By Troy Ogilvie
I consider myself to be a pretty conscientious person when it comes to my health. Combined with a generally robust immune system and a sturdy skeleto muscular structuonre, I’ve steered clear of most major health issues. However, what happens when something is wrong and only other artists know what you’re talking about? It seems that when I go to a western doctor with symptoms that are affecting my onstage performance or a monthly discomfort, the answer usually comes in a broad and blunt stroke – “stop performing” or “take the pill” for example. Keep in mind that this is an individual experience and cannot be used as a general comment on ALL western medicine. However, whenever I meet with a trusted healer I leave with a new understanding of my mind-body and a sense of where to continue the exploration. Two people that have truly guided me in healing and health are choreographer and healer Howard Katz (based in Germany but visits NYC often) and acupuncturist Mona Chopra (peopletreewellness.com). Check them out! All of the Gallim dancers have their own favorite acupuncturist or gyrotonics instructor (hey Francesca Romo!!!), so I wanted to share some of my favorites as well. Enjoy!
By Caroline Fermin
OK, let’s start with an image: me in my living room, staring at my computer/the orange curtains by the window, the light growing brighter, the day wearing on. Now another image: me in my living room, staring at my computer/the orange curtains by the window, the light fading away, night coming fast. And I ask myself, “Where has the day gone?” You see me now a little disturbed–I have let time pass so quickly and unmarked. More with alarm than inspiration, I leap to my feet and try to get many things done at once, the quicker the better. Making up for lost time they say.
Yes, but where has my time gone? And more vexing, why did it feel so sad to lose it?
I’m not sure why it happened, but I’ve been aware of time passing from an early age. The first awareness I can remember happened in a series of weird little episodes when I was three or four. I would be doing normal things out with my family, and suddenly I was able to literally sense time with my fingertips. I experienced it as either very thick and dense or very thin and brittle. It would last for a few moments and then I’d snap out of it. Time would bounce back to normal, but I would ruminate on the sensation. Later, at the ripe old age of eight, I had another very specific episode. I was laying in bed, thinking about my earlier years, and how easy life had been… The naps at school, the play dates, the parental hugs whenever I wanted. Then I began to take stock of my current situation–math homework, bullies in the cafeteria, and grueling ballet class twice a week! I started to realize that I was older and math wasn’t going to get any easier. In fact, school, friends, dance, and the whole of life was just going to get harder and harder. As it often happens when one realizes a major truth, I began to cry. Luckily my mother came in and with gentle words got me back to sleep. But in the morning the truth had fully sunk in, and I began my obsession with time.
For a while my objective was trying to fit a lot of things into a tiny amount of time. I would write Official Schedules for myself in purple marker on my wall, wake up and try to get everything in. You know, everything. Like writing chapter books, recording a radio show, playing with friends, and walking the dog. Large portions of the schedule would be lopped off when earlier activities bled beyond their allotted time. New activities would get added to the bottom to make up for aforementioned failures. My Official Schedules began to get horribly backed up and I began to get more and more frustrated. The short five hours between school and bed were just not enough. So I decided to wrangle time in another way. Enter: editing. Now I was going to do less but make it really good. So see you later Girl Scouts, and ta-ta to that little kiddie dance studio. I started honing in on what really mattered. I began taking lots of classes to get really good at ballet. I started studying a bit harder to get really good grades at school. I stayed up later to make really good art projects. Things were going really good for some time until one frightening day I made an D on my homework, lost the good dance role to my friend Lindsey, and didn’t get my artwork chosen for display. ARGH! All that culling and pruning and I was still missing something. Using my time wisely had done nothing for me this time. With a growing distrust in the rules of time management and nowhere left to go, I sort of gave up. Little by little I began to relinquish myself. I got in trouble for being tardy. I missed the bell for homeroom because I stopped for coffee. I forgot my homework because I stayed up all night reading mystery books. It became clear that time was passing on without me, whether I accomplished my ambitions or simply laid low. So I eased my grip on life, and life rewarded me with more time. “Don’t use so much and then there is plenty left over!” it seemed to say.
So what big truth did I learn? “Don’t waste your time?” Or “Slow down and smell the roses?” Which is it?
You know, It’s hard to say. Somehow, as I get older and lose more of my allocated time, I also gain a bit more balance. Sometimes I rush to accomplish lots, and sometimes I’m happy to rest in stillness. It is as if the more I encounter time, the more I learn how to handle the darned stuff. Aha! There it is! A big truth! Which brings me back, with a thud, to my present: the computer, the night, the long hours spent here in this chair. I am more dexterous, yes! I am more balanced, yes! But still there’s that sadness. But it’s a good sadness. It’s sobering and healthy, and it reminds me that that I cannot outfox time. And why try to, anyway? It seems to me that the longer I exist, the more I want time as a friend.
