I only landed in Manchester yesterday, and already my time in NYC seems distant. I hate how that happens.
I was hoping to have some exciting tales to tell you but unfortunately my plans to help out at Trisha Brown's office we disrupted by a nasty little vomiting bug that put me in bed and ate into my time.
Despite this set back I did manage to get to a few classes. And although this also didn't go quite to plan it was rather interesting.
On the monday I had intended to go to Luis Lara Malvacias' class but over slept (my sister's room has no windows - try sleeping in a box. Thats NYC for you) and ended up going to a class with an Adele Myers company member. On the tuesday I was looking forward to taking class with a woman called Nina Buisson, who teaches an amazing Graham like contemporary barre class, but she was away. So I ended up taking class with an ex Alvin Ailey dancer called Michael Thomas.
Both classes were not really my style and not really what I wanted to do, (call me a snob if you will I don't care - but I don't really enjoy going to a 'contemporary' class and having movement choreographed to Byonce lyrics, if I wanted that I would have gone to a jazz class) and I got a bit frustrated as I felt like I was wasting my time, seeing as I could only get to a limited amount of classes, I haven't been to NYC for two years and who knows when I'll be back...
Having spent a bit of time in Berlin made me look at NYC with a slightly different eye than during my previous stays. And doing these dance classes really highlighted the differences. In Berlin I love the fact that people are much less concerned with consumerism and labels than in the UK or USA. The two classes I took early in the week were very much concerned with aesthetics, which I feel is a complete reflection of the US culture.
When I took Luis' class it was like a breath of fresh air, and I thought to myself finally! This is what I have been wanting to do.
And I saw another big contrast. During his class Luis talks non stop, about how to do what he is demonstrating, he gives images about how to make the movement work in the body. He is not concerned with what movement looks like but how the body can move in the most effective and accurate way.
I'm sure the other two teachers must have mentioned how to do stuff, but it definitely doesn't stick in my memory, in reflection it seems that those classes we just got told what to do, especially when in comparison with Luis' class.
Later, when discussing this with Luis I said that I thought this kind of class was ok if you had the knowledge already. And Luis pointed out even you have the knowledge of your body already, its still good to be reminded. And its true. You can never stop learning when it comes to dance (well, actually I suppose when it comes to anything).
People do open classes like that for years, hoping to become better dancers. But the process must definitely be a slower one if you're not given information on how to use your body. And thinking about that made me glad to be training in a school environment.
On reflection I realised actually its good to go to classes that are not my 'thing' now and again. It made me feel like yes, I know what I like, and I know what I don't. And I can say why. It highlighted some things to me and put some good points of reference/ comparison in my head.
So what am I saying? Go and do a class you don't like? No, not really, but if you end up in a class that wasn't what you were looking for use it. And take something from it. Even if its oh no!! thats not how I like to move!
There's no such thing as time wasting really. As my dear friend Ruth says "Every day is a school day".