The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

more DNA dance class

additional material from DNA dance classes. dnaclass6 documents a "one
breath" performance; students danced on one breath, and stopped in their
tracks when their breath gave out. surprisingly, an older man outlasts the
rest of the students. in dnaclass7, exercise-performances involving
choreia are presented. 7 is only a very short segment. what was amazing
was the spirit of the students, who were moving awkwardly, deliberately,
and learning/unlearning so much in the process. the classes were taught by
Foofwa d'Imobilite and myself; my own role involved Second Life material,
sound, and occasional goading and performance suggestions. Oh but we had a
good time.

What interests me about these exercises is their contradicting the usual
assumption of balance and purity in philosophy and dance. Here, dancers
move from one limitation, one exaltation, to another. I think of the
exhaustion Levinas describes in existence and existents as philosophical
counterpoint; this is hardly the wide-awake state of Sartre's cafe life in
Being and Nothingness. Exhaustion is inescapable, as is stroke for
example. To write from a position of exhaustion or illness, is to write
from a prison beyond prison - to wryte otherwise. And the same is true in
exaltation; one carries through, is carried by, the moment; one is others;
others are among one.

These movements are voluntary, however, and they extend the range of
performance. There's an uncomfortable edge in this, since there are people
who permanently inhabit similar states. These movements, however, are not
imitative; but performances that draw on any number of sources such as
choreia, dancing mania (for example St. Vitus' and St. John's dances),
maenadism and other dance/ecstatic rites, hypnotic displays, neurasthenia,
shamanism, and even animal movements.

Apologies for the shortness and poor quality of the videos; the ideas come
through quite clearly.

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