By Francesca Romo
Much to my delight, I recently discovered Maurizio Cattelan, an Italian artist. Cattelan is known for his satirical work La Nona Ora (The Ninth Hour), where he depicts the Pope John Paul II struck down by a meteorite. During his career, Cattelan has earned a reputation as a prankster, provocateur and the art world’s class clown. In my estimation, he has created some of the most unforgettable images in recent contemporary art. All, Cattelan’s retrospective, opened recently at the Guggenheim and shows through January 22nd, 2012. All includes the majority of the artist’s work, with each piece suspended by cables and truss from the Guggenheim’s atrium ceiling. This array of sculptures, framed photos, paintings, sleeping dogs, stuffed horses, one dead squirrel and numerous self-portriats make for an exhibit you won’t want to miss!
Maurizio Cattelan: All will be at the Guggenheim until Jan 22nd.
By Jessica Atkinson
This past month with the company has been a dream come true. I never thought that I would be in New York with the members of Gallim and I am greatful for every moment with them. I enjoy waking up and heading to the studio where every day I am inspired. This week we have spent a lot of time preparing Blush for the tour to Boston next week. At the moment there is nothing I love more than watching the company perform Blush. I love how it is always developing and how each time I see it, it is a completely different experience. I can’t wait to see what happens next!
Since arriving in New York a month ago from my home town of Vancouver, there are a few differences I’ve noticed. First of all, where are the Smarties? No, not those powdery sugar things we call Rockets, but the milk chocolate version of M&Ms! I can’t believe they don’t exist here. And while on the topic of food, ketchup chips are a rarity? Seriously? However, it is possible to find orange Fanta here- which is a plus. I have now officially been to Target. It was really nothing special in my opinion, but so many people talk about it that I felt I had to take a look. I discovered just how much of a Canadian accent I have (never knew I say “out” differently). I can’t wait until Thanksgiving, it is strange having to wait an extra month for some turkey, but I think I can make it! Also I hear there is a parade? It seems there is a parade here for everything! We generally only have them for Canada Day and maybe Christmas. One major issue I have here though is converting Fahrenheit to Celsius. I don’t think I will ever understand. New York is a great city and I can’t wait to explore and learn more about it. There is so much to do and so much I have yet to see. I love New York, I love my street, I love Gallim.
By Troy Ogilvie
There has been a heated discussion sparked by Beyonce’s latest video Countdown. The controversy is centered around Beyonce’s use of choreography also seen in Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s Rosas danst Rosas and other works. The most striking sequence happens near the end of Beyonce’s video. As several articles have pointed out, this is not the first time that Beyonce Knowles has appropriated specific dance languages to her music videos:
“…Most fans will be able to pick up on the visual allusions to icons Audrey Hepburn, Diana Ross and Whitney Houston, but few would have noticed the shocking similarities between dance sequences in “Countdown” and the work of Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker were it not for the good old Internet.
This isn’t the first time Beyonce’s been accused of plagiarizing concepts: Earlier this year, eagle-eyed viewers noted that her Billboard Music Awards performance was strikingly similar to that of Italian pop star Lorella Cuccarini. It turned out that Knowles, inspired by Cuccarini’s performance, had met with people on the other singer’s creative team.” (source: Zimbio)
Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker says it best:
“…[O]n the one hand, I am glad that ‘Rosas danst Rosas’ can perhaps reach a mass audience, which such a dance performance could never achieve, despite its popularity in the dance world since [the] 1980s. And Beyoncé is not the worst copycat, she sings and dances very well, and she has a good taste! On the other hand, there are protocols and consequences to such actions, and I can’t imagine she and her team are not aware of it.” ( source: MTV)
Here’s an argument for Beyonce.
Luckily, De Keersmaeker is a brilliant woman who clearly states the situation without creating more drama than is necessary. The case seems pretty clear here, the nod to iconic modern dance is appreciated, but official acknowledgement is required. This situation also rears its head in our use of social media as creative inspiration. There are no rules in love, war, and creativity. Everything is available as source material and individual discernment is used to choose why and how elements are used. Elements are different than a whole package. When parts of an entire work is severed from the original, the work is taken out of context and the original creator is put in the awkward situation of past ownership of a now warped message. However, elements are constantly abstracted and built upon in order to create new work. The insult is incurred when the inspiration is haphazardly injected into a new context just because ‘it fits’ and not because the new owner exploded the original works’ potential.