Friday, March 21, 2008

The Power of Moving Parts

Prior to one fateful night in front of a TV in 1990-something I wasn't a big fan of modern dance. It always looked so overcooked, obscure and overly expressionistic.

TV1 (I think) screened a dance-video collaboration which put various choreographers together with filmmakers. Amongst the pieces was one from (and danced by) Douglas Wright which blew my mind - this might have been Elegy but not so sure any more.

Admittedly there was a lot of sign language involved but there was something about the drama and effort in the work that impressed me at the time.

Later I saw another piece he'd choreographed in person (I think it was Forever) and since then I have really enjoyed falling into the spectacle.

I think much of the appeal rests in the physical accomplishment of doing such things with a human body. The beauty of body lines as they move in and out of the space between various players.

I've also realised that often I'm more interested in the movements - the joints - between major pressure points. That is, how the dancers get from one position to the next.

This is a classical example:

I can't find much of Douglas actually dancing other than this from DV8 where he did a stint in the late 80s. This piece is called Dead dreams of monochrome men and is split over 11 parts.

Just as a bit of a side note: he - together with other dancers - was also photographed by Christine Webster whose Black Carnival made a bit of an impression on me while I was studying.

1 comment:

zebra factory said...

Update: ABC has started to screen 'Dance Films' on the Tuesday nights. The first batch was a bit of a disappointment. The UK host makes me want to scream but there might be some gems in the rough.