Sunday, July 18, 2010

Aerial Dance

It's amazing to me what happens when I stop paying attention. Sometimes, I'm not the only one imagining what's possible and even better is when someone actually does something about it.

One thing that I haven't taken enough time to explore is Dance. The problem is that there aren't many forms of dance that really speak to me, but there are some huge exceptions. Contact Improvisation for one (which I first saw at 848 Divisadero now called CounterPULSE) - there is nothing as beautiful as dancers working off each others bodies to create something more that each one could do. other things I love are ones that get the dancers completely off the ground such as Cirque du Soleil (their most recent show Ovo's final is incredible and has people bouncing from the ground and up on to the wall. Details here.) and Streb.

Also as I write the above I realize that I'm forgetting some really influential dancers in SF that were loosely associated with 848 but have moved on. Keith Hennessey (now Circo Zero) and Jess Curtis come first to mind, but there is also Scott Wells and Kathleen Hermesdorf, and many others.

I think it was Streb that had the dancers on the wall and this completely stirred my imagination and I was coming up with all sorts of dance/aerial stuff that I'd like to create. But that's where I left it. 848 was hard for me to get to on a Tues afternoon, and Streb is in freakin' Brooklyn, plus quite honestly I find the dance world pretty intimidating since I haven't been doing it since I was 6 years old. Every so often I take a class and I get a little frustrated. The 848 one I took was an exception, but still haven't gotten a good enough vision on how to make that work.

But it keeps ghosting at my imagination. SF Circus Center has started classes, and I just heard about a Berkeley dance group called Studio 12 Flys, and my imagination has totally woken back up all of those on-the-wall dance creations that I totally want to create - I have visions of dancers running on the walls. Recreating the regular world rotated by 90 degrees.

Even when I'm being lowered at the rock gym or rappelling which I just learned, I totally want to turn and start bouncing and rolling or turning upside down (which is probably not that safe).

But how to start? It's not like you can roll in and say you want to be a choreographer. I think it's with some of the basic classes and hope I don't get hurt or discouraged - I prefer the one's where you can wear a harness and don't have to be super strong. Check out the arms of those performers you see doing "Ribbon Work." Studio 12 Flys has an intro class here. SF Circus Center has there classes here.

Something about dance in particular makes me want to Do It. I'm terrible at just watching (always have been - even when at a bar with a dance floor). When I see a dance I'm trying to remember the details and I never succeed as that part of my brain that can be shown something once and they get it just hasn't gotten enough practice. Even at gym classes I struggle with remembering patterns. But! Now there is You Tube and I can play and replay videos all I like. I'm suddenly a whole lot happier.

And I also wonder what it is I really want to learn. I know all about harnesses. Don't know much about dancing in one. Then I think well maybe I want to know more about trampolines which aren't just for kids anymore and other things like trapezes (or maybe not). And of course the tricky thing is that I want to learn all of this stuff without getting hurt as while I love (reasonable) risk taking in order to learn a skill, I do take longer to heal now, and have to consider more carefully my activities and vulnerability to injury.

And what do I want to see or explore? Is it more dance or acrobatics which is starting to merge ever since Cirque has been with us. (How cool is that? I have seen every Cirque that has come to town since Allegria.) I looked at the videos of Studio 12 Flys and they are more of the meditative style rather than the acrobatic one that Cirque, 848 and Scott Wells favor. I must admit to prefering the later but it is probably where I'm at right now.

And on a slightly tangential note it is interesting how acrobatics has worked it's way into all sorts of things. It's always been in skateboarding, ski stunt jumping, sky diving, airplane acrobatics, and even frisbee dog, but now can be seen in snowboarding, windsurfing, regular surfing (some), bmx, motocross tricks, base jumping (because it's not dangerous enough?). Haven't seen it much in rock climbing, but give them time they're certainly talented enough for it.

It may be hard for me to sleep tonight.

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