Dance as Concept

03/08/2012 § Leave a comment

James Gandolfini & Lorraine Bracco

I understand therepy as a concept

The head wise guy of a New Jersey crime family walks into a therepist’s office.

Or so a joke might go. I assume it would be difficult to find an English speaking media fan who hasn’t heard of the Sopranos, the all time highest rated cable television show produced by David Chase. The first episode shows the Soprano family boss Tony going to Dr. Melfi for help with a sudden spate of panic attacks he’s been suffering from.

Tony is skeptical about a lot of things, the benefits of psychoanalysis just being one of them. “I get therepy as a concept…” he tells the doctor.

I like art, what’s not to love. Especially music, being of Irish descent one of the things my family has been good at (although any compitence in the art completely bypassed me) is music, and I do enjoy a wide vareity of styles. I also understand that people like to dance to music, and as dorky and awkward a man that I am I too have participated in such activities, last time at the suggestion of my wife at my wedding 8 years ago. I of course complied.

I also appreciate the ancient tradition of dance from other cultures, Asia has a very old tradition of dances that includes modes older than rocks. I get all that.

Interpretive dance, however, I don’t get. What is that?

Flatley from "Lord of the Dance"

When I hear some one say something like “My gift to you; this dance” my eyes glaze over. Certainly, no one has offered me such a gift in my own life, usually this is some kind of action I see on TV. Still, its a rediculous concept. Interpretive dance, free-form poetry, is there anything worse as far as performing art goes?

As I mentioned earlier, Asian dance is very old, and has form, every move has a function, and its very carefully orchestrated. Even ballet, its a highly refined art. Cheerleaders at least are using dance to give you some kind of visual show and that serves a purpose. Whithout the movement it would be a group of young girls standing around in matching sequins.

I’m reminded of the scene from Donnie Darko giving us a glimpse at a talent contest entry headed by Donnie’s younger sister. One of the other contestants how ever is the Samoan girl doing some kind of wierd interpetive thing, sinking her character deeper into the mire that is negative high school politics. Even that served a purpose by showing us how badly her character was mired in the muck of teen angst. But as a serious artistic pursuit? Who hasn’t looked at the Jazz Hands guy and privately thought “what price fame?”


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