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Quotable Quotes


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#136 sandik

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 01:44 PM

“You have to love dancing to stick to it. It gives you nothing back, no manuscripts to store away, no paintings to show on walls and maybe hang in museums, no poems to be printed and sold, nothing but that single fleeting moment when you feel alive. It is not for unsteady souls.”

-- Merce Cunningham


Oh, this is my second favorite quote from Cunningham, only surpassed by 'dance is movement in time and space,' because it is such a universal truth.

#137 bart

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 02:20 PM

It's in Alistair Macaulay's recent NY Times piece on Cunningham at 90.
http://www.nytimes.c...n...1&ref=dance

#138 innopac

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Posted 27 April 2009 - 01:04 AM

"He gave the power of speech to every limb." David Garrick after seeing a famous dancer acrobat. [Quoted by Clement Crisp in the video Mime Matters.]

#139 bart

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 07:57 AM

There is no doubt that all dancers are more versatile now. But ballet dancers have lost engagement with the older work, and there is a homogeneity of style. When you have William Forsythe, Mark Morris and “La Sylphide” in one repertory, dancers need to be rehearsed with stylistic specificity. And there isn’t time or money for that. I adore ballet. I just wish there were more to adore.


-- MARK MORRIS

From: Roslyn Sulcas, "Genre Benders of Modern Ballet," NY Times, July 1, 2009.
http://www.nytimes.c....html?ref=dance

Sounds like he's been reading Ballet Talk!

#140 papeetepatrick

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Posted 09 July 2009 - 08:58 AM

Here are two by Martha Graham that others will recognize from the McDonagh book, which I find keen, both of them. She's clearly not afraid of godliness nor nakedness.

The first one requires that I type up the whole text, so the context is understood. It was on her Asian tour in 1955 and 1956: "In general, the left-wing press was politely hostile, and at each press conference--in addition to the usually innocuous, "What is 'modern dancd'?" would manage to ask what might have been at least one embarrassing question. At one press conference, with her Company bright and shiny for the occasion, she was asked, "Why are there no dances in your Company in which the subject is universal brotherhood?" Graham paused for only a moment before making her grave reply: "There are no dances in my Company in which that is not the subject. I could not do a single step if I did not believe in brotherhood. But I am not a propagandist. I don't need to make dances that say [emphasis mine] they are about brotherhood. All of my dances are."

There was something either Racine himself wrote or a Racine scholar wrote, and the above made me recall it, although I cannot quote it. It had to do with 'being about God' and/or 'what God needs', and that was not to necessarily be talking about God, but to be doing the work that would not exist without human intervention. That sounds like 'God couldn't do it', but it's more like 'God doesn't do those labours Himself', or that was part of the gist of it.

The second one is quite startling as well: "Desire is a lovely thing, and that is where the dance comes from, from desire. And the thing that makes you turn, for a dancer, is the desire to turn, first, so that everything comes out in desire; and where does desire reside but between the legs, for most people".

Wow. She left room for exceptions, I guess, and even the Desert Fathers seemed to be immersed in fighting those and all other desires off, but that means they weren't very far away, even in those extreme cases.

#141 Cliff

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Posted 19 July 2009 - 06:54 PM

"Ballet is an addictive art." -- Alastair Macaulay, NY Times, July 15, 2009.

#142 Amy Reusch

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Posted 19 July 2009 - 07:48 PM

'

dance is movement in time and space,'

I'm now struggling to imagine movement outside time and space... seriously, and with all due respect (because I'm pretty sure Cunningham can imagine movement outside time and space)... I must be overlooking something obvious?

#143 sandik

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Posted 19 July 2009 - 09:11 PM

'

dance is movement in time and space,'

I'm now struggling to imagine movement outside time and space... seriously, and with all due respect (because I'm pretty sure Cunningham can imagine movement outside time and space)... I must be overlooking something obvious?


As with much of Cunningham's work, I think this aphorism is trickier than it first appears. I usually refer to it when I talk about his aesthetic and its bare bones quality, or when I talk about some of the overwrought definitions of dance that were popular in the 1950s. For Cunningham, I think it means that dance is a series of actions in a specific place that we perceive in the order they appear -- it's movement ordered by time and bounded by space.

#144 sandik

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Posted 19 July 2009 - 09:13 PM

From Judith Smith, artistic director of Axis Dance Company

"Dance is not for the meek."

#145 Alexandra

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 07:58 AM

Re the Cunningham quote above -- I've always taken it that this is the "necessary and sufficieint" definition of dance for Cunningham. Meaning, it doesn't need to express anything, or be grounded in a particular technique, or be dependent on music. I agree, too, that it's, as sandik wrote so succinctly above, "it's movement ordred by time and bounded by space."

Glad to see Cliff's post above, too :pinch:

#146 innopac

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Posted 01 August 2009 - 06:33 PM

"Dancing is a feeling -- physical, emotional, and spiritual -- and that feeling changes of its own inevitable accord at every moment of your life."
Suzanne Farrell in Holding on to the Air page 223

#147 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 01 September 2009 - 10:03 PM

[size=3]"What we found remarkable is the importance the arts play in Cuban life. No one seems to have any money, but the arts are an essential part of their lives. That was a revelation."[/size]

Francia Russell, co-artistic director of Pacific Northwest Ballet, who traveled to Cuba in February with Sen. Maria Cantwell.

#148 bart

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 03:02 PM

"A dancer is both a race horse and its jockey."

-- Brigitte Lefevre, Director of Danse, Paris Opera, in Fred Wiseman's documentary, La Danse.

#149 leonid17

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Posted 23 December 2009 - 03:08 PM

Because of Anna Pavlova's sometimes broken English, the following quotes of her statements can be found with slight variations.

"Although one may fail to find happiness in theatrical life, one never wishes to give it up after having once tasted its fruits."

"No one can arrive from being talented alone, work transforms talent into genius."

"To follow one aim without pause, ; there is the secret of success. And success? What is it? I do not find it in the applause of the theater. It lies rather in the satisfaction of accomplishment. "

#150 bart

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Posted 29 December 2009 - 12:44 PM

The following is from Thom Gunn's poem, "To Yvor Winters, 1955." Winters was a poet, critic, and teacher of literature.
Gunn's tribute to Winters' poetry seems to apply to the classical impulse in all the arts, including ballet.

You keep both Rule and Energy in view,
Much power in each, most in the balanced two:

Ferocity existing in the fence
Built by an exercised intelligence.

Sounds a bit like Petipa and Balanchine.

(Quoted in a review of several of Gunn's books, NY Review of Books, Jan. 14, 2010.)


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