Recently I was chatting with my roommate Dancer D, and saying how I wanted to start seeing more dance shows. I feel like I need to be more aware of what kind of work is being produced, more aware of what the trends are, and to continue to widen my palate and knowledge of dance.
Me: We should go see Parsons tonight. I think they still have tickets. Wanna go?
Dancer D: Not really.
Me: Why not?
Dancer D: Eh.
Me: Don't you like to see dance?
Dancer D: Not really.
Me: But you're a dancer! [Thinking to myself: That's how you get paid. When people buy tickets and see you dance!]
It irked me a bit. First on principle: If we as dancers don't support one another, how can we expect anyone else to support us? You've got to give to receive; you've got to help yourself. Second, I suspect that the dancer who only likes the performance aspect of dance, is also the one who can't tell the difference between good work, what they enjoy watching, and what they like to perform themselves. My theory is you've got to experience it all (and I mean ALL) to truly appreciate any of it. With the ever changing nature of dance, it's virtually impossible to keep up with everything; but we can try.
Now granted there are artists I'd rather watch on YouTube before I spend $25 on a concert ticket, but there is certainly something to be said about being an active audience member. Over on Brand New Yorker, some colleagues and I got into a conversation about the work that we are seeing produced, and how infuriated we are. I think I might safely speak for the group and say that a lot of what we have seen in concert since we left the academic arena is not "good work." I define "good work" as sound, solid choreography with a beginning middle and end, in which choices are deliberate and self-aware, effectively communicating something. The conversation in the blog entry "post-university angst" turns mostly to how we might react as choreographers and performers to what we are seeing; but how could we react and find reason for our artistic voice if we never went to the theater in the first place?
Tell me, how do you define "good work"? What kind of work do you prefer to watch? Is that different or the same as what you think is well done and/or what you like to perform?