Monks and ballet: an unlikely (but fruitful) combination

Have you ever wondered what monks look like while dancing ballet? Well search no further, because the answer lies just below.

What a surprise it was to have this opportunity to choreograph a ballet on the monks of Plum Village.

I won’t say too much, because the video speaks for itself, but suffice it to say that I had an incredibly pleasant experience rehearsing with the monks during the meditation retreat. It helped me see a lot of what we do from a different perspective from the way we often approach work in the studio. These are things I want to take with me in the future, dancing or not.

A few insights from this experience: Continue reading “Monks and ballet: an unlikely (but fruitful) combination”

Return from Plum Village

Hi everyone!

Many of you may not be aware, but I’ve been off at a meditation retreat for the past three months.

I realize this is pretty unusual for us in the western world (though not in Asia), but I’m very happy to have done it. A meditation retreat at Plum Village was one of those things that fit in neatly with all of the reasons I detailed in my previous posts about leaving the world of professional dance.

This is going to be a kind of mid-year analysis with myself to see how things are going. Sorry, this post might be a bit self-indulgent… but I thought it might be an interesting exercise to revisit the four reasons I highlighted for leaving the dance world and to see where my life fits into those ideas five months later. Think of it as a reality check.

Continue reading “Return from Plum Village”

On dancing and the pursuit of perfection

Not too long ago, a friend aptly noticed that I often refer to our goal as dancers as “reaching as close as we can to perfection.” He wanted me to unpack that statement. What does that even mean? Are we talking about technical attainment? Power or finesse? Maybe something else?

As Steven put it, we’re transitional beings… we’re of this world, and whether we like it or not, perfection is not an option. Such a thing is an illusion.rainbow-background-1149610__180

But having a personal idea of perfection does present a way forward. It is the needle on our compass. What are we reaching for in ballet if not an ideal?

The fact that perfection is unreachable doesn’t mean that our work is meaningless. No, we’ll never reach that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but we will see many things on our journey. Continue reading “On dancing and the pursuit of perfection”

VIDEO: Souffle Provisoire

Last year I had the honor of working with a close friend and dance maker, Johanna Henritius, and several other good friends, to make a dance film. The concept of this 10-minute video came to her in a dream, and in it she manages to focus on the human elements of dance. This is dance, but with much less of a focus on technicality or acrobatics. This is about capturing true emotions, and not the artifice or bravura we often see.

Three of us in the film dance full-time with Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, so it was tough to fit in the time to film (much less rehearse!), but we made the time we could and attempted to produce something honest and touching.

As a first film project, I’m extremely proud of Johanna and what she achieved through this project, and I wanted to share it with any and all of you that haven’t experienced it yet.

Here’s the teaser:

 

If this intrigues you and you have 1o minutes to spare, check out the whole video at her website. I highly recommend it: http://henritius.com/film.html

You suck at dancing and it’s your own damn fault (part 2)

 

In the first part of this article, I tackled the false idea that many of us (whether dancers or non-dancers) often have, which is that “you suck at dancing”. If you missed it, find it here. If not, read on.

The second myth I want to take on in this article is this: it’s completely your choice to (and definitely your fault that you) dance the way you do.


This is perhaps the most prominent illusion in our world today, and all sorts of notions about self, willpower, and self-worth are wrapped up in it. Continue reading “You suck at dancing and it’s your own damn fault (part 2)”