already they are engaged in a way which demands real time decision making.  They’re not learning a phrase and replicating it and going through the motions of it.  We invented it together and they know where it comes from, they know how they got there, and they know they can recalibrate it in real time.  That’s what gets you spontaneous dancing, because it is spontaneous dancing.  It’s a completely embodied connection between the idea and the way they body is expressing it.   Especially with something like Random, that’s what we pride ourselves in.  That’s the kind of collective consciousness, the distributed cognitive model where a group of individuals have made this thing together.

 

TB   And they own it.

 

WMcG     And they own it.

 

TB    And that’s what you see.

 

WMcG     And that’s what you see. And why they couldn’t be rivaled, in terms of their performances.

 

TB    What I also saw in that little clip from Chroma with the Royal Ballet, which was astounding.

 

WMcG     It depends which way into it.  What’s interesting about the Random one, is that co-authoring it and it comes this way, and the piece evolves.  With something like Chroma, I make it, on them with them, they inhabit it, then we have to do the work of finding some resonance with them where they really do own it in a really interesting way.  But it’s still slightly divorced from the idea, whereas with Random, it’s never divorced from the idea.  Because the idea has to be explicit from the start or otherwise we can’t work from it.

 

TB    The other thing you see is, I mean you talked about the habit audiences have of reading dance  - the gap between intention and perception - you talked about dance is always made on human bodies, on people, so no matter what kind of intentions there are, people will always see the body and always see the relationship with the bodies.

 

WMcG     Yea, they always look for meaning.  I look at that green bottle there (pointing to a bottle of water) I’ve already decided I don’t really like that green. I prefer fizzy water. I make a decision about that as soon as I look it.  And I think that’s the same as watching dancing.  We go into watching dancing with too many frames of reference that exist already.  I was thinking earlier, that you look for evidence to reaffirm your view. We have this problem a bit with some of the critics in the UK where the issue is actually, you think you know about the thing before you see it.   You watch it once, and then say “It is this”. For me meaning emerges. In dance meaning emerges from repeated viewing, it’s really important.  If you think about the tradition of watching, how many times have you watched Swan Lake.  And the richness of watching Swan Lake, apart from the power of watching Swan Lake over time and time again, you discover things about yourself and it in real time because you’ve watched it so many times; and your resonances have changed because your life has changed, your filters have changed.  In modern dance or contemporary dance what happens so often is you see it once and rarely see again and if you do it’s twenty years later in a revival.  The transaction of watching something over and over is very different.  And how can you perceive complexity in that moment when you’re bombarded with a whole series of things.  For me, what is often complex is, because it’s not a traditional hierarchy between music and dance, because often I work with other elements on stage, in the same way that I think we experience life. When we walk down the street, I don’t just walk down the street, there are hundreds of people in the street, I don’t pay attention to all of them.  I have to zone out some of them. Some of them I notice, some of them I don’t.  I notice the ones who come close to me and I don’t mind walking super close to, I have energetic relationship, to some I slightly avoid. I’m making decisions in real time all of the time that I’m living.  Yet, in the theatre, you expect that when you sit down there, you should get everything, you should be delivered the whole picture and you should understand the whole thing immediately or the choreographer’s failed. I think what’s super-important to me is that when people come and watch dances they should just see what’s there, not what they expected.  I just had a really interesting review from the FT (Financial Times) on Tree of Codes.  And this writer wrote, “This is the book, this is what you should of done, this is what you did”.  Very weird, very weird.  I thought “Great, you should do that.  You can make it. I’d love to see it.” I’m kind of joking but it’s worrying.  You have a fixed filter and you go, “this piece should be this and it’s like this” and there’s a gap and you write about that.  Whereas I’d love people to go is, what’s in this piece, what are the constituent bits, what the feelings or – I’ve not crossed everything  . . . I made a big piece on the Royal Ballet recently about Virginia Wolfe and spent hours, years reading her with experts and people would say, “I’ve not read The Waves, but I can’t see any references to the waves in this piece”. Bizarre, right.

 

We have to take responsibilities as watchers, sui generis, to work out what’s in front of you, well not even work it out, just see it first. Don’t even work it out, see what’s there.

 

TB    Develop your observation techniques.

