Thursday, 31 July 2008

&, well, learning a choreography is a valuable exercise in learning a sequence of movements which is, after all, what we do in class every time. The choreography is just a bit longer, so it's good for me.

Catching up on films... 10 minutes older, the Claire Denis film really caught me. Simple: philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy and a student on a train. She (student) describes her experience as an outsider, an intruder, arriving in France as a student from another country. Calmly, lucidly, he analyses and explains her feelings. In the corridor of the train is a black African. Back in the carriage the intimate, thoughtful conversation continues. Suddenly the door opens and the African enters and starts to talk to the professor and student. The shock of intrusion before we realise that he is actually with them.

Then the Goddard season continued. I watched Le Mepris years ago on a small b&w tv and remembered nothing very clearly. Seeing it widescreen on a good colour monitor is breathtaking. Godard working beyond full stretch. The central scene between Bardot and Piccoli an extraordinary 30 minutes. We sit and watch a relationship falling apart. Just how far writing combined with acting, directing, cinematography and editing can reach. Unforgettable: somewhere many of us must have been. He doesn't realise how seriously she needs to be taken and in the end she leaves in scorn, mepris. & I never realised how seriously Bardot should be taken as an actor. After this 30 minutes confined in a flat we are suddenly on location in the Mediterranean, endless space and harmony enhanced by that feeling of confinement within a small destructive circle. Stunning doesn't do it justice.

The back problem after the Tuesday class seems to have cleared up after a day of being rather sore. F cheered me up a lot by saying very encouraging things about my leading: that I never get her off-balance, never wrestle her with my left arm. She has the strong central balance that comes from 14 years doing pirouettes on the point of one toe.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Finally, on Monday, booked apartment for BsAs. Before I booked I felt hesitant: after booking I felt really pleased and relieved. I'm on my way, at least to sunshine in November if not to a lot of good tango.

Last night, L&R's last class before their holiday, the Tuesday night advanced class, a bit of a disaster. It was one of their choreographies, which I'm not so keen on in class, but OK once in a while. I guess it gives everyone the feel of actually dancing to the music, and practice in combining moves. Early on it was going well until I picked a partner who said she was a beginner. Partners say that if they're not confident but unfortunately she really was -- and it was an advanced class. So I confidently led a giro, she didn't have a clue what I was doing and tripped on her own legs. Supporting someone's full weight, even for a moment, in a twisted position isn't great for the back, and mine is sore today. She was so much a beginner she didn't even know the giro pattern. The problem with open classes: anyone can turn up.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Carlos Gavito: The important thing is to know why we want to dance. We dance a solitude that we have inside us and cannot occupy with anything. This gap, that emptiness to which we put movement is the tango. "Lo importante es saber para qué queremos bailar. Bailamos una soledad que tenemos dentro de nosotros y no la podemos ocupar con nada. Ese vacío al que le ponemos movimiento es el tango."

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Art’, Tilson has written, 'is a symbolic discourse of which mankind alone is capable… I think of art as a tool of understanding, an instrument of transformation to put yourself in harmony with the world and with life … The basic given data of experience and the physiological and psychological aspects of procreation, birth, growth and death remain relatively unchanged.' The themes Tilson chooses for his work aspire to transcend time and cut across cultures to communicate the sacred in nature via references to pre-classical mythology, the Norm American Indians, the Dream Time of the Australian Aboriginals, and alchemy. Modular structuring devices - the letters of the alphabet, the days of the week, the circular mnemonic devices of Alchera which relate to the four Cardinal points, to the four Elements and to the four Seasons, the lunar months, labyrinths, ladders, words, symbols - are assembled in matrices layered with complex universal meaning.

A good evening at the Welsh-Centre-now-Conway-Hall. It felt like a good evening of work, work done well, satisfying. Not too crowded, so not too much pressure around, just the possibility to repeat and refine, to see what's going wrong. Realising how much I still look at the floor and how that, in a turn, pulls me off-balance. & great music, guitar and bandoneon: two people can stretch the beat much more than a band, and it becomes very interesting, if not easy, to dance to.

Friday, 11 July 2008

So this has all got very out of date because of the exhibition and related work. Much to catch up on.

Films first: the torture scene in Petit Soldat was familiar because Godard included it in his piece in '10 minutes', an extraordinary (what else from Godard) short 'Dans le noir du temps', a collage of his work and of events witnessed on film in his lifetime. The end of time, the end of love, the end of kindness..

'I can't grasp much of anything without putting down my thoughts in writing... Otherwise I'd never know what running means to me' wrote Haruki Murakami, and it set me wondering whether I might know better what tango means to me by writing. Which was the purpose of this blog in the first place, but it seems to have diverted itself to finding out what film means to me.

Talking to a friend after the Wednesday class: she regards me truly as a tango addict and says she likes it, but isn't that addicted. But I thought that the point is the addiction to dance, and she dances contemporary as well as tango. The start is dance, and you end up in what suits you best. So I'm not a tango addict as much as a dance addict. & I dance as much as I can because you can't do anything well without doing it a lot, and if it's worth doing at all, it's worth doing well.

Highlights of the past month: eating cherries from a tree I planted last year. Just a few, sharp and full of taste. & leaving the gallery at 5 last Monday, looking back at a really good exhibition. The culmination of months of work.