Sunday, April 25, 2010

Carolyn Carlson is Carolyn Carlson




I watch Carolyn Carlson in awe....but usually with the sound down because I think her taste in music is just garbage. It's always rollllling instruments: rolling piano, rolling guitar, rolling harp (is there any other way to play a harp?), always something that sounds like waves and of course the ever present Corsican flavor that seems to invade the best of her work, like
"Don't Look Back", performed by Pietragalla. I had to edit out the entire middle section because (a) it was 8 minutes of pantomime set to a concertina which, sure, Pietra does really well but even I, a borderline gushing fan, have my limits of what I will watch Pietragalla do. Mime? If you've ever read my other blog you know I enjoy bashing the french for no particular reason anymore other than its become my obligation, my signature, sort of like Johnny Carson and the golf swing or American super athletes getting away with sexual assault. With the Pittsburgh Steelers' Ben Rothlisberger getting in on the fun, it's really raised the bar too:

"Pro-Sports Rape Charges: They're Not Just for Black Dudes Anymore"

This is a dance blog. No one knows what I am talking about with that comment. And if you DO...well, I want to hang out with you so please email me. If you can appreciate everything I just wrote and you clicked on both links so far, chances are we could fall in love. Or lust. Or just critique Carolyn Carlson's taste in music but hold her up to the light and see a prism of flawlessness and the proof is in this video. Here, Carlson is dancing with Raghunath Manet, the French Indian Dance and Music troupe (Indienne danse et musique troupe de Francais? Is that how you order it at the McDonalds in Paris?) in, I think, 2009. Someone might look at this and think "look at the white lady trying to dance to the Hindu music".

Oh no! No! Not at ALL.

Carlson has been dancing like this, actually, she has been dancing far more on the fringe in much more staccato and unusual style for 20 something years. These Hindus were still helping their fathers at the 7-11 when Carlson was revolutionizing contemporary movement and interpretation to the point that there is such a term as "Carlsonian" to describe other peoples' work. This isn't a white lady "trying"...this is a free spirit and an open vessel who I don't think will ever be mired down by age. Like Pina Bausch wasn't. There is no fear, no need, there is no "I know what you mean". Because the truth is....we never know what someone means. Artists know that. And that knowledge usually makes them a bit lofty, arrogant and self-satisfied. Artists who know that, realize it makes them those things, then come out the other side without those handicaps are the Carolyn Carlsons.

You'd think they'd pick up some taste in music on the way out though, you know?