Max Black, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, writer, composer and musician, is also a scholar who is interested in everything related to the human mind. He wanted to ask me several questions about the dance seen and experienced ‘from within’, and here’s what I responded ‘point-blank’.
MAX – Alessandra Hello, I’d like to ask you a couple of questions.
First of all, do dancers perceive their body differently from those who don’t dance?
Secondly: do usually dancers fall in love with people who do the same things?
ALE – Hello Max, this is what I think.
2. not always, it depends… for instance, some people like me some other not 🙂 And I love watching people’s hearts beyond what they do. I have not always had good relationships with the dancers, instead I’ve found myself every time at ease among the musicians.
MAX – thanks for the answers… Could I take advantage for further clarification?
ALE – go…
MAX – Ok… so,
(1) This self-perception… is something which influences a dancer’s personality? Is there something in a dancer which could manifest this, so I could notice it? Is it only a wellness with one’s body or is there anything else?
why are relations between dancers so difficult?
ALE – 1a. Could be
1b. yes, you can easily tell it because we tend to adapt to ‘strange’ and unpopular postures and movements that become part of us without us realizing it… like for example tie up the shoes with the entire body bending over and believing that this is normal.
1c. I would call it more painful, since it comes from a deep and thorough process of chisel … the satisfaction comes from the depth of the work that takes place, but also requires the blood
2. The male dancers generally are rather narcissistic or have homosexual tendencies, or take the opportunity to flirt a bit with every girl… so that a female dancer should accept those ‘tendencies’ or being just another dancer among the crowd… That’s why I prefer to deal with musicians who have a strong sensitivity, they have much to share and are generally less ‘conceited’… I speak from personal experience.
MAX – ok … about the first question… ‘it could be’ in what sense?
I want to know this: the dance, is the same even without music and choreography or does it change anything without those elements?
2. Well, if a dancer falls in love… doesn’t he or she follow as everybody else the classic rules of relationship between two people?
ALE – 1st. From outside I perceive a dancer somehow different from other human beings (also from the inside, anyway, being myself a dancer). But from the outside I see that dancers have a bigger awareness of their own bodies, knowing their limits and their potentials, and nourishing themselves of this.
Dance is such in itself even without music. The music creates added value and blends with dance dramatically enhancing the effects, but the arts can live well even separated.
2. if a dancer falls in love with another dancer (it often happens) both will have to live on the scene, hence theirs will be a life dedicated to dance anyway. If he or she falls in love with someone doing anything else, the partner will have to adapt and change life, or the dancer has to adapt, but the merger is not at all obvious given the particular lifestyle of a dancer
MAX – ok. So I could attend a ballet in total silence… What should I focus on?
ALE – on the message, technique, rhythm, choreography, interpretation… music is a very strong element but not everything, indeed… the force majeure should be determined by the dancer even more than by the musician
MAX – okay, and about myself who am not a dancer… what fundamental human experience I fail to experiment?
ALE – If you are not a dancer, you lack a gift, which can be developed in many ways and forms, but ultimately it’s something innate that brings joy despite the dedication to the study, and that can be described only by trying it. Missing one facet of the artistic sensitivity that involves all, heart soul spirit and body. But perhaps you have the ability to appreciate a dance, not having been ‘modeled’ by the dance itself
MAX – Interesting … is it you in the picture on the cover? _
To make an example; what is the message of that photo?
ALE – Music is a strong element but it is not everything… the force majeure should be determined by the dancer even more than by the musician.
MAX – … And the musicians what do they say? Do they agree?
ALE – Of course they agree. The musicians won’t overstep their colleagues dancers’ work, which have an expressive role of greater impact, bound to have a greater force thanks also to the visual and emotional aspect. If there is a good feeling, musicians and dancers are happy to cooperate in the show. The music is already a full carrier element without the dance, but the dance adds another full value. The picture is an episode in the pas de deux of Bizet’s Carmen.
MAX – And in that exact pose what is the message?
ALE – You’d have to ask the choreographer Roland Petit 🙂 who unfortunately died…
Perhaps the maitre de ballet and artists having worked in close contact with him know the intention behind every step and could answer you…
MAX – I am of the opinion, for example, that Mozart did not think that way at all… And he was the one who said it!!!
Sure, but I’m interested in your intentions in dance…
ALE – Mozart never wrote ballets in fact, his music is more than enough to fill every space of expression, it’s complete and wonderful. This does not mean that choreographers such as Jiri Kylian had not indulged themselves with the most brilliant choreographies on his music, or had not been able to bring out the best from everything and everyone, Mozart included 🙂
My personal intention? Pleasure!!! pure fun! sensationalism! I live on another planet! if you ask me how I feel when I perform in a duet, I just say: wait for me to stop thinking about the technical intricacies, which then comes the party …. ? I am exaggerated!!! and then I would not be too ‘reliable’. But trust me that I am genuine and transparent, for sure!
MAX – Wow! and it’s something generalized? When you say that Mozart never wrote ballets… Do you mean choreographic representations?
ALE – I would say yes. The beauty is that you do not show it openly, but it’s pretty much an orgasm disguised as respectable ballet
About Mozart I meant that I think he has never composed music designed for the choreography… only for opera purposes
MAX – wow! Could we say another world? self-transcendence?