 

WMcG     You know I do it myself, perhaps in the first ten minutes I’ve decided, I actively have to find a way to get back into it and find richness.  First of all look for the richness, don’t look for the negativity. When you’ve got this field of ideas, how might they connect.  And then watch it again. And how might they connect differently, and have the patience to do it.  That would really improve critical writing, and that would also really improve the critical dimension to choreographers respecting comments. The wider ecology of how you make better works.  Because, we want to making better work and we want to make work that connects with people, but we also want to be involved in the dialogue about that where people take the work that you make seriously.  Because it’s important when you making something it’s of you, it really is of you, it’s not something I’ve just knocked up and thrown out there.  So everything you read is very personal in relationship to that.  It’s really, really important that we challenge our own habits and perception.

 

TB comments about Marcia Siegel and Graham McFee

 

TB    You talked about, at one point about you want the audiences to come, and you want them to come back. I’m going to turn the question around to you.  When you go to dance, when you are a dance viewer, what makes you go to the dance, what makes you come back to the dance? What things compel you?

 

Aside from one of the minders (I want to know too)

 

WMcG     Well, I’m a fan of some people, that’s the first thing, it’s always important to be a fan, so I wouldn’t ever miss the Cunningham Company, I wouldn’t miss Billy Forsythe, I wouldn’t miss Lin Hwai Min, I wouldn’t miss somebody like Saburo Teshigawara.  There are certain kind of iconic artists, I would never miss.  I wouldn’t miss the Wooster Group, some quite extraordinary. .  I wouldn’t miss Robert Lepage. So there’s a whole range of people that I wouldn’t miss and would sit through and enjoyed works that perhaps. . . .  You know there are certain critics . . . I would always go, if Clement Crisp writes a bad review about someone in the Financial Times, I’d pretty much always go out and seek that piece as someone who might be interesting.  I really try, I try as much as possible, to return to work that I really liked the first time for what ever reason.  I really try and see a lot of young work, in really experimental situations, not in big lyric stages.  Because of course you get invited in London, I get invited to everything, but you just spend all your time at the Opera House, the National Theatre, all these great venues where you don’t have to pay your tickets.  So, I like to go to The Place, I like to go to places where actually the real the kind of the raw work is happening, I call it.  But I’m attracted to lots of different things.  Something really bizarre could get me interested in something. I like where you really feel that somebody is really doing their own thing.  That’s a kind of an easy thing to say, but it’s actually a really hard thing to do. When you feel like an artist, at whatever cost, is going to do. . . it’s their vision, something that you feel is uncompromising; you feel that the whole work is uncompromising.  I get very excited about that.  And I don’t mind that’s really conceptual like Jérôme Bel or something like that, or if it’s much more playful.  I don’t mind as long as you feel that that kind of commitment and passion and drive is there.

 

What gets me back, these would be my personal preferences, things to do with a really inventive physical language where you think the body is behaving differently.  I love that.  I remember the first time I saw Forsythe and I sat with friends and I was very fidgety and my friend say, “Oh God, you really hated that” and I said, “No, no, I really loved it”. And I loved it because, one, I didn’t understand it so I couldn’t immediately work out structure, which is something, you know. . . I didn’t immediately understand the syntax of it and I was so frustrated watching, thinking the choices were so perfect.  How could it be different, how could that choice ever have been different.  I really remember it. I’m lucky enough to have gotten to know Billy (Forsythe) quite well, I mean we had this school together.  But when I first saw the work in the late 1990s, I started to give up, because this thing was kind of just so brilliantly fresh and inspiring. And then I realized the next day, I didn’t want to give up, but I did want to make work of that quality.  So I think the aspiration of quality is really important.  I don’t like in the theatre really basically even if your in The Place or someplace small, sloppy set kind of, the craft making being really poor, poor lighting, dancers under-rehearsed, all those things that you’ve absolutely got control over, even as a young choreographer.  It’s nothing to do with money.  It’s to do with your eye and your aspiration for quality, and I think that’s something that would make me watch an artist over and over, their aspiration for quality.

 

TB    I always say whatever is on the stage is intended to be on the stage.  So if you have sloppy on the stage that’s intended to be on the stage.

 

You mentioned about your physical reaction to Forsythe when you first saw his work, and you’ve mentioned that before, the kind of kinesthetic connection with . . . I’m trying to find the quote . . . Parallels between watching the movement and having a vicarious experience of the movement.  I know that when I see a grand jete on the stage, my legs always twitch.  Is it just dancers. . . ?

 

WMcG     Well I think if you think of the notion of virtuosity.  What is virtuosity?  Classical ballet virtuosity, technically is something that inspires the body of the watcher in a really interesting way.  That’s why multiple turns are really exciting. Because when you know what the aspiration is – do 32 or more – you’ve got kind of a sense like you know, and you can’t do it yourself.  It’s something that is unfamiliar to you.  I think what we’re thinking about in bodies now is a new form of virtuosity.  A virtuosity which is not so much about identifiable tricks, I’m not demeaning them by saying tricks, but identifiable snapshots or something that you can count and quantify.  We’re obsessed with quantifying things.  How many people have got these biometric bands numbering how many steps, how many calories.  But nothing qualitative.  All quantitative.  So in a way that’s an attribute of virtuosity.  But”Owhat we’re trying to do, and lots of dance makers are trying to have a new vision of virtuosity where you’re still inspiring, you’re firing these brain receptors in a really interesting way. But the way in which the body is moving is unfamiliar to you and it makes you feel. . . For me, I don’t mind if it makes you feel uncomfortable, or a little bit awkward, or “Oh that looks a bit extreme”, or that looks like too much of a pull. I don’t mind that - that kind of unsettling of what is a normalized version of what a body can do. And normalized in pedestrian movement, also in normalized in ballet because we know the syntax of ballet so well.  It’s very comforting.  It’s very comforting because you know actually the arabesque line is supposed to be x and the pirouette line is supposed to be this.  In a way, it’s a grammar that we totally understand and we know when the body is misbehaving and we object to it – in classical ballet – we’re, well the aspiration is . . . And that fixed picture is really important, that part of the beauty of that art form.  But also all the other stuff that our body can do, and bodies today are being able to do more and more extreme things in a safe way.  Often a criticism of my work is that it’s unsafe. It’s totally not unsafe. Not only is it not unsafe, it’s not done to dancers, dancers are suggesting it.  It’s not a kind of position, a few people have said, for example, the relationship with women, where women are being held very precariously off balance, that’s really dangerous, and it’s really making the female dancer passive.  But actually, these female dancers who are in the studio with me are not voiceless.  It takes incredible strength, first of all, to do some of the things that they are doing and also they’re soliciting it from us in the experience of co-authoring something.  So this again is this old fashion model; the choreographer stands on the outside and tells everybody what to do and in this case the women are just manipulated around.   That is not the experience of what’s happening in the studio.  And nor is it the experience when you are in the extreme position perhaps the woman might get into, the amount of strength and physicality and technicality that that female body has to do – it’s not about those guys lifting her up, it’s about what she’s doing.  So it’s a total misunderstanding of what actually the biomechanical function of that body is doing. And those are the kind of things I want to address with this kind of visceral experience; not being familiar with the movement, but actually having either a draw or slight repulsion or awkwardness with it because you’ve not quite seen it in that kind of way before.  It makes you feel about you’re body differently.  And that’s the point of dance, I think.  It actually, even if you’re not dancing, it makes you feel differently.

 

TB    Interesting about the women in precarious positions and being supported – that was another interesting thing I thought about the Chroma clip.  There was a moment there where the woman was supporting the man, which you rarely see in ballet.

 

WMcG     And he’s a big guy right.

 

The gender balance for me is very important, but also there’s something interesting what can that body do.  It’s not gender based, it’s just what can that body do, and what can that body do, and use that to its best advantage.

 

TB    And even in the roles in that particular piece, I felt that she was the leader.  And he was the follower and she was in control actually without regard to whether she was being

 

WMcG     Off balance or not

 

TB    And it was clear. And again, I also saw your, you know, your device of the point, line, plane as part of probably the developmental process in that, and how she personalized that she did her own story of it and it was very, very personal.

 

WMcG     Yea, yea, yea, absolutely.  That’s one of the gifts of those classical dancers and dancers who work in the heritage of MacMillan and those ballets kind of give an emotive language to something.  They can’t help but imbue the language with something.

 

TB    It was wonderful, quite wonderful and quite different from the Random Dance Company, which is something else also.

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[中] 探索舞蹈的邊界 — 預覽賽馬會藝壇新勢力

November 6, 2019

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