Wednesday, June 18, 2014

June 18 2014: It would make a great deal of sense for writers to dance—but would it make as much sense for dancers to write?

“And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon.”

Edward Lear, The Owl and the Pussycat

“Somebody just gave me a shower radio. Thanks a lot. Do you really want music in the shower? I guess there's no better place to dance than a slick surface next to a glass door.”

Jerry Seinfeld

“Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance. Great dancers are great because of their passion.”

Martha Graham

Jean Bulter and Michael Flatley Eurovision 30 April 1994 web

Hard to believe it has been over 20 years since Riverdance erupted on the scene. The date was April 30 1994 and the occasion was the Eurovision Song contest.

The Riverdance segment lasted seven minutes and was a life changing event, as far as I was concerned. It signified the poverty-stricken chip-on-the-shoulder Ireland I had grown up in having evolved into “The Celtic Tiger.”

That particular tiger turned out to have a penchant for economic self destruction, but the consequences of that pattern of behavior were still well over a decade away in 1994—and Ireland, at last, felt confident and dynamic—and showed it.

I was thrilled. I had played a part in that economic progression—at considerable personal cost, as it happens—but Riverdance gave me the feeling it had all been worth it.

It was absolutely compelling—and one of the sexiest things I had ever seen. Still is.

Do I think dancers should write? That might be difficult given the extraordinary demands in terms of time and focus that dancing to a certain standard makes—but are the demands made of a writer who seeks excellence any the less? I think not.

That said, I think it is a great pity that—particularly where creativity is concerned—we don’t cross the barriers more.

Worth reflecting upon.


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