I really appreciated your “Break Your Bad Habits: The Head & Neck” column in January’s “Teach-Learn Connection” section. As a modern dancer, I frequently hear corrections given for the head and neck but worry about whether they are sound. Your column helped me work on my habit of holding tension in my neck and throwing the weight of my head around. Although I luckily have not had any neck injuries, the column’s advice helped me relax my neck and strengthen my core to keep myself injury-free.
Movement Research Memories
David Zambrano’s show was on my list of must-see New York experiences and I did not make it, so I was grateful for Wendy Perron’s blog about it—that vicarious access, that sip of him to taste. When I conjure David moving, I see him in a dance studio full of Movement Research students from the 1980s, speaking movement through an expansive vocabulary of breathing.
Editor’s note: Haven’t checked out Wendy’s blog yet? Read it at www.dancemagazine.com/blogs/wendy. And see “Reviews” (p. 62) in this issue for coverage of the performance.
Persistence Is Key
I thought casting director Nikole Vallins’ analogy relating dancers to law and medical students was dead on! (“What Is A Chorus Line Looking For?” Feb.) I have seen several of my friends and family members struggling in this profession because they do not focus on the work that will advance them. Just as law and medical students constantly study, we dancers should be in the studio constantly perfecting our technique. It is frustrating to know that it could take a dancer 20-plus auditions to maybe make it through the first cut—although, if dancing is a person’s true passion, they will persist. Knowing that producers, directors, and choreographers are determined to hire is comforting when you live this unstable and unpredictable life.
The (Balanchine) Debate Rages On
In response to your lively and laudably wide-ranging interchange on the influence of Balanchine today (“Are We Overdosing on Balanchine?” Jan.):
After our common pro forma genuflection before Balanchine (which being pro forma makes it no less sincere), it seems self-evident that a like-minded group of former dancers, administrators, foundation executives, and critics has stifled alternatives to Balanchine in the name of a sometimes pedantic, even hysterical fidelity to their own youthful memories. There’s a lot of meretricious new choreography, but America has missed out on too much innovative ballet and modern dance. You don’t have to be a latter-day Balanchine loyalist to be close-minded (see Peter Boal as a sterling counter-example). But it sometimes seems to help.
I liked the Balanchine argument (which I found via Twitter). I feel like we are doing so many other things at Stuttgart that I miss doing a lot of Balanchine! I can understand how the U.S. may need to take a little break to explore some other exciting stuff, but here I would love to have at least one juicy Balanchine per season.