Thursday, February 19, 2015

C'est intéressant w/c 16 Feb

Interesting, intriguing, exciting, amusing, enraging, fascinating things I recommend.

Opinion piece - Washington Post: Why I'm So Over Dancers As Athletes (Or Why Misty Copeland Is An Artist)
I must say I am guilty of that myself, being in such awe at the dedication, discipline and training regimen of ballet dancers. They commit hours upon hours to learn and refine their art, while I seem to just sit at my desk. But, as Sarah Kaufman reminded me, they are, above all, artists, and their impact on us comes from more than their physique.

"There is mystery to art and its effect on us. Neuroscientists would say my brain is rewarded by watching him, so I want to watch him over and over. But continue asking ‘why is that?’ and science has no answer. I sometimes feel that obsessive “replay” impulse when I’m watching Roger Federer dance on the tennis court, or when I’m revisiting clips of Greg Louganis’s poetry in motion as he leaves the diving board. Federer and Louganis and a select few other athletes transcend their sport; they are no longer simply demonstrating skill, aggressiveness and physical mechanics. They impress us with much more than musculature and power. They show us other qualities, qualities that have nothing to do with the game, such as fluid ease, rhythm, balance, harmony, grace. They are beyond athletes, just as Copeland and Polunin and other dancers are. They are artists."

Music - Rocio Jurado: Que No Daria
To my shame, I have stopped taking flamenco classes for over a year. Somehow, I decided to take a break for a few months, and then September arrived and I still didn't go back. I thought I would miss it, but actually all I think is 'where did I find the energy for it? Cycling to north London for class, then cycling 45mins back to east London at 9.30pm! I can't anymore'.
The Flamenco Festival at Sadler's Wells is making me want to start again. I went to the gala and it all flooded back: the tinge in the heart at a particular guitar chord, the need to clap on hearing a tangos rhythm, the rush at the end of a long section of footwork, the joy of feeling the music in my bones and trying my best. Maybe it's time to go back.
The female singer at the gala made me think of this song, which gives me shivers.

Report - Warwick Commission on the Future of Cultural Value
Reading this on my tube journeys this week. Some frightening figures to think about:
The wealthiest, better educated and lest ethnically diverse 8% of the population accounted for 28% of live attendance to the theatre, benefiting from £85 per head of Arts council England funding to theatre.
Between the years 2008/09 and 2013/14, the proportion of 5-1 year olds who engaged in dance activities dropped from 43.1% to 30.4%, in music activities gtom 55.3% to 37.2%, in theatre and drama 47.1% to 32.1%.

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