Friday, 28 September 2012

Dancing Out the Door

Well, on Wednesday, I'm moving to New York. Hoping to find my feet, while two of my plays (one in Cheltenham, one in London) are being staged, on the opposite side of the Atlantic.

Still from 'Herb and Dorothy'
'So anyway, at the time, back in the late seventies, December 1978, to be precise, David had a girlfriend who happened to be a choreographer. She was quite good. She’d been in the Twyla Tharpe company and had branched off to form her own group. David called me up one day to invite me to an open rehearsal of her new piece—which was still a work in progress. The event took place in a high school gym, somewhere in Lower Manhattan. There were only about twenty or thirty people there. Actually, [Jacques] Dupin was in town, and we went together. And David’s girlfriend, Nina, got up with her dancers; there were about ten dancers in the company, and she stood there on the gym floor, a little off to the side... There was no music, no set, no costumes, nothing, just her, trying to explain what the dance was. She would say something, and then the dancers would dance and I found what they did very beautiful. The movements, the gestures.

 'Frances Ha' care of The New York Times
They just moved around the floor, with no music to support them or tell you what to think. Ten bodies moving in space. I thought it was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen. And she, standing there, with all her earnestness and sincerity, tried to explain what they were doing. And her words were so inadequate, they missed the mark so completely about what these bodies were doing right in front of her, that I started trembling in a kind of ecstasy, an enormous surge of happiness, realizing how inadequate language was in the face of such a thing, in the face of the world. It was as if the dancers were the world, and she was language. That was what inspired the piece. I went home, and that very night I started writing White Spaces. That was the breakthrough for me. It got me writing again. I hadn’t been able to write for a year and a half.'
--Paul Auster, who was 31 when this happened.

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