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Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

I am a dancer with Minneapolis based James Sewell Ballet, a small, contemporary ballet company. I also choreograph independently.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

What Lingers (as seen on the Walker Art Center blog)

Dana Casperson is articulate in every way. Verbally, physically, and I can only guess, emotionally. The following are my thoughts about today’s master class and discussion later with James Sewell.

Dana generates movement from her hips. Teeny-tiny, she is larger than life when she dances. She tells us to think of the body like a snake. A snake cannot move without bringing its whole self along. As dancers we can think of our bodies in the same way. Any gesture contains the potential to become a full-body experience/expression. As classical ballet practicioners, we tend to isolate movements. They are always living, just often internally. Here, today, it’s like she’s telling us to show the work.

She tells us to think of approaching points on a three-dimensional grid. One can approach with any part of the body. Here’s the thing though, how can you get from point A to point B intelligently, without it being a non sequitur? What is the priority, the imperative, and what must be abandoned out of necessity?

“Leave something behind”, she tells us. Move like a wave that simultaneously regenerates even as it breaks/arrives. I am reminded of a lotus flower, simultaneously blossoming and seeding, cause and effect existing simultaneously.

My brain fries. A part of me wants to physically experience this stuff, and I must admit, a part of me simply, complexly, wants to watch. I want to write, to experience this work from the inside of my own brain, grasping what precious little I can in two hours. It’ll be interesting to see what lingers.

I wrestle between my brain and my instincts, a hyper, encapsulated experience.

Ultimately dance is about the expression of the spirit.

It’s important to allow the head to fulfill the chain of events promised by the body.

I close my eyes and imagine myself in my grid. I sense my backspace and all the possibility. This gives me hope, in my dancing and in my life in general. I think this grid of possibility can apply to all we approach as humans. Adding focus, we follow the head. And for me, (I sense this with Dana too), I follow the heart and its sincere pursuit, to wherever it may quietly lead, often with surprising results.


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