All This Dance

Arabesque Graceful silhouettes, jumps, pirouettes, endless rehearsals, precision, tenacity, discipline, harmony between body, movement and music to attain the purity given off during that glissade in which "glided the white ballerinas" in Bacovia's poem or in a painting by Degas or in "Swan Lake" – this is the alternative – shortened, canonized, schematized, but firmly anchored onto the average public's traditional expectations – that ballet offers. Beyond all this there persists an uncontested feeling of poetry, owing to that "écriture corporelle" mentioned by Mallarmé, by means of which the poem's suggestive power is translated into dance movements, the ballerina being thus "not a woman dancing but a metaphor". Movement becomes synonymous to the words written on a blank page, a search for pure form, living expression of the ineffable, while dance becomes "un poème dégagé de tout appareil du scribe", who had renounced "the initiative of words". Fouetté Still, not without slipping into academic formalism, as an alternative to which Isadora Duncan, for instance, had suggested the body's freedom of expression, with the emphasis falling this time on the dancer's individuality, on their creativity. It is also a first form of modernism in dance, completed by avant-garde troupes through the incorporation of extremely banal everyday actions or through dilution to the point of achieving what Greenberg postulated as the pictorial "plainness" of Mallarmé's "harmonious compromise". Traditional elements (the alternations pause / movement, revelation / concealment, or the deletion of any narrative nucleus open to interpretation) are thus dismissed in favor of unbroken movement that does not melt into music but exists concurrently with it.  Pas de deux A discrete form of parody emerges already whose etymology, as recorded by Genette in Palimpsestes, is the Greek "ôdé, " and "para, , ". It is, at the same time, a first step towards accepting the cohabitation of different styles, to be found with the other arts too, from poetry and/or, especially, prose to music, theatre, cinema. "I said yes to theatricality, yes to costumes, yes to virtuosity, yes to grandiose production of some operas, yes to anything that I have ever considered saying yes to," Jim Self stated, anticipating Marjorie Perloff's observation on postmodern genres characterized by "closeness to other genres, at once high and popular, by their desire to create "both/and" rather than "either/or" situations". A juxtaposition of various genres, which dance could not possibly have avoided; one example in point would be Maurice Béjart's staging of P. I. Tschaikovsky's "Nutcracker", whose incipit frustrates usual expectations by the creative recovery of memory: Béjart's face fills the screen while he utters unmistakably Je me souviens, short-circuiting the progress of the show with interventions whose value is that of a mise en abîme of the show as a whole. Or, furthermore, the revalorization of a musical score by Stravinsky, eclipsed perhaps by the fulminating success of "Rites of Spring" and of the celebrated "Ballets russes" run by Diaghilev – we are referring here to "Petrushka" as it was staged by Farid Berki and the "Melting Spot" company, one of the most representative hip-hop troupes in France. A canonized creation includes elements thought of as marginal, granting them civitas rights in a world where everything is possible and allowing a parodic renewal, whose advantage is that it eliminates the schematization and stiffness threatening works of art. This mixture, born from peripheral, popular elements migrating towards the élite-dominated center, is the expression of the relativity of landmarks, which have become multiple and divergent. "Writing dance" has achieved the features of any other scriptural activity in which the transgression of genres, their recycling and interference responds to the blend of styles and traditions, in short to late 20th and early 21st century multiculturalism.

by Simona Brânzaru