7 a.m.—Departing Bogota airport. I like Bogota in May. The rain cools everything off, but not so much that I need to wear socks in my sandals. The city has a bouncy, enthusiastic...
Two nights ago I finally watched So You Think You Can Dance for the first time. It was kind of great, and to a degree, I can see what people are attracted to. Some of the dancers were amazing--all of them, really, had mindblowing talents, like unreal flexibility or beautiful acrobatic skills. What made the program a lot less interesting to me, though, were the frequent and long commercial breaks, and the ridiculously indulgent comments by the show's judges. Those two things combined took up about 2/3 of the show's time, and were a definite disincentive to watching again.
What also didn't attract me that much was the flashy style that most of the dancers had. Even in their solos, they all moved fast, way too fast for me at least to absorb what they were doing. And most of them were so young--or so fame-seeking, or something--that their movements didn't have a lot of resonance or umph to them. Just watching perfect splits, poised arabesques, and backflips gets old after a while. I'm not sure what I was seeking, exactly--maybe some sort of depth of feeling--but I think when it's present, it's what makes dance art, rather than just sport.
The show made me wonder again what people would think if they saw our Human Landscape Dance rehearsals. I'd already been toying (hypothetically, of course) with the question of what it'd be like to make a documentary of a small penniless modern dance company, one that's concerned with art and aesthetics in a way that's pretty foreign to most Americans. The other day in rehearsal, the three of us were working on a new piece that has us rollling across and down a wooden ramp that Mac built. The movement is extremely slow and subtle, and maybe it doesn't appear to observers like we're doing much. But it's not easy to do: I have to use all of my powers of concentration to stay aware of exactly where my body is in space, and which area needs to initiate movement next so that I can continue to move seamlessly. It's almost like a moving meditation, and I'm sure it's helping me grow as a mover, somehow. But it's about as far from So You Think You Can Dance as you can get. No flashiness at all--we're just humans being humans, albeit in a kinetic way.