Day 34, Universal Communication

Practice: 2.5, Rehearsal: 0, Lesson recordings listened to: 1.  Tonight instead of getting another hour and a half of practice I chose to see a contemporary dance performance: the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company.  I’m a passive fan of dance, mostly in just adoring videos and pictures of Rudolph Nureyev.  The last time I saw a live dance performance was probably several years ago at Chautauqua.  I think it really depends on the choreography you’re watching- just like in music it really depends on whether you’re listening to Mozart or one of his mediocre contemporaries.

Tonight was a hit.  I was so captivated by the performances I saw. (What do you call a single dance?  An arrangement?  A setting? A piece?)  Unlike in music, each dancer retains his or her entire identity, at almost all times.  And because of that, every dance was like watching a short story about relationships.  Their bodies were their instruments, expressing a language that nobody and everybody knew.  Every person in the audience can at least imagine what it feels like to move that way and what it communicates when others move that way, at least on some level.  In that way there was no limit to what dance could try to express.  And it also stays incredibly current to the times- I saw some movements that were drawn from everyday life.  It was powerful to see.

How can music do the same thing?  It can’t.  That’s what makes dance so wonderful.  But the element of communicating something that people don’t need to be taught to understand is available.  If not in physical movement, in sound.  And in that way, music inspired by the voice is as close as I think we can get.  Sometimes it’s great to think of legendary singers, and we all know a few of those. Callas is one of my favorites.  But other times maybe it’s just better to listen to the people in our immediate vicinity and how their vocalization expresses more than just their words.  Could I play in a way that a stranger to classical music would understand on an emotional level?  That’s something to strive for.

Nureyev and Fonteyn

P.S. Today was day two of playing a complete audition for my recording device.  Once again I really didn’t want to do it and it was an uncomfortable experience!  But forcing myself to do it anyway and feeling the discomfort was kind of like seeing an answer key to the question of “what do I need to work on?”  It all becomes pretty clear while I play and then more so when I listen to the recording.  Relatedly, I always see the task of listening to recordings of lessons as a chore but am always always glad that I did.

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