Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Non-Specific Terror and Dancin'

I went last night to see Animals of Distinctions' "Smash Up" with Justin Evans at the Monument National.
It was very strange to sit in a theater with other people to watch this. I realized that nearly all of my experience of dance, save a few grinning-10-year-olds-performing-ballet recitals of my sister's, was from video. Like the one above. Where camera angles and editing really dictate duration, and narrative. Much like seeing a painting in person instead of in photograph, or actually being stuck on a Survivor-type desert island, this performance was so heavy and sweaty and disorienting.
I was terrified all through the first piece. Not for the performers or because it was scary, but non specific terror. Not horror, mind you, but terror. I couldn't tell what was happening or what was going to happen. Hell. I wasn't even sure what I was seeing.
Painting so often feels like maintaining some very delicate balance between all kinds of things you want to balance like composition, colour, texture, form along with all kinds of things that you might not, like cliches, the medium's history, trends, and your own temporary desires to not be making what you are, or to not continue. It is such a delicate, razor's edge final balance that I want to squeeze my eyes tight and hold still while I find the extremes on either side. Watching the performance last night was like watching that balance be maintained in front of me. How harrowing.
I'm a little bashful about being so wide-eyed, but holy shit Dana Gingras is one of my favourite artists. She totally wrecked my cool, leaving me yammering on about how I felt. Yikes.
This is leaving out the computer-animation stuff by James Paterson and Amit Pitaru that knocked my head off, and music direction by Roger Tellier-Craig.

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