The Dancing Years
By TIMOTHY GORDON
"But after the pupil is enabled to perform all the exercises which the lesson comprehends, he does not attain that end which he in the beginning hoped to reach. To become a finished dancer he must divest himself of that schoolboy appearance which necessarily hangs around him, and by his boldness and ease of execution at length show that he is master of his art. Let his whole attention be thus directed to delight his beholders, by the elegance of his positions, by the gracefulness of his movements, the expressive animation of his features, and by a pleasing Ďabandon` diffused throughout his whole performance. These qualities constitute a truly finished dancer, and with them, he is certain of enrapturing all who behold him."Carlo Blasis (1803-1878)
(1972 -1978) Sydney, Australia
We were sitting focused on the screen, all of us schoolboys. A figure in black appeared on the screen in front of us and moved with a panther-like precision in and around a large blank space. This being moved with total control and definition throughout his body. This dancerís movement language appeared to be from another world, with his seemingly formal dance vocabulary, defined yet free, sinking and rebounding in and out of spatial movements and harmonic and classic shapes and line. These shapes and line turned and jumped and soared. This astronaut of moving dance had unusually tactile footwork and that, combined with a look of effortlessness, seemed ancient and unworldly. The dancer spun and rolled through a series of intricate spatial phrases, pausing only at the end in a pose that never seemed to end.
Encountering this as a young person in his final stages of childhood was bewildering and for the first time somehow meant redefining what it was to be human and all its possibilities. This male dancer that I watched offered a boundless and somewhat undefined capability, somewhere between animal, human and angel. This is perhaps my first memory of seeing a male classical dancer dancing and it was on film, the art of capturing time. (Film is my preferred medium for watching dance, due to the intimacy that is exposed and the detail that is made visible). The context of this encounter is blurry. It may have been a school excursion, but my body reacted and charged itself, thrilled and overwhelmed by the possibilities ahead. That the human form and spirit could rise up to such expertise and intelligence moved me and ignited a fire of intent that stays with me to this very day.
These scribblings, sketches, anecdotes and reminiscences are perhaps for those who are on a parallel path or just for those persons who happen upon its contents.
to be continued...
Copyright Timothy M. Gordon,
July 10, 2016