Dance was the first great passion in my life, but even when I was part of our Dance community, little information about what was going on “there, where it matters” reached us – if at all, with great delay. We were just too far away, and Communication Age had not yet begun. I was lucky, I had teachers that were ex-dancers that had gone abroad and eventually came back with solid knowledge and great technical skill, but this happened so seldom, less than once in a decade! All I knew by then was pure classical (the most contained, severe English style!) and Martha Graham. When I gave up dancing, I kept the greatest possible distance between me and all that concerned Ballet, by my own choice – a kind of Dance “coma”…
I awakened to a “new” world, a world I had not been aware existed.
I was searching YouTube for classical Music works that had never graced the shelves of my city’s stores, when I linked to a piece that was just score to a ballet. BALLET! I realized, for the first time, that I could now see ballets, performances, dancers I had only heard about before – and was suddenly overcome by an urgent longing for Dance. I started with Martha Graham, and went on on suggested links, Paul Taylor, Pina Bausch, Twyla Tharp… Awesome! I remember clearly my amazement, as I realized all that had happened during the time I had been “away”.
Eventually I clicked on Lar Lubovitch’s “Othello” staged by San Francisco Ballet, Desmond Richardson and Yuan Yuan Tan as principals. I was mesmerized! So beautiful this blend of classical and contemporary, so different from all I had known, the richer choreography, the amazing male roles – these men were REALLY dancing! And choreography and dancers were all so deeply expressive! I watched it three times in a row before I could go on.
Two more days with my eyes glued to the screen, and I knew ALL about him and Alessandra I could get on the web: clips, interviews, pictures, reviews. Marcelo Gomes led me next to the Kings of the Dance.
I clicked on Labyrinth of Solitude.
I had never seen anything so beautiful and heartbreaking before. It was so overwhelming I stopped all I was doing , and went for a walk to think about what I had seen. My life had suffered a division: there is a before and an after Labyrinth.
THIS much meaning, feeling, power could be conveyed through Dance!! I knew, back from my days, that for those who dance, it can be a deep sensorial and emotional experience, but I had been also sadly aware that this experience was not extended to our audience! A Ballet evening was just a sophisticated event that people with cultured tastes felt obliged to attend, but the moment the curtains closed, they started talking about where to have dinner, the stock market… – had that evening existed or not, nothing was changed.
But THIS! this was something else. Labyrinth had blowed me off my feet! Not as a dancer, but as audience. And not in a theatre, seated in the dark, magic flowing from a lighted stage, but at home, my pets fooling around me, phone ringing, – on a 14″ notebook with awful sound quality…
It became my favourite work, and a sort of standard. I like everything about Labyrinth. The theme; the music (Vitali, strange composer, who created this one sweeping, emotional score 150 years ahead of his time…); the way it is danced by Vasiliev, believable and intense; the absence of settings and costume; De Bana’s expressive choreography, and how he blended all of it into something that was more than the sum of parts.
After gathering my wits back, I searched further (my ethernal gratitude to YouTube’s inventor!), and started to identify which choreographers and dancers had been – and are now – responsible for this new (for me) richness. I knew several by name or a rare photo, but had never SEEN the real dancing, believe it or not! My personal “hall of fame” became a mix of active and retired professionals, even some long passed away – problem is, they jumped into my life all at once, it took me some time to correctly locate them in space and time – they were all very “here and now” in my mind – they still are, and I like it that way.
I fell deeply in love with Dance again, more than before. I saw, at last, Dance becoming an Art like her sisters. THIS was what Dance should be, anyone could appreciate, could love it now, men and women, young and old, expert or not. Anyone should be given the opportunity to experience its power, everyone should be exposed to its magic: I had a Quest!
My other projects (I always have too many, anyway) became less important, as my knowledge and awareness grew steadily. I’m fortunate that I can now, as never before in a too busy life, open my door and let Dance and Music come in and make themselves really comfortable in me. (only problem is, I suffer from fits of goose-bumps at an alarming rate nowadays).
The Quest means no hard work at all: I use it as an excuse to write about beauty and art gifted people create for us – giving Dance some thought while I write – not as an expert, but as the grateful receiving end, and then throw it in the wind/web, hoping it makes a difference, even the tiniest one, in bringing Dance closer to a wider audience. The other task is to win people around me over… making them some pleasure, too, when I succeed. Is that nice or what?