Contemporary dance is the exploration of the total movement potential of the body. It differs from commercial or competitive dance in that it is not bound by set standards, as well as defined styles such as ballet or Jazz dance. Instead, it seeks to express a personalized vision, often through experimentation and collaboration for the development of new, more individualized approaches to the moving body and choreographic possibilities.' According to Wikipedia.
So why are we consistently criticizing the work that other people are producing and the way that they interpret their ideas? I've seen a few shows since I have been back and so many people don't have anything positive to say about the work and the criticism is irrelevant. As technology moves forwards people are asking why is contemporary dance not moving forwards in correlation?
But we are no? Some people I have spoken to are asking why choreographers are not pushing their choreography forwards but. But surely their work is what pushed choreography forwards at one point.. and there needs to be something as a reference in order for others to experiment and find new things.
Alston, Mcgregor, De Keersmaeker, Hofesh, Forsythe, they have all found their voice and it works well, their work is what has allowed them to be regularly funded and these are the companies that some of us aspire to work in, there is something for everybody, we can't like everything.
We need to see work, see what we don't like, and not only see the beauty in it, but use it to fuel our own dreams. People have been searching and discovering for their voice for years and when they found it, they kept it, defining themselves after all they worked hard for it. If all the companies were continuously trying new things there would evidently be too much of the same thing..
We don't want our music to all sound the same so why should our dance all look the same? And if you go to a concert you go because you like the songs and the style of their music. Why would you go to a contemporary performance knowing the style of the company to expect something else?
There needs to be order for there to be disorder, there needs to be rules for them to be broken and there need to be calm, for there to be chaos. Cunningham, Limon, Graham, Horton, Zambrano, Naharin. These people have created techniques, techniques we study and learn from so that we can rebel and find a voice of our own.
Contemporary means modern, the now, the 'up-to-date' and believe it or not this is the now, all of the companies are up-to-date, they must be no? We are artist's and art grows in movements. We are where we are because of generations and generations of dancers and choreographers experimenting and searching.
When something 'new' and fresh comes along it's amazing and everybody is talking about it but it becomes very old very quickly. There is a new iPhone produced every year and I think that being the spoiled nation that we are, we are expecting contemporary dance to do the same. And one of our problems is we have come to a point in dancer where... anything goes.
To be a Ballet dancer you have you have a certain technique and a certain aesthetic and to be a model you have to have a certain aesthetic. To be a Doctor you have to pass a certain exam, but to be a contemporary dancer, it doesn't matter about your size, race, gender, sexuality or IQ you don't even need to be trained in dance! But you do have to question, see the beauty in ugly and strive for innovation and that's what makes it so beautiful.
So stop being so negative, we are not going to experience from a book, we are not going to succeed without at least trying and we are not going to improve by criticizing others. Go out there and discover what the world has to offer. London is but a speck on this place they call earth. There's a lot to see and do yet.
Go find your voice and scream it from the mountain top and when you run out of breath.. scream again only louder.