On the arts // 1 May 2012

I’ve been thinking a bit about dance since watching the wonderful, deeply moving documentary, Life In Movement, about the too-short life of dancer and choreographer, Tanja Liedke.

As alien as professional dance is to me, movement and music are within us all – even those with two left feet – I am sure. Just watching Liedke’s bombastic moves in 2D is enough to make me want to slap my non-existent dance shoes on.

Here’s a small but brilliant extract from a recent interview of dance demi-god Mark Morris by Elizabeth Schwyzer of the Santa Barbara Independent. I love its honesty, its willingness to surrender any highfalutin preconceptions about dancing and art to something that is open, accessible, fluid, quotidian, essential to life: art surrounds you and can be found in every second of every minute, if only you know how and where to look…

In the face of massive federal debt, America’s health-care crisis, peak oil, and global injustice of all kinds, why does dance matter? ‘It doesn’t.’

Does it matter to you? ‘Yeah. Sure. It’s all I do, but it’s not very important, and I certainly wouldn’t force anyone to watch it. As a part of civilization and culture, it’s important, certainly. The society without culture is no society. A world without literature and music and thought and philosophy, without entertaining each other—that’s unspeakable. Art is what one does while one is on Earth before one dies. It’s so important that it doesn’t matter. And I’m talking about the arts, which is just a fancy way of talking about life. You can walk, and you can walk fancy, and that’s dancing.’

How do you drink your tea, take your shower, step onto the bus, speak to people? It’s all on the precipice of becoming art, afterall.

Pic of Glastonbury movers thanks to davidyeofashion.co.uk.

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