Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Memories of dance

So this link was on the DanceUK facebook a while back of Zenaida Yanowsky (principal with Royal Ballet) doing choreography by her dad, Anatole, when she was 18. I saw her do this solo at the 1994 International Ballet Competition in the "contemporary" category (she won gold). It was part of a duet actually, with her brother Yury (who won silver and is now with Boston Ballet). The amazing thing is that I remember it, 16 years later, despite having watched and learned so much other choreography during the IBC for 2 weeks straight. And really I remember specifically one movement, the opening of her arms at the end of the repeated phrase that begins the solo. That movement stuck in my memory because it was so simple, slow and measured, but beautiful and totally striking. I was a teenager (and generally hormones had me more impressed with Yury, haha) and also impressed with the pyrotechnics of ballet at that level ("did you see how many pirouettes?!") and I was shocked by the power of this one moment of one piece. It showed me how important stillness and focus could be. It makes me think about how much movement I've seen in my lifetime (just from an audience point of view even) and I ponder just what makes some of it stick in my memory. Probably it was exactly because it was in the midst of all the ballet pyrotechnics that it was striking in contrast. If I had seen this at any other time it might not have had an impact. Always funny how different each viewer's experience of a dance can be. And as a performer, you never know what is going to affect each audience member as they're experiencing the piece, but sometimes I think you do have a feel for when something resonates with you as you perform it, that that movement/moment has a higher probability of impacting the audience. But I could be wrong about this. Maybe a throw away movement you never paid much attention to could spark someone else's imagination.
Anyone else have performance experiences that particularly impressed them as an audience member?

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