More than ten years ago, I was a kind of infatuated with performances of several contemporary dance companies such as Jiri Kylian‘s Nederlands Dans Theatre and Anne Teresa‘s Rosas. What fascinated me was not only their sophisticated choreography style but also the way they used music. Suffice to say, I was reversely inspired as a composer by how they “designed” several elements consisting of time, space, and sound. Which is not in a superficial way but in more philosophical way.
Today I’d like to introduce Rosas’ “Rosas Danst Rosas” (actually I’ve already introduced this in my Japanese blog, using an analogy from Ikebana). When I came across this, I felt it was very natural and fit into my sense. That naturalness didn’t seem to come from “being free” but “being strictly controlled”. In other words, it is well calculated. However, in the calculation, there is no awkwardness and motivation to pretend to be eccentric or extraordinarily different.
Early contemporary or avant-garde artists, not limited to dancers, used to pursue literally “creative freedom”. They aimed at breaking pre-existing formulas/rules and releasing themselves through their often spontaneous and abstract expression. Therefore, some performances seemed eccentric or even purposely come off being awkward. While early minimalists adversely challenged new formulas/rules and pursued them strictly, most of their works still seemed similarly awkward and unnatural. I think that was because they had to emphasize the significance of presenting new formulas, or attitudes. Which couldn’t be helped because in the contemporary era, presenting “something totally new” (regardless of whether it’s formulated or freestyle), i.e. defying something that already exists, has been prioritized over fitting naturally into audience’s senses or imaginations. As artists, they couldn’t allow themselves to achieve a balance between them since it could undermine their creativity and raison d’etre.
By contrast, these dancers and choreographers seem to even enjoy achieving the balance. That doesn’t mean at all they think inside the box or mold ourselves into cliches/de-javus. It seems to me that they pay much attention to presenting a new way of re-designing or re-organizing all pre-existing and familiar elements surrounding us such as time, space, and sound. While they don’t break and try to force themselves to defy our common imaginations, this is really fresh and I can discover clearly their creativity, even POP in this video.
Though I’m not sure its POP feel attracted creative people in the advertising and music industry, it’s funny we frequently come across commercials and music videos which were likely to be affected by this and fell into following the “formula”, not their intrinsic creativity.