ALE – even more … dematerialization! in fact we are well aware and present, but what lives inside a dancer is an implosion, a burning desire, uncontrollable, indescribable and incomprehensible to those who do not love, understand, know, appreciate this art form.
MAX – interesting… well, at least I am not reading it on a text, this time it’s a real person who tells me that…
ALE – in particular I am someone very passionate and romantic, so I bring within me these feelings to exasperation in ALL things, they are the essence of my life. From the love for the art, they have then influenced everything. Envy between secular dancers exists because each of them has similar feelings, and would like to have the exclusivity of a representation in order to live those feelings… too often they hide these feelings, in my opinion, but in reality their heart explodes imagining to run a given piece
ALE – About Mozart I may have missed something… I love his music very much and I’ve danced a lot on it since childhood. But now you shall tell me, if you know more, how it is the story between a Mozart who does not want the ballet to prevail and the balletic compositions that he created …
MAX – the way you describe things… suggests me that of a sweetheart with his lover. ..
ALE – true dance IS love… It is total commitment, unconditional, absolute… or it may be that I can not live without love?
MAX – come on… to me it seems to be a wee bit out of mind … I imagined that my questions could be weird…
I do not know anything about dance in technical terms…
But I want to know what dancers think!
ALE – in technical terms, iI might reason only with those who are in the industry, in another way with other objectives. Then, sincerely, to be honest I prefer to talk about these aspects of the dance than of the technical ones… Your questions seem to me deep and meaningful, interesting and indeed, how nice that someone finally asks them… in fact you asked ME!
MAX – << dance is true love >>. So, if I look at a ballet…
what I see is a representation of Eros?
ALE – indeed, how nice that someone finally asks such a question… to me, moreover !!
MAX – why?
ALE – I’m talking about agape love, not phileo, storge or eros… I speak about dance as a sacrifice and as a gift of self, made of determination. Although now in the secular world, everybody tend to pervert the original purpose of God in creating dance as a form of praise to his glory.
Because however, for me it is a privilege to share what I feel, as long as at the other side there are no scoffers
MAX – I’ll tell you … I often look at the Bolshoi Ballet in the cygnets pas de quatre… I do not know why. but I can not fed myself up with it… I could see it 200 times per day and not get tired of it at all… when I look at it I say ____ hey, its not possible !!! it surprises me as if I had ever seen it… yes, I think the same way…
ALE – I love bolshoi but I also think that if you had to see productions from other ballet troupes, even 200 times a day will not be enough.
MAX – sorry, I kept you awake all night…
I usually make people sleepless! OK Bye!
see you next time…
ALE – 🙂 see you soon and thanks …
MAX – I’d like to see some links… where two dancers who are in love with each other perform together… do you know any cases I might look?
ALE – yes, you have to search Maximova and Vassiliev, the pair of dancers on stage and in life. Exemplary their Romeo & Juliet by Berlioz, it is a fantastic interpretation, but you can also find Spartacus, Giselle and many other titles in the classical repertoire.
MAX – what is the way in which the dance is revolutionizing the world?
I thought… as you know… painters have a direct relationship with their art… they manipulate colors, touching the canvas and the brushes… handling spatulas and also often using their fingers… then at a given moment they move away from the painting to view it from another perspective…
they introduce the element of distance… does anything similar exist in dance?
ALE – yes, the choreographer thinks about plenty of visual solutions… this interview is so beautiful, that I will send it to all my mailing list…
I’m giggling now… dancers, while having expressive skills are not necessarily always able to verbalize deep concepts on the real meaning of dance… we tend more to live it than to describe it
MAX – well… this is undeniable… Asking a dancer could not be enough… grrrrrrrrrrrrrr
MAX – And… beautiful interview? Seriously?
Now it’s me to laugh…
ALE – well it does not happen so often to speak in these terms about dance with those who feel the cause in such a profound way.
And then consider that despite the ongoing practice, there is still a lot of ignorance about the dance and about the world, about life… there is disparity between the daily exercise (useful but empty) and the life that enriches dance with all its aspects, related to culture, nature, history, society, etc.
MAX – I don’t believe that daily exercise is empty…
ALE – of course, it depends on how you see it and how it is lived. Best ever, ‘dance it’ as if it were full. But if you live in the dance hall all day, how much extra time do you have to experience life and enrich the dance of her own life?
MAX – How many hours of training does a professional devote every day of the year?
ALE – from 6 to 10-12 hours if there are shows to prepare. He or she could dance in 300 shows a year (so did Nureyev)
MAX – uhmmhmhmhm… this is not little…
ALE – that’s why we need to integrate with experiences outside of the dance classroom that serve to enrich the expressive interpretation of the artist. My profs urged us to read about everything, for example.
MAX- you dance 10-12 hours … then you sleep … you dont do anything more …
ALE – more or less … it is a life totally dedicated to the cause of perfection and results. This is one of the reasons I agreed to answer to my Christian vocation in the dance, where there is a greater balance. But this is not just a small open parenthesis
MAX – ok. I see you have more answers than my questions…
and that’s good … ciao!
ALE – I have no great pretensions, but I like to debate … see you soon!!