Much of Sunday was spent watching dance and thinking about relationships between music and movement. The day started when I opened an email from a friend that had this quote:
"An ecstatic moment in music is worth the lifetime of mastery that goes into it, because it can be shared."
Then I saw Urban Artistry perform their "silent" piece, and in the evening I went to the movies to see the story of Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky.
The afternoon performance took place outdoors at Meridian Hill Park (aka Malcolm X Park) and advertisements for the free event came with BLUEBRAIN's score available for download. About 100 people were there at 2pm. We received instructions to push play on our personal listening devices at the cue. (Initially it was announced “Get Ready to push play on your iPhone” to which one audience person responded “Droid!”) The dancers were full of energy – popping and locking, grooving and b-boying. Since I like John Cage’s view of the world’s music, I do not own any device for listening with earphones and prefer to hear the sounds that surround us. As earphone people around me bopped and danced to the music, I wondered if the dancers (who were also wearing earphones) could hear the audience when they whooped and hollered or broke into applause for a particularly virtuosic solo... I enjoyed it all but it made me think of how isolating personal devices can be and how much more chance there is for interaction when we share the same sounds. It was sponsored by Pink Line Project, Honest Tea, Ear Peace, and Rogue Squirrel.
“Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky” is a glimpse of the passionate affair between two 20th century greats. Chanel (the stunning Anna Mouglalis) gives new meaning to the phrase fiercely independent. Stravinsky, played by Mads Mikkelsen, seems to be tormented by his desire for her and his music, and at the same time holds onto his male chauvinistic views. It is a gorgeous film: the actors are stellar, the slice of history that it highlights is fascinating and fertile – changing the course of music and fashion in the decades to come. All the adjectives I use to describe Stravinsky when I teach Dance History: ground-breaking, revolutionary – are just as apt to describe Chanel’s designs and scents. Even the opening montage of images that appear to melt and intersect are mind-bending. I highly recommend this movie, especially if you love to think about intersections of dance and music - onstage and off - as much as I do.