Monday, June 2, 2008

Shall We Dan...?

Isn't it a wonder that some really good people inherently despise some really good things. Its so much interesting then to hear some slick words of hatred emanating out from those hearts...They seem to be so appealing :P Here's a piece of gem from Stephen Fry, that I am talking about:
I hate dancing more than I can possibly explain. I hate doing it myself, which I can’t anyway, but I loathe and resent the necessity to try. I hate watching other people do it. I hate the way it breaks up conversation. I hate the slovenly mixture of sexual exhibitionism, strutting contempt and repellent narcissism that it involves. I hate it when it is formless, meaningless bopping and I hate it (if anything even more) when it is formal and choreographed into genres like ballroom or schooled disco. Those cavortings are so embarrassing and dreadful as to force my hand to my mouth...

Wow that's something mouthful. For the unintroduced, Stephen Fry is an English comedian, actor, filmmaker, humorist, writer, novelist, poet, columnist, television personality and a technophile. And a good hater (shouldn't we add?) When someone mentions things like 'necessity to try' or 'hate doing it myself, which I can't anyway' appears so sickly, depressing and hopeless you won't even like to sympathize those pale eyes of a starving black cat just about to die.

However what I like about the excerpt is that it questions the basic idea of loving and detesting everything around us...isn't it? It's very modish for the irrational self within us to crush any piece of Art down onto plain matter-of-factness, to enslave it as a puppet of our whimsical afterthoughts. And again it's very easy to label some opus as 'remarkable', with a tittering acceptance, while still being stupidly ignorant about its beauty.
But then I wonder again: 'Do we need an occasional rational lens to look through everything...and is that all, is that the end of the
story.' Of course not.

Lets try to hate something, probably with an Alien's eye, and then see. What is it that they call as Soccer - a bunch of hooligans running so mindlessly behind a round rolling useless object, kicking out of their mundane frustration and shouting the shit out of themselves, just to defend a pretentious flagpost and invade that of the enemy?...What a waste of aggression and creative energy...Huh.

Lets rip Cricket for that matter. 22 men trying strangely hard to both love and punish the round little thing, turn by turn...for no real reason. Catch it, throw it, smash it, aim with's still round, tough and silent. Why so much fuss and drama happening at the pitch...Why these maddening acts of self -flagellation on the green grasses. What are they really trying to prove with those flings - that they have better eyesight for the little thing...or that their 11 men can torment any milita with those wooden cudgels?

I'll pause to be ridiculously cynical and cheesy about the above things...I haven't had that bad day today. There are no
extremes of loving and hating something actually.

Lets come back to the Dance again then - a performance art we humans started probably even before we had the name for it. If you allow me talk lofty then I would probably say, with a sophisticated smile: That those rhythmic movements of the body, those alignment to the recurring beats, those consummately controlled movements...all help to connect with the inner self, to the natural design, to our subconscious expressions...Stop thats enough!

Sincerely speaking, any good piece of Art - as someone has rightly said - offers more than it admits...and it shines on its own. Dance, with its umpteen performance styles, evokes feelings possibly inexpressible in the language. It showcases abstract movement dynamics, and connects to the viewer with its own encrypted alphabets and refined vocabulary. It is governed by the same Physics of the Worlds as is any other motion.

From the melting tenderness of Viennese Waltz, to the fabulous stamping of Argentinian Tango, to the characteristic formations of American Square, to the supple torsos and entwining waist movements of Latin Salsa, to the articulate thumps and perfect-angle jerks of Break Dance, to the evocative ground movements of Kathak/BharatNatayam, to the lifted windmilling legs of Italian Ballet... Dance stimulates innumerable potent images of human expression. Those frozen moves, those mesmerizing body flows and impulses - steal every possible representational figure our body can exude. The overwhelming soundscape and the instinctive beats make the legs fluid.

Dance has a liberating effect. We see a spinning lady and her subtle expressions, and we quickly feel affiliated to her silent control over the sheer fear of executing just a superficial bodily ostentation; over appearing staid and restless; over the vulnerability of nervousness; over her unfailing trust on the supporting partner...

I would never doubt that Dance brings in a different dimension of self-realization, as I've observed the class acts closely now. Outside, it appears downright chic, heavily entertaining, flashy glamorous and melodic... but on-stage, to the performer, it's again a delicate balance in the midst of his/her ego and attitude, her composure, her hidden unsettled anger, her love for freedom, her fear of appearing flimsy and detached to the onlooker, her creative quotient, her...
Much of our life remains a delicate balance...isn't it.

** I love Soccer and Cricket as much as Dance, but mostly I can play the former two in my mind only.
** I have a Group Stage Performance in the next couple of days,
courtesy's pretty big Show actually. Hope my body allows me. Wish me Luck...