Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Complicity

Complicity, in its best form in the arts, works to our favour, where an audience, complicit with us as performers, is in on the action. They follow you as you play your edges, get excited as you near them and sense when you go beyond.

But I think there's a dark side to complicity. When an audience is seduced into believing they have been given the keys to the VIP -- that they are in on the cruel joke or the cool move.

Complicity, at its worst in humanity -- and perhaps this is where my graduate studies in history firmly overlap with my life as a dance artist -- has been used to coerce, cajole, urge people into following along with a regime that is a house of cards or a house of evil.

We all seek a sense of belonging. Complicity--which can, I believe, be fostered by leaders political or artistic -- can be a dangerous track to a sense belonging but with the stakes of excluding others, overlooking flaws in the fabric, or abandoning creativity for the sake of holding onto that identity.

I think it's time we gently call out our artistic leaders when their cultivation of complicity rests on cruel jokes and cool moves, when we are made complicit by understanding the catch-phrases, so to speak.

Innovation is not the be all and end all, but I do believe that as artists, and more generally as human beings, we strive for growth and deeper understanding of our existence. As artists, let's take our audiences along with us as we try to grow, so that they can relate with their own stretching and shifting.

It's important not to be too comfortable. Change is inevitable. It's important not to rest on the identity you think you've carved out for yourself. You are changing too. That identity might actually not fit anymore, and if you look closely, you may find that something is bulging out that you might not like everyone to see.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Jorma Elo

I have almost no words for this man's choreography. I want to dance it, I want to see it live. With all due respect to Balanchine and Cranko, Crystal Pite, John Neumeier, Christopher Wheeldon and my friend Peter Quanz -- this man is a new wave of ballet....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWTGuqpuZp4