Why Dance Makes Me Envious…

Last night I had the pleasure of watching ballet for the first time in a long, long while. It was the impressive Béjart Ballet Lausanne, founded by that great moderniser, dancer and choreographer, the late Maurice Béjart. They performed Le Spectre de la Rose (not in the Nijinsky version, but with a modern and witty spin, a girl dreaming of several suitors, none of them quite up to scratch) and Le Sacre du Printemps, which nearly caused a riot when it was first performed by Diaghilev’s company in Paris in 1913. This too was not in that original version, but in Béjart’s sensual, dramatic choreography. You can catch a small flavour of it below.

They also performed a piece which had its premiere earlier this year, called Anima Bluesinspired by the films of Audrey Hepburn. And this last, more experimental work had me green with envy.

Why? Because you can convey so much more through dance than through writing. You have music and sounds (including clips of dialogue, so you also have words). You have images, lights, the beauty of human bodies in all their various forms and level of flexibility – and it’s not just static shapes, but also movement. You have several things happening simultaneously on-stage – forefront, background, left, right, out of the corner of your eye. You have emotions welling up in the audience, you are conveying meaning at both the concrete and the abstract level. There is simply so much richness there… so much ambiguity and layered meaning, so much left unsaid and yet everything is hinted at. Plus, each performance is different.

Even poetry seems a little lacklustre today, in comparison. But it’s the only instrument I have in my attempt to capture the unsayable.

5 thoughts on “Why Dance Makes Me Envious…”

  1. Marina Sofia – I know what you mean. There are times when words of any kind just don’t do justice. I feel that way about dancers, musical artists and photographers.

  2. i think dancing is a great way to convey emotions and to tell a story… so is music in general… yesterday i heard a classical piece with someone playing the violin in such a way that i was literally spellbound and didn’t get my eyes off him… it was not only what he played but the way he played it, he was just music himself…still goosebumps when i think about it… painting, writing, performing… there are so many ways to express emotions and i think each has their own value and strength..

  3. Give me words any day…
    allows one to imagine one’s own dance and costumes .
    Feel a bit of a fraud here as I’m saying this after avidly watching five full length ballets on tv plus wakk-to-walk skating and ice-dancing at its very best. So maybe we need all the aspects of the visual arts. Just as well that we don’t have to select one and exclude the others.

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