Sunday, 15 November 2009

An Evening of Fine Art and Gang Fights

Last Friday, for the first time in three years, I attended a dance performance. It was put on by Corps Bara, which is a youth dance theatre that I was a part of for many good years - about 11 or so. Yup, this was the 10th anniversary celebration, and yup, I was part of Corps Bara before it existed. I was there when it was still called Dance Choir.

Being the 10th anniversary and all, a bunch of alumni were invited to the event so I went. It was good to see people again. The dance teachers are just as I remember them... so much so that it felt like no time had elapsed at all since I last heard Karen deftly compose a speech on the spot to cover technical difficulties or buy time. And it was super great to catch up with Krista and Miss Sally. Yes, I still think of her as Miss Sally. She follows my blog, actually. That makes me happy. Hi Miss Sally! Or do you prefer just Sally now? :-D

Because this is a blog and not a personal diary, I think I shall offer my opinion on the show. There were many things with which I was impressed, and two things with which I was not. To save time, I shall make a list:

Things that impressed:
-Technique of dancers (especially the Juniors, who outperformed everyone, I think)
-Video presentation during dances
-Creative choreography
-Corps Bara gear for sale

Things that made me a little bit sad:
-Lack of dramatic element to dancing
-Lack of ministry focus

I feel I should expand on the last two points so that no one from Corps Bara thinks these are random or unfair judgements. In the past, despite a lower level of technical ability on the part of the dancers, the emotion behind there dances was intense. When there was a "storyline" to the dance, it felt like we were watching a story that was told through dance. When I watched the dances this time around, I was watching dancers who were trying to trying to tell a story. Maybe it's a small distinction in when typed, but it's no small difference when live.

There's just something about the chemistry of old match of dancers, maybe, but in Cleansing, for example, when Sarah would reach desperately for the water bowl, you could feel how desperate she was. You could see the pain in her face and there was no guesswork about what she was trying to portray. When she lingered in a pose, you didn't notice because the emotion was first, and the position was second. This time, when I watched Cleansing, though it was frighteningly beautiful technique-wise, the girl in Sarah's role lost me. I saw her reaching for the water bowl, but I didn't feel it. I looked at the position and said "That's a reaching pose. She must want the water."

I don't usually go on about emotion. I'm more of a brain person. But dance isn't about that. It's an art form, and isn't that what art is supposed to do? Evoke emotion? With dances like Cleansing or Her Last Prayer, the emotion really can't be sacrificed for the dancing. The old group of dancers I knew that used to perform them would really drive the emotion home, and that's the reason they were such powerful pieces.

My second disappointed was the lack of the ministry aspect. It's a Christian dance company, but I feel it's lost some of that. There was next to no mention of God or the ministry mandate during the whole evening, which saddened me a bit. It's actually one of the reasons I eventually left the company myself...

But all around, I greatly enjoyed the evening. I just had to get those two points off my chest, and if I also expand on the parts with which I was impressed, I fear nobody would read this. The lack of comments on my long Bonhoeffer post are evidence that this would be the case.

Anyhow, my sister and I got home that evening to have my mom tell us that she had just called 911. A gang a teenagers beat up a teen from another group and left him in the street. The police came and dealt with him and his friends (he was ok, and they went home in taxis). Then the other gang came back. We watched through the window as they shouted, broke glass beer bottles on the road and sidewalk, and randomly climbed in and out of their SUV. I was angry enough to want to call the cops again, but they weren't technically doing much. Eventually about ten or so of them squished into the vehicle and they left (driving drunk?)

It's so weird. We live in the suburbs. I've never seen anything like that in our neighbourhood before. It's too new and nice. Yet they were pretty much in our front yard. I hope this doesn't become more common.

But to close, my dance teachers taught me a lot over the years, and so I pass some of that advice on to you:

"Carla, if you want to meet guys, don't sit around on Friday nights knitting with your girlfriends, drinking margaritas, and watching Johnny Depp movies." Miss Sally and Amy

"Carla, you need to feel it from your SCAPULA!" Krista

1 comment:

art said...

I enjoyed going to the dance shows - especially when my kids were in them. When it came to emotion, I suppose the question I always asked myself was, "what texture do I feel?" I was always aware of the symbolic actions of every dance move as it applied to human social culture. Then I would apply it using organic algorithms to get the full affect. With regard to the ministry focus, I suppose that is an expectation thing. If they do not "sell" it as a ministry, then they are probably okay not promoting it as a ministry.