Saturday, August 23, 2008

1,2,3 and Peggy Baker

I just finished Peggy Baker's Summer Intensive and launched straight into performing in Caroline Niklas-Gordon's show 1,2,3 (don't believe NOW magazine that said Blue Ceiling dance produced it -- it was all done on Caroline's steam). I feel the earth radically shifting under my feet. New verbs, new images, new fullness and height to my dancing. Perhaps nothing has changed but my insides, but what glorious insides are sprouting, then!

It is amazing to me, because this week was also my birthday and I am an age where the traditional dance thought is that you are done improving physically and while your artistry may rise, your technical ability is on the wane. I feel so far from that 'truth' that it might as well be on the far side of Pluto. Peggy's intensive, and particularly the time she spent with us in 'creative practice', has revealed how it is that we can turn that traditional thinking on its ear, how it is that your artistry's deepening can strengthen and extend your technique as a dancer and as an interpreter.

It seems fitting as well to come across these thoughts while obsessively watching the Olympics and seeing older and older athletes liberating mind from body to win medals. You train, you train, and you train some more and then your use the wisdom that comes from your years on this planet to surpass yourself. I'm not saying that you can't be wise and young, but there is something to just being alive for a bit longer that endows you with some understanding of the universe and yourself that you just don't stumble upon until a certain autumnal part of the path.

Well now, this is all very philosophical and perhaps too ethereally-written. But just go watch Peggy Baker dance, or most of Pina Bausch's Wuppertal dance company, or the Canadian Olympic Equestrian team and convince me that they don't have something to teach us all about the fusion of mind and body in the post-40 era.

I have a while before I arrive at 40, but the view looks pretty good from here.