Friday, November 30, 2012

Isadora and jooking

I went to Duncan class excited, I
couldn’t wait to learn how to dance like floating fairies or hell bent furies.

It looked simple.
Still how can you make that open legged gallop light as Botticelli’s “Primavera” and strong enough to travel across the stage?  I found myself inside a position and let it go from me. I looked in the mirror and wondered was that me? maybe not, maybe so. I chose not to know. Dancing the Narcissus for me was about feeling and not feeling: knowing your body hard and fast, and then yielding to a moment of flight.

It surprised me how it felt remembered and fresh, alive but ancient. The movement Isadora found and brought to us wasn’t just hers alone. It came from her body, but its source was beyond her. In her book, The Art of the Dance she said she wanted “ bring to life again the ancient ideal, not to copy it, but to breathe its’ life, to recreate it in one’s self with personal inspiration, to start from its beauty, and then go toward the future dance.”
Isadora Duncan, The Art of the Dance p. 96

That’s what makes it beautiful in a way that is so simple it takes you by surprise as you think about again later. When you dance it seems simple and then something happens, a trigger goes off and you feel that you are inside a much larger place. Lois would say Isadora opened up a window. It’s still open, we continue to dance in and out of it.

Alistair Maculay, the dance critic of the NYT, wrote an article a few weeks ago describing how when he saw Lil Buck jooking he remembered a line of Isadora “I have seen America dancing.He felt his notions of beauty art and society were extended when he saw these young LA dancers in rehearsal.

I thought it would be interesting to place clips of these two artists side by side. Examine their innovations, the dance they embody.

The clip of Isadora is the only extant verifiable moving film. It is very short so you have to watch it many times. But look at the utter abandon, the pure lift of the solar plexus and the heart. She yields her body to a great force that runs easy and free through her body. Her dancing body was like a tuning instrument channeling a clear and powerful grace.

In the Lil Buck video I see his desire to embody a form to his own method. Look at the turns with the leg crooked but extended, his feet on a forced point that sides over the side of ankle. His dying swan takes power form the ground and lifts from there and gets almost airborne,  especially toward the end where he see saws and spins into the horizontal mid-plane.

As YoYo Ma plays the music’s sorrow and desire for freedom, watch how it ripples though Lil Buck’s body, elegant and fluid like breath coursing into all the necessary places. Like Isadora I see a body making a dance that is natural to itself and yet in giving over completely to the melding of style and emotion becomes more than that.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Dancing Duncan: Notes on Isadora Duncan article--Coming soon

I had the great good fortune to study Duncan Dance with Lois Ann Flood, a fantastic local Duncan performer and teacher. I am working with Lois on a article on her work and Isadora. In the meantime, here is a tasty video of Anna Duncan, one of Isadora's adopted daughters dancing at Jacobs Pillow. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Intrepid Exerciser and Pelo

The Intrepid Exerciser on Pelo Cycling, 

We don’t have Soul Cycle –we have Pelo. It’s a new Spinning studio near Trader Joe’s at Montecito plaza. 
It’s got state of the art bicycles and instructors all lined up to offer you one of your best workouts ever.  If you ride the roads you’ll see your fitness improve, and if you don’t you’ll feel like, well, maybe you just might …

In a previous life the Intrepid Exerciser (IE) rode “with” the BBC –the Berkeley Bicycle Club. Simply by virtue of drafting and hopping on the back wheel I got to experience just a little bit of the thrill of a pace line, slicing thru the air so fast the sunlight and the shadows blended into the pavement gliding by. So when Living Social offered five classes for $30.00 (IE’s sweet spot $$) she jumped... ready to draft for dear life.

So first thing these bikes are special:  listen to what Alan, the owner, has to say:” ..Pelo bikes are all fitted with sensors to measure the actual power that each rider is generating. It’s a baseline of your fitness and it will regulate how your bike is set up for you.” 

What does he mean? Well Alan does a little look up of you, you tell him how often you exercise, and what types of exercise you actually do (do people really know what “dancing” means? Oh well) Then he goes behind his desk, Wizard of Oz-like, and assigns you a power number. this number is what your bike will be set to each time you come in. 

Well for my first class, Alan was a little too optimistic--or sadistic?? I just about killed myself keeping up: drenched and noodley, but exhilarated.  Meagan took pity on me and put me down a few notches so I could keep up.

Here’s a snapshot of Alan in class:
"Ok everybody, pedal with the beat and adjust your resistance till you're in zone 3. Let your shoulders soften, core strong, toes spread and feet making circles.”  When you do get out of the saddle for an attack, which is a relief after all that sitting, don’t bounce around, stay low and let your butt graze the seat, keeping your core even tighter, hello abs!!

Back to our Alan demo: “ Bikers get 90 RPM, add two gears, ok up for an interval: 105 for two minutes –or 110 for 30 seconds.” The music is Mc Yogi  "Take off two gears and go down to 90. Be in zone 4 or 5 bikers..”

Right about now, dripping and shaky, Alan reminds us, “This is fun, you don’t have to worry about cars or other riders. Concentrate on your form and how hard you’re working.”

Ah yes, this is the all-important- Pelo-point.  All these dials, and the power number system are in place to let the IE gauge just how hard she is working. Now the dancer in me at first rebelled against these “regulators” and especially the three flat panel screen that projects my dial—my workout--- across three sides of the studio.  A dancer is supposed to know how hard she is working: it’s her instrument, and she has to be totally in control of it, handing it over only to a teacher or a choreographer but that’s it. Not to a bunch of dials, one of which is put up on a huge screen for everyone to see!!

However those dials and their readings and their public display all contribute to getting you to work harder and for an hour, that’s a good thing. 

The intrepid exerciser heartily recommends a sprint at Pelo. Jump on the back, who knows you may fly off the front and no one will be able to catch you—Besides, the Tour is up for grabs…

Sunday, November 4, 2012

beauty on the beat

Went this saturday to a facial with Tata Harper,  

   at SpaceNK
 the new luxo-beauty store in the marin mart--

All of Tata's products --Face  this is just one are designed to be a "cocktail of super effective ingredients--not just one" I have to say it is true..

     I especially like the Enzyme Mask

 Me after facial--Noo makeup--Ok so I could have used a hair brush

 Of course I couldn't resist checking their makeup. Wow, the hourglass products are very unique.  Its a cream in the compact--goes on like one and then after you rub and buff,  it changes into a powder--super natural and easy to apply and lasts all day long!! even went for a run and put on sunscreen over it--still looked great!!

I can't wait to get back to Marin mart-- look for new shops coming soon!