Thursday, September 04, 2008


From a conversation online between myself, and an esteemed colleague (read: 'good mate')..... (A part of our discussion touched on) 'recognition' versus 'understanding'. This made me think of of the word 'reading' - literally means to re-cognise. But this act of recognition is part of how we develop an understanding of a work. Perhaps KL is suggesting not to put the cart before horse in how we go about perceiving/witnessing performance? My bugbear in this part of the 'problem of dance' (or perhaps art in general) is the notion of having to "get it". As if it has a solution. Strange in a way b/c we can be so sophisticated in our understanding of the nuance of physical action (only need to look at our understanding of the action of rugby in NZ (for example), but within an arts context there is suddenly a pressure to 'get it'. This 'problem of dance' is ongoing, and probably cultural. For example there is no identifying cultural or national dance representing the pakeha population of New Zealanders. Although there could be an argument made for ballet given its proliferation of schools country wide, and there is a national dance company; The Royal New Zealand Ballet - which still tends to be perceived by NZ male's as effeminate, and homo-erotic. Contemporary dance has a kind of guilt-by-association in that respect also. But anyway that's beside the point. Problematically contemporary dance is far from simple in its movement intentions. Rugby by comparison is easy, no one really looks at its movement in terms of nuance for nuance sake. It's a GAME. It's very clear that that's what it is. Therefore the movement and the intentions behind the movement are very easy to read - 'He threw himself at the other man in a full body blow in order to get the ball and win the game' Simple. However in contemporary dance - 'He threw himself at the other man in a full body blow because...' a - He was demonstrating or illustrating or expressing an issue around relationship and /or sexuality in gender specific, ambiguous imagery in order to satisfy the choreographers sub agenda(s) around deconstruction, interrogation of sexuality in contemporary culture, cliche' in post post modern concert dance on mainland Europe (and its outlying areas), issues about the portrayal of men dancing together on stage and/or undescribed intuitive hunch(es) about intersections of bodies in space.

or perhaps

b - In attempting to move away from issues of identity, sexuality, and meaning the choreographer in collaboration with the dancers was working from conceptual provocations that resulted in a movement vocabulary that was; new, innovative, hybridised, and uncharacteristically honest in its attempt to be nothing other than movement for movements sake with no subtext, narrative, construed meaning, or any other cloying non linguistic coding even if driven by therapeutic somatic concerns. If this is the case as often as I suspect it is, I can see why rugby is usually the winner on the day.


Things that Move Me Created and performed by Oliver Connew - NZ Fringe - BEOP Studios , Mt Eden, Auckland - 2017 Dear Olive...