So this post makes sense, reading Part 1 would help! If you haven’t or won’t, grace here has a specific meaning: a fluid, free, almost instinctive quality to the dancer´s movements – that seem to spring out of her/him as natural as breathing – in opposition to a careful, thoroughly rehearsed, construed way of dancing.
There is a great number of male dancers I like. Only recently I became aware, however, that there is a very small group that I like more… I watch other dancers and think, what if so-and-so was dancing this?
What is so special about them? One of the main points is, they are so graceful… and then I had to stop and think what I meant by that. It was more or less: they are at ease, their dancing looks natural and full of life, is decidedly beautiful whatever they are dancing, is manly. These are not as much requisites, as expressions of their gracefulness – a special beauty that resides, precisely, in an organic, harmonic whole way of moving.
Not one of them has a very distinctive classical aesthetic in their movements – on the contrary, all of them dance their own way more than in the foppish traditional ballet style. Gratefully this has changed, and for good: that men should look like men on stage, and really DANCE, well beyond the occasional jumping/turning (and, of course, lifting!), around the all-important female dancers in stage’s center – feminine aesthetic all over!.
The Men Liberation Movement in Dance! kkkkk… Anyway, their equal rights are our luck, because boy, are male dancers gorgeous to look at, now that they can show all they are!
Back to my graceful dancers. Who are they, so you can agree with me or not? It will not be an all-encompassing list, just some examples. But they are rare indeed, even more than graceful female dancers…
Two come to my mind, immediately: Mikhail Barishnikov and Ivan Vasiliev. When they move, their movements have this “RIGHT!” quality, not in ballet rules sense, but in that their movements FIT them, they own the way they move, they move the way they are. You can see/sense the harmony.
Barishnikov made something new out of anything he danced, it would have his mark, with such individuality that it always became unique… and then a new standard.
Ivan Vasiliev, specially in his first years, seems to just release those jumps out of him, instead of commanding himself to jump – as, by the way, his turnings or any of his movements. He lost some of this instinctive, natural quality since then – a kind of loss of innocence, I believe – but still has more than any other active dancer I know.
Then Manuel Legris: there is nothing I saw him dance that I did not love! And he is a master when it comes to classical: all that Must be there, is, but all that is too foppish, is out. He makes a really handsome prince – who doesn’t make me feel uncomfortable… and then his dancing is terrific, isn’t it?
Julio Bocca – the most powerful presence on stage I ever saw. Not enacted power, it was really there, he owned the stage. And he did not think – he just went for it, and his every move was beautiful to see. Ivan Vasiliev has a lot in common with Julio Bocca in that, and both are a sure relief of excessive feminility!
By the way, Bocca’s most frequent partner, Eleonora Cassano, was a small miracle of grace, too. In the link, Robbins’ Other Dances again (completely different from Barishnikov, I love this!)
and this amazing one:
Angel Corella’s movements almost glow out of sheer vitality! His dancing seems to spring out of this luminous internal source as it’s most natural, unavoidable consequence. His casual style is misleading – while he is there, you can’t take your eyes off him, and anything he dances leaves a long lasting impression.
It is a great experience to see a dancer in tune with himself, trusting his grace, making Dance alive. They cannot be valued high enough. Thank you, graceful guys and girls!