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Friday, November 26, 2010

03/06/2007 - The Teapot Dance

My friend Joy Voelker, a dancer at SUNY, modeled for me a few times, then recruited me into making works featuring herself and three other dancers, who would present their Master of Dance theses on the same night up in Purchase, NY.

Sure enough, each of the four came to Brooklyn, and posed for 2 or 3 works each. The works were put in the entrance hall as part of their coming out performance.

I had met M___  only briefly, when the four of them, together, looked at my stuff on my laptop during a rehearsal break. Later Joy called me and told me they had decided to do the work.

M____ was the most difficult to schedule. We worked well into the morning making this piece, and one other, where she was portrayed holding her violin.

What to write about M__ ? She set to work immediately composing a symmetrical prose poem for me to write around her body. Literate, athletic, musical, talented.

She completely understood the problem of making a meaningful single tracing, how the muscles normally relax and the body can suddenly turn to a limp cutout, versus a living standing being. The artifice in this kind of work is that the model must assume a standing pose while on the flat floor, as in yoga, muscles held against each other, the rest of the body relaxed. M___ did this task with superb discipline and grace. She put her muscles into action, i.e. 'tensed' them, while lying on the ground, and never moved a millimeter whilst I was writing around her. She held this pose for about an hour. A tour de force.

One who can be motionless, for an hour, is capable of explosive power in dance. So it is with M____. Her performance was a liberation of virtuoso, she played and danced simultaneously, never missing a step, or a beat.

Her 'writing' was an abstract breakdown of a tribal song sung by women who gather water in Africa. She had taken this piece of folklore, and tuned it into a dance.

Symmetry meshed radically into the composition of the written work. The ritual is there in the the way the words are composed, split and recombined end to end, like a piece of folded paper. End matches beginning, descent, return, ascent return. Ouroboros.


Write your thoughts as a guiding circle about your being.

Then watch what happens.

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