James Finnemore is a professional dancer and choreographer currently working with Hofesh Shechter.
Wednesday, 6 November, 2013
Sunday, 14 April, 2013
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This blog entry comes from Paris, the Saint-Germain des Prés district to be exact.
I'm up to my eyeballs in quaint cafes and boutiques and with Notre Dame just around the corner it is all a fantastically satisfying cliché. I have been staying here for the past month whilst my partner has been working in an Opera, and for a refreshing four weeks I have barely danced at all. A great holiday, but not great for a dance blog.
Because of this I would perhaps prefer to tell you to go to the Shakespeare and Company bookshop opposite Notre Dame,with its wall to wall books, special editions and friendly atmosphere.
Or that you must go to the palace at Versailles, built by Louis XIV it is probably the most dramatic display of wealth I have ever seen; incredible architecture, huge fountains and acres of beautiful gardens. King Louis XIV may have ignored the poverty of his own people but his interest in dance did help create the company that we know today as the Paris Opera Ballet.
Voila. Amateur travel writing over, I promise.
Instead, I wish to bring up an issue that is not new in the slightest and with that in mind this entry may, I fear, provide little insight or discuss things of little relevance to anyone but myself, so please dear reader, humour me.
Not funded? If you are a choreographer working with no funding try, and try harder not to post audition notices. An unpaid opportunity, as is the normal lingo on these things, is not an opportunity. It's unpaid. It can force fresh graduates, for example, to apply for unpaid positions because as we are all aware jobs are hard to come by. I mean no disrespect to these graduates, but these are young dancing bodies that more often that not are merely just that.
In my opinion these young dancers could conceivably do something more productive, like apply for a place in a platform or scratch night. This gives a performance opportunity with a professional atmosphere and more notably allows them to perform under their own name.
Work with your friends. Your peers are more valuable to you as you will know their abilities and they will know yours, it might create an easier working atmosphere.
It's more likely they will bend over backwards to help you ( eg. work for free ) and support you when you might want to self-destruct, offering guidance when a stranger might not feel comfortable to do so. And after all, your friends might be some of the best dancers you know.
I myself feel I am perhaps taking a risk publicising this point of view, and I will re-iterate that this is my personal opinion, and mine alone. Agree, or disagree as you will, but if you have some free time this summer then there is probably the most beautiful city in Europe just across the pond waiting for you.