Monday, January 07, 2008

Dancehunter Interview year 3

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What up?

What if more people are blogging than actually reading blogs. Soon we will all be on TV. Wait a minute, we already are.

Dissing YouTube?

No way, it's the my favorite research shortcut.

And dance?

There's no stopping dance, but people have tried.

And dance on TV?

Yes it's there and growing. Not all pretty. I wish they would put me in charge. And now that there's a writers strike dance on TV makes even more sense than ever.

What do you know about dance on TV?

I watched the June Taylor Dancers on The Lawrence Welk show with my grandmother. Taylor was an early dance-on-TV pioneer.

Favorite moment on So You Think You Can Dance?

Hasn't happened yet, but it goes like this, they pick a genre out of the hat and it reads “Judson Church.”

Snobbish thinking will keep you in the margins.

And that's where stuff happens.

Can celebrities save dance?

Who said dance wants to be saved? I wish celebrities would contribute money to dance. Why not surely they are running low on diseases. We need to quit asking that question. We live in a culture that is obsessed with its obsession with celebrities.

Recently seen?

Christina Ricci's tap dance in Buffalo '66 is a killer. The rest of the movie, not so much, and I'm from Buffalo.

Transformational moment?

Watching this ten-year old girl from Planet Funk Kids at Dance Houston. I finally got hip-hop after watching her. I had been resistant to the form before that moment. I spoke to her afterwards, she was fully aware of her power.

Another one?

The Halau dancers from HCC at Ring of Fire: Dancers from the Pacific Rim. It was like watching water.

Fringe interests?

Marching bands, drill teams, and other forms of Americana in motion.

Dance interests?

Dancing. Enough with choreography. Still in to Step although confess ignorance of the form. More dance forms new to me. Haven't met them yet but I' ready.

Interest interests?

How dance carries a sense of place.

What got you interested in that?

Meeting philosopher Ed Casey and reading his book, Getting Back into Place.

Do you think people understand dance better in a room?

Yes, I do. The wondrous thing is that sometimes a dance can carry a sense of place and there is no visible room. But I am fond of dances in rooms which is why ballet is so popular, especially story ballets.

Dance writing?

An awesome career for an heiress.

How best to keep dance writing chops up?

Remembering what I learned in art school.

Hope for growing dance audiences?

Somehow all the millions of youngsters taking dance classes end up in seats, maybe not tomorrow, but soon. (We are keeping your seats warm people.)

Can Facebook help dance?

Hey Facebookers, quit updating your page and posting pics of what you did last night and come out and see a show.

Best dance audience moment?

At Fall for Dance last September listening to my row mates talk about Grey's Anatomy and the dance piece they just saw. A regular buz-utopoia.

Most entertaining interview?

John Lithgow on Wheeldon's Carnival of the Animals.

Most hard to hear interview?

Wheeldon talking from a train.

Heady interview?

Bill T. Jones. Don't miss Chapel/Chapter in March.

Interview that millions of girls wish they got to do?

Neil Haskell from So You Think You Can Dance

Curious interview response?

Four young Israeli dancers yelling “no” in unison when asked if the political situation in Israel impacted their lives.

Big moment?

I once thought writing about dance was a relatively hard thing to do, that is, until I spent a week with a cellular biologist working with breast cancer and a neuro-scientist working with Autism. After listening to their struggles to get funding, dance writing seemed like a walk in the park.

Other writing?

Brain stuff, soma stuff, acupuncture, rolfing, and other adventures in alternative health.

Biggest Houston turnaround?

Frank Rose taking over Artshouston.

Other signs of hope?

The news (from the Americans for the Arts Study) that the arts in Houston is a $600 plus million industry.

Does press matter?

Yes and no. Yes, in that good reviews help artists get grants, audiences, and possibly more gigs. No, in that it's always the work itself that matters.


Ohad Naharin for now.


Waiting for Snow in Havana by Carlos Eire.

Medical TV shows?

A total bust this season. Dr. House has been too busy killing people to teach me much in the way of hard medicine. It's either Lupus or cancer, Come on folks. Can't you come up with some fresh diseases. Feeling poorly? The witch doctor is not in. May need to return to reading The Lancet. The Wire is the bomb.

Word that needs to be retired?


Ideal situation?

More people writing about all the arts and getting paid for doing it.

Hope for writing on the web?

Make it a real job.

Advice to artists?

There's no shame in selling yourself. Shows you want people to see your work. Remember it's the person's job at the other end of that follow-up call to listen to you.

Best theater around?

The 2008 election.

Obama or Clinton?

Obama AND Clinton.


It's all the rage.

Are things getting better or worse?

Always better but too slow to notice.

A reasonable truth?

That watching a TV show on your ipod will never come close to live performance.