Oh man, we left you hanging there for a couple of days with Thomas Hobbes! Art Scatter can be SO cruel. What can I say? We watched some debate. We watched some Project Runway (Leanne won!). We prepared to meet a roomful of students in Linda K. Johnson’s dance appreciation class at Portland State University. We didn’t blog.
Maybe I should say a few words about that dance appreciation class. First of all, it sounds like a great class. Linda, who has been involved in some of the very most interesting projects around the city in the past decade (and more!), including the Halprin fountain City Dance event and overseeing a year of artist-in-residencies in the South Waterfront district, has set up a pretty rigorous course of study. For example, the class sat in on a rehearsal of Swan Lake, which became a sort of lecture-demonstration because artistic director/choreographer Christopher Stowell was so open to explaining what he was trying to do. Their writing assignments sound quite interesting, too, which maybe was where I came in — to talk about writing about dance.
This is something I love to talk about, even though I’ve actually done it far less than I would have liked. Time machine time: In 1978 I wrote about a visit to Seattle by Twyla Tharp’s modern dance company. That was the first time I committed an act of criticism with intent. To publish, I mean. And it caused me a great deal of grief and excitement and a couple of all-nighters spent writing and re-writing and throwing my hands up in despair. How could I possibly bottle in words what I’d seen onstage (not to mention the interviews I’d conducted with the dancers; Twyla wasn’t along on the tour), for consumption in a newspaper (the Seattle Sun, RIP)? Well, I had an excellent guide, who was in the process of developing a deep understanding of newspapers, though he knew even less about dance than I did, and we muddled through.
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