The first ballet I ever choreographed was entitled: “Blue Leaves.” I was 5. My neighbor, Jan, cut out hundred’s of blue leaves and we glittered each one carefully. Jan threw the leaves in the air as I magnificently executed each, well, for a lack of a better word – twirl. Our Living Room Theatre held our families under protest, as our audience.
I wish I had understood this quote then – or at least by now:
“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique.
And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost. The world will not have it.
It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable it is nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.
You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you.
Keep the channel open.
No artist is pleased.
There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”
~Martha Graham to Agnes de Mille
Check her out! This is Martha Graham.
She wanted significant movement. I think she got it.
Okay, so, my “Blue Leaves” ballet was neither beautiful nor fluid – but, it was fraught with inner meaning and there was lots of glitter. My brother laughed at it. Loudly. It was deeply humiliating. My tender, 5-year-old self threw the blue leaves in the air and punched him in the kneecaps.That was my significant movement. I didn’t create another ballet until I was in my forties (still with lots of glitter).
But, in the meantime, I danced other’s significant movement and their valuable ideas. How lucky is that? To have grown up and noticed the creative, intelligent human beings around me – and to have ignored my brother…eventually… I wonder if Martha and Agnes ever had anyone laugh at their ideas…of course they did. (It probably wasn’t their brother though.) These two women went on to change the world of dance and didn’t seem to care what anybody else thought. Admirable.
Reason to Dance #3: Surviving a brother’s laughter
I’m having the hardest time clicking “publish post” on this entry. I am not satisfied with it. There is just no satisfaction of any kind with any art. Even a blog.
Any Living Room Ballet stories??
Reason #4: in the works.
About Martha: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/episodes/martha-graham/about-the-dancer/497/
About Agnes: http://www.kennedy-center.org/explorer/artists/?entity_id=3719&source_type=a