Friday, 30 January 2015

Milter talks about dance, I ponder

Slipping on my amazing significance seeking spectacles, I return to the interview with Andrea Miltner. 

Having recently purchased the Aristotle 2000 (Guaranteed to Reduce any Performance to a series of Twitter-Ready Tags), I have been busy sticking labels on every show that I have seen since Curious Orange in 1988. However, Miltner makes a trenchant point about the nature of dance, which has made Aristotle 2000 show an error message. 

That to me is the magic of dance - it can give a greater freedom to the audience to allow their own imaginations to be at play and to react on a more instinctive, sensory level, rather than on an intellectual one.

Anxiety about reading meaning into everything aside, this brings me closer to the reasons for my love affair with dance, and my slight - but often exaggerated - suspicion of 'scripted' theatre. The combination of a more sensuous, physical response (like the bit during Park when I found myself moving in my seat as the Jasmin Vardimon company bounced to The Popcorn Song) and the importance of the audience in making the meaning.

She goes on to explore the tensions between her work as a ballet
dancer and the determinedly contemporary nature of Magnetic Ballerina, and how 'freedom' can limit creativity - all fascinating stuff, and intriguing me all the more about the performance. Then she elaborates on the role of the audience.

I hope the public will come without any preconceived ideas and just experience the piece with an open mind and find in it what they will.

Sadly, I am going to be bringing preconceptions - that I am really going to enjoy this work. But Miltner displays a generosity to the audience ('find in it what they will') that goes beyond the frequently vague assertion that 'it's about whatever you think it is.' That is true, of course (giving the maker the monopoly of meaning ignores the history and context that the audience bring to an event). But it is the particular fluidity and allusiveness of dance that allows more freedom: less rhetorical than words, movement opens up the play of mind and matter... subject and object... am I objectifying, creating an unnecessary dualism... or do I just love dance when it touches me and seeds a new way of seeing?

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