2008/09/14

14 sep 2008

Haven't had much to write about lately. Think I'm riding a downswing in tango enthusiasm. For the most part, right now I feel that what keeps me active and in the loop is that I enjoy the community and just hanging out with all the people who now comprise my most familiar circle of friends. Practice is good, social dancing is good. One thing that's been missing is the drive toward progression. I just don't care all that much to get better or to learn new things or explore possibilities. This lethargy will most likely pass, as it always has, but I'm not really all that concerned whether it does or not. Maybe part of that is because I know I'm a pretty good dancer as I am--good enough, at least. And good enough is good enough for me (for now).

From time to time I wonder exactly what it is that drives me to get better or to learn more. The most simple answer to that is sheer curiosity. And maybe that's the only answer. Since I don't necessarily have the ambition to perform or teach, what other reason can there be? I think my present issue is that a good amount of what is possible is no longer a big mystery to me. Which is not to say I know how to do everything or that I know how everything works. But for much of the movements that are popularly performed I can generally parse the mechanisms at work, and so the magic--so to speak--is lost. Kind of like how knowing too much about special effects production takes the fun out of a movie.

This is also problematic when it comes to watching performances. I don't get very excited about watching performances anymore, and speaking with some colleagues I find there is a common consensus about the cooling of interest (YouTube definitely has had an effect regarding this). While my disinterest is certainly not true in all cases, I can say that stage tango or fantasia pretty much leaves me cold, perhaps because it seems to try too hard to wow me. So what do I like to see? I thought about it a bit and I think there are two main things that capture my attention, and if a performance has at least one of these qualities I can be enthralled. The first is quality of movement/attention to detail. I much prefer watching a couple who dances simply and pristinely over a couple who dances with great complexity but with rough edges. I think it's because real elegance and refinement is more of a rarity these days than arsenals of acrobatics. (Of course, some dancers are gifted with both).

The second is harder to define, but let me put it this way: if it seems that a couple's main priority is to project something externally, I lose interest. But if it seems that a couple's main priority is something meant primarily for each other and that the external projection comes about as a consequence of that, then it draws me in. I suppose as a viewer, I enjoy being a voyeur over being an spectator.

Anyway, these are some of the thoughts I've been mulling over.

1 comment:

Limerick Tango said...

I was watching Robert Hughes' Mona Lisa Curse recently. When he spoke of Damien Hirst and his ilk being involved in "a vapid process of picture production" I immediately thought of what you had been writing about performances leaving you cold.