We asked Forum's producers to each pick their favorite arts shows from 2013. Producer Judy Campbell explains her pick:
It seems like it would be hard to translate dance -- or as he called it in the interview, "thought made visible" -- into good radio, but I could listen to Alonzo King talk about dance and the artistic process all day long. The way he describes choreography and dancing has changed the way I view all sorts of performances. A lot of us are intimidated by dance and worry we're missing something that we're supposed to be getting out of a performance. King makes art accessible by expanding our ideas of dance and art, instead of simplifying them. In this interview for the 30th anniversary of King's LINES Ballet, Michael Krasny talked to King alongside composer and double bassist Edger Meyer, who collaborated with King on the company's anniversary show. It was great to hear the two of them talk about the relationship of dance and music and about artistic collaboration. Michael did a fantastic one-on-one interview with Alonzo King back in 2011, which is also worth listening to.
On the Benefits of Collaboration:
"It's interesting for me when working with other artists -- or people who look at your work -- and they bring different ideas to it, or they will show perspectives that you hadn't thought of. That's interesting to do when you work with another artist and also interesting to hear from when you work with another artist... And I'm saying that because I don't think the author is the definitive at all. I love the fact that Chopin would say, 'Listen to what this one is doing with my music,' because who is the definitive?"
On Ideas Being Bigger Than Words:
"Everything is consciousness, everything is thought... so I think of music as thought made audible and I think of dance as thought made visible. And in our search for material, when I heard Edgar's music this was a thought, especially that adagio, that words are far too clumsy to try to communicate or illustrate or be and I think that that's the aim. If I'm doing a work and I'm really able to describe it, I feel that I've failed somehow."
On Being an Original:
"I've been really fortunate in that I was encouraged to be myself. And I think that so often people are cloning, and you can get approval for cloning. People like a good knockoff, they like a copy, which I think is a horrible thing. But I was encouraged early, as a child, to be an original and so I've always had strong points of view about how I see things and in the things that I've been participating in, what I thought was missing."
On What Inspires Him:
"I think everything inspires me. I know that for dance specifically, I really like the dances from indigenous cultures that still exist and watching tapes and videos of them. I love to see dancers from other times and music, literature, nature. I think everything, even negative things are an inspiration because you see -- 'There's some rhythm here,' 'There's some shape making here.' I see that it's failing, that it's not working, but it's interesting information."
On Getting Out of the Way of Art
"At its basis, in creativity a magical thing happens: You stop thinking about yourself, because you're having a blast. And usually when there's a block, it's because there is too much self-regard. So there's this wisdom that comes out of getting out of the way that I think allows for things to happen."
On How Training Dancers Is Not About the Body:
"It's the heart and the mind that you're really training. There's an interesting statement that Helen Keller said, that she felt trapped and that she didn't find freedom until she was able to separate the identity of herself as something separate from her body. And it takes a long time for the dancing artists to do that, but when that happens -- and you can see it objectively in the same way that Edgar can play with his double bass -- that your physical body is really an instrument, a whole lot begins to change."
On Always Striving for More:
"Any kind of comfort or satisfaction is poisonous to any kind of growth. When you have people you work with who are obsessed with expansion -- who are really involved in always thinking more and better -- that's inspiring to be in that kind of environment because you want to multiply your talents, you want to become more generous. To be really simple about it, you want to expand your heart and expand your mind. And that wants to continue going until you leave the planet... That's the point, in whatever discipline you choose, or whatever you are applying yourself to in life."