[ CRITIQUE ]
Roland pettit and Groovy Guys (2) by K.Sakuraitranslated by Asako maruno
"Dance Seminer at Nishiazabu" chapter 4 English Version
4. Petit understnads the groove in music
What is being one in Petit dance is neither "meaning" nor
"forme", it is the "music".
When you think about it, none of popular dance or folk dance
cannot be danced without music. Music is the place where danced.
Dance should be a music and then a music would be a dance.
"Dance music" could be called "listened dance".
But the various "art dance" that the dance class took so far
has prescribed itself as an ideal model of geometry, architecture,
discours, or an object as for butoh, not a music. Here we can say
clearly that this