The Dancemaker Turns Eighty

August 13th, 2010 § 0 comments

If you’ve never seen Paul Taylor himself dance, you’re missing something amazing. He’s tall and imposing, graceful and yet full of an athletic, masculine power. Watching clips from the beginning of his career in the 1960s, he fills the stage, literally and metaphorically, with a presence so captivating you can’t look away. In Taylor’s heyday as a dancer, which he spent growing away from the long shadow cast by Martha Graham, modern dance was not about storytelling like the classic fairy tales retold in timeless succession by ballet companies. Modern dance seemed more interested in experimenting with what else dance could communicate. Beginning with difficult choreography that confused and upset critics and viewers alike—such as his five minute dance in which no one moved—Taylor somehow found a way through abstraction to a kind of conceptual dance that, unlike Merce Cunningham, feels as natural as social dancing, street dancing, or our predilection for drunken capering. His choreography doesn’t look as though it should feel so accessible, we should struggle harder to watch his dances, but the way he understands our everyday movements makes his choreography uniquely enjoyable. Watching Taylor you get the sense that something important is being expressed, but exactly what remains something of a mystery.

young paul taylor

» Read the rest of this entry «

Back-To-Back

July 16th, 2010 § 0 comments

I love New York in the summertime, which is to say, I love summertime after winter in New York. I am certainly not alone in this sentiment as the whole city becomes energized as the sun comes furtively back out and the humidity index starts to rise. By the time we enter July, a month full of rainshowers, humidity, and shorter office hours, summer happiness is in full swing, and that nervous energy that makes nyc so unique becomes infectious and impossible to avoid. There is nothing quite like feeling as though you’re living the good life of relaxation and leisure while not living anything remotely like it. All those activities that go on throughout the year in nyc—bike riding, day trips, concerts, eating and drinking—take on a different feel in summertime as they make their way outdoors. As everyone takes advantage of their time off work—my company’s handbook recommends that you use your vacation time in July—the city turns into a sweaty mass of new yorkers and tourists trying to make every day of summer count. I enjoy feeling like summer is slipping away too quickly as it gives new urgency to all my desired but unaccomplished experiences.

The Cloisters

» Read the rest of this entry «

Clinton & President

June 30th, 2010 § 0 comments

Adam Gopnik says:

In New York, the space between what you want and what you’ve got creates a civic itchiness: I don’t know a content New Yorker.

Moving is difficult. It’s not so much the physical act of lugging your things from one place to another, albeit an exhausting experience beginning with packing the first box to unpacking the last, but the psychological aspect of being in transition that makes it so traumatizing. All semblance of a routine full of familiarity and comfort disappears as objects are moved, and rather than facing the fear we might feel at not knowing if a new home will become a home, even though they always do, it’s easier to cling to our belongings. I watched my Grandpa horde objects throughout my lifetime, loving his clutter so much that I associated his belongings with his person, and moving his furniture felt just like moving the displaced man himself. While watching his things disappear from a house I loved was like witnessing a small kind of death, seeing familiar, though just as displaced trinkets in my parents various apartments over the years act as a reassurance that they are still themselves. I think about the infamous wagon-wheel-coffee-table scene from When Harry Met Sally when I trash objects I myself fought so hard to keep in my possession. The things that surround us have a meaning we don’t really intend for them to have, and seem to be the most convenient tokens of displaced emotions. Moving this past weekend I realized, only when I was returning the van and all was safely moved, including my most precious yowling Boo, that everything was alright. It’s seeing our lives packed and placed in a homeless state that is so unsettling.

Carroll Gardens

» Read the rest of this entry «

New Notes on Nostalgia

May 22nd, 2010 § 0 comments

T451733_09

New York City is a place that inspires a great deal of nostalgic sentiment, so passionate and opinionated that it often feels exclusive, like how we sometimes feel when talking to our grandparents. While the elderly tend to remember their past with exciting fondness, their dismissal of the present is always a little unnerving. Growing up with one great-grandmother born in 1905 instead of two younger grandmothers, I was always captivated by her quaint stories. At the same time I felt a bit wary of them, like the children in a Ray Bradbury novel who simply can’t believe that the elderly were once young. Just as we all feel a little like the first children to ever roam grassy backyards, it’s hard to accept that there ever was a time before our vivid present.

» Read the rest of this entry «

Published–Kentridge & The Nose

April 30th, 2010 § 0 comments

Where Art Meets Opera.
kentridge

The latest review of a messy multimedia experiment.

kentridge1

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing the New York City category at Escaping Artist.