An honored choreographer says yes you can

FIRST of all you have to have an idea. Then you have to transpose that idea. Not into a body but into movement. That doesn't mean the body as such. It's the action of a body. You have to reproduce the outer form but also what is behind it.

If you say a word, it could be blah-blah-blah-blah-blah. Hmmm. So you say, ''What does it mean?'' Nothing, right? Well there's an awful lot of blah-blah-blah going on.

When do you dance? When do you feel like doing that crazy hopping around, trying to do all these funny kinds of things? Getting off that earth.

Isn't there any motivation from within which wants to get out of your skin? Don't you feel that a cage sometimes wants to widen a little bit? No? Maybe you feel good in these little cages. I don't. Once you have tasted a little bit, you want to keep doing it. Because there are more promises, more discoveries, almost unknown quantities of that which we wouldn't ever trust that we could do. Yes you can. Tell yourself, I can! Then do something about it.

In our day today what I have to complain of is that dancers cannot keep time. They can't hold themselves to a given pulse. They don't even know what pulse is when one mentions the thing. OK. Eventually by driving it home with persistence we come to that which really is almost inevitable, because everything has rhythm. Everything has division of intensities, of more and less, of ebbs and flows, of ups and downs, of forth and back, and of hither and yon.

Even when we see a good piece of architecture, immediately we feel the architecture has rhythm. There is an element; it is not like music - it doesn't sound. It's quiet. It has a rhythmical element which is extremely interesting and extremely necessary.

Therefore, if we spread out and become, in dancing, aware of all that goes into it - what makes dance dance, what makes that time element in architecture, what it does to music, what it does to life as such - then you see how the relationships are enormously involved.

My other criticism of today is that dancers have become very mechanical. It's simpler. The more you sweat the better it is. ''I had a workout all right. I sweated all over.'' That isn't the point. There are other ways of sweating, which don't produce natural pearls on your forehead, but which make you sweat in a way that is not visible.

This is extremely important, and this is what the dancer in our day doesn't quite realize: that there is a human being involved, and that this human being has a capacity of realizing that there is something which we generally call the emotions. Otherwise, I prefer a marionette, because I can pull it and it can be manipulated, but it is almost lifelike.

All these things occupy us very much in this day and age, because we can't live without a little warmth. If you go and make dance a science proper, then you miss its main mission, that it is also an art form.

You have people who conduct this and this symphony, and you say, ''Wasn't it divine!'' It hits something, while another performance is a sheer repeat of that which was written down. Which, in a way, can be quite boring.

The mechanism can be achieved. But it is a means to an end. While we do it we want to achieve something more. We want to get something created. Creation is to do something which hasn't been there. What we have is this limited body. We say, yes, but I can't. Don't say that. Only say, I won't - then I believe you. When you say you can't, I don't believe you, because you can if you want. You can make it so!

Don't be satisfied to have done 50 plies today - badly. You can say, ''I've done 50.'' So what? Do one good one. It's much better than 50 bad ones.

Why do you do 12 plies? Why do you do 10? That's a limit you set because you know when you come to the ninth you're getting tired, and you say, one more, right?

But a good one.

It is not only that we can do better dancing. We can live better. Because the whole life is a dance, isn't it? Not really, but in some way. Don't be literal.

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