Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Genius of Mallarmé, Debussy, & Nijinsky Recreated by Tina Curran

Debussy's Prélude à l’aprés-midi d’un faune, inspired by Stéphane Mallarmé's poem has become one of the most celebrated dance masterpieces when in 1912 Nijinsky broke from the vocabulary and tradition of ballet to virtually establish a new language for dance. This fusion of the work of a great poet, a renowned composer, and charismatic choreographer and dancer, synthesizes the art forms into a single entity creating a masterwork that transcends time. Until recently it has been difficult to understand Nijinky's achievement since dance has been an ephemeral art depending upon memory to reconstruct works that often emerge as wholly new interpretations.

However, through careful study and research of dance scholars Ann Hutchinson Guest and Claudia Jeschke, Nijinsky's notes have been captured in Labanotation, and for the past few months Tina Curran has been meticulously using this score in recreating this masterpiece with dancers from Princeton's Department of Dance. It has become a labor of love for Tina and her dancers, and in a recent showing of the work in progress, it was clear that all artists involved felt an ownership in the destiny and evolution of this performance. In faithfully translating Nijinsky's work they are bringing forth a remote historical event as a vital artistic presence.

The lyrical flow of Nijinsky's new language must have astonished the audiences of the early twentieth century, and his perception to let the virtuosity of climactic moments emerge from the inner intensity of the dancers gives us a glimpse into the sensitive awareness and understanding of his genius.

The dancers for this Princeton end-of-year showing were Meilinda Huang, BethAnn Ingrassia, Natasha Kalimada, Jeremy Olsen, Jillian Olsen, Julie Rubinger, Jennie Scholick, Elizabeth Schwall, and Mariah Steele. The full performance is slated for the McCarter Theatre Center in February.


4 comments:

Jungmin said...

we have similar issue,, how to preseve and recreate the traditional dance masterpieces? what labanotation does for that is not familiar in Korea, and although some scholars use the method of labanotation. I am questioning using it to Koraen dance since when I learned in in college.... in some way it is very scientific and knowlegeble whereas it is too calculative and fouced on western sense of observation... (in terms of eastern philosophy, we see the movement not as the combination of devined unities but as the flow of unstopped energy.) Above all is just my instant thought and ieas...*^^*

Jugnmin said...

we have similar issue,, how to preseve and recreate the traditional dance masterpieces? what labanotation does for that is not familiar in Korea, and although some scholars use the method of labanotation. I am questioning using it to Koraen dance since when I learned in in college.... in some way it is very scientific and knowlegeble whereas it is too calculative and fouced on western sense of observation... (in terms of eastern philosophy, we see the movement not as the combination of devined unities but as the flow of unstopped energy.) Above all is just my instant thought and ieas...*^^*

Tina said...

Jungmin,

Your comment about Korean perception of movement as observation of the flow of energy caught my interest and makes me wonder if a combination of Labanotation and Laban Movement Analysis effort aspects (including flow) could be used in a way to both observe, analyze, discuss and document Korean dance. Do you know any Certified Movement Analysts in Korea who have thoughts about how LMA relates or illuminates Korean dance form the framework?

Jung min said...

Hello, Tina.
Thanks to John, he kindly informed me about your comment.
First of all, I'm gald to hear your response. As a Korean Dancer and Graduate student, I'm always interested in defining Korean dance movement. Moreover, my graduation dissertaion is about "Iconological Study of Koguryo Mural Paintings, focused on Symbolic meaning and Nature of Korean Dance", so the ways of analyzing and interpreting dance and movement have been captured my interest.
I know some scholars who studied LMA, and they already wrote several papers about analyzing Korean traditional dance piece by the LMA. But I'm not sure whether they got Certification of LMA, I can ask it if you want me to,,