About Susan

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Can Dance Overcome Political Origins?

I've danced in pieces that smacked a lot of Mao (you know, the Cultural Revolution), and perhaps they're even the same versions that he had performed in the streets to distract onlookers from the torture happening just yards away. You can imagine that makes me feel pretty strange. Oddly, after I learn the choreography and make some jokes about being good barefoot peasant girls looking towards a bright future, everything feels fine. I work hard, enjoy the dance and somehow the audience is all right with it, too. (That, or they're not talking.)

Perhaps it's permissible to simply appreciate the dancing for what it is, despite its less than innocuous origins. I still have mixed feelings about it, but I feel more comfortable about it these days. I hope audiences will find dances like this enjoyable, when they're presented as just that -- dances.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Trouble with Photos

I missed the photo shoot for a this number (which is quite artistic and therefore not a classic crowd-pleaser for gigs -- that's too bad, because it's a real killer!), so I had to find a corner in my house to get some photos taken. As you can see, the electrical sockets and wall border add an oh-so-excellent touch, so we had to choose one to digitally alter to better effect. The one the director ended up choosing isn't my favorite shot, but it's fine with me. The performance is what counts.

This dance is kind of an introspective, a tour de force of the various female roles of traditional Chinese opera. It's extremely athletic and challenging on the acting side as well. It took me awhile to not feel like I was going to pass out after the first half of the choreography, yikes! Ever since learning this dance I vow to watch the Beijing Opera live one day. The tumbling is one thing but believe it or not, acting like an old Chinese woman (lao dan) is extremely difficult! I hope I'll have the chance to rehearse and perform this again in the future to see how much more nuanced I can make it.

Monday, May 21, 2007

I Am a Dancer

I've finally buckled down and created a little page where I can proudly proclaim that I am a dancer. It's a hard path to take and I have no illusions of how it could have been had I not had some savings and a scholarship when I packed my bags for New York City. There are countless talented artists out there, and I wish them every success. I wish to dance to move people, whether it makes them happy or causes them to reflect on their own lives. I dance to know that I'm not just living, but that I am alive.