Tag Archives: Gia Kourlas

Don’t tell a dancer to audition for SYTYCD…it’s a little offensive

I’ve been thinking about this article by Gia Kourlas for over a week.  There is a lot here for dancers and performers to draw from. I just suggest you read it for yourself.

Time to Put Choreography Back on Its Feet; By GIA KOURLAS; Published: September 2, 2010

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/05/arts/dance/05label.html#

What I appreciated most about this article is it made me rethink the definition of choreography. And when I go home I’m going to revisit my old dance composition books and binders from school.

I’ve been thinking about the strange interactions I have when describing the dances I’ve worked on.When asked what type or kind of dance I “do”?  I usually get really nervous because I can’t answer that. I mean- I usually just frolic around, crawl around and play with props. Nevertheless, after I define myself as dancer I wince when someone suggests I should try out for So You Think You Can Dance? And then I give the side eye.

And while I use to fantasize about Alvin Ailey dancers, I now cringe when I am told that I should look into dancing with them. This is not to say that SYTYCD is at all comparable to AAADT. Let’s be honest, that Fox network show is quite dreadful. But unfortunately, to most of America any dance form that is not ballet is defined but what you see on SYTYCD. And the most natural or only recognizable institution for a black dancer (such as myself) is AAADT.

I would have to be 4 years younger and I’d have to do some serious training to even consider auditioning for the AAADT. Fortunate for me, I have no interest in doing that.  More importantly those scenarios are proof of the limited vocabulary we have for movement forms. Recently I made a bold move. An acquaintance  asked me, what do you do? I told him I’m a movement instructor.  And then he gave me a really weird look.  So that was pretty pointless.

I mean, I know being able to communicate through language is based un accepted and recognized meanings that are referenced by symbols as words. But I’m very frustrated by the limited understanding of movement exploration or the overflowing meaning of dance. While dance’s definition becomes more and more shapeless, Kourlas concludes the article saying, it [choreography] moves beyond dance and performance to represent the most expansive way to think. It’s time to reclaim the word before someone else gets a hold of it. It stands for too much. So let me go work of the two pieces I’ve committed to and I’ll figure out what choreography is for me.

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