Oct 302013

Dance appears to us in perfected memory as in a dream. The words of neighbors and lovers fade, and only their faces remain; the memory of a loving look, the addendum of a touch. How does dance have such a vivifying power–to remain when all else falls away? The body remembers its emotions; that which moves us emotionally makes us, literally, move. The result of all calculation, and every accident, every spasm or hapless spontaneous gesture, is action; in action, we are revealed. Poetry, as performance, is action; as speech it is famously full of falsity, foil and counterfoil. In some tribes, a poet’s testimony is not allowed in court–poets are considered such expert and persuasive liars. In our own day and age, car salesmen and lawyers (with congressmen running a close third) are our exemplars of dubious speech. But, in the art of dance, however many hours have been toiled away at practice, however ancient the template the ballet or kabuki dancer follows, there lies revealed the truth of the human body in motion, the athletic fact. And this is somehow akin to memory and dream; the power of those totems to remain real to us when all else fades.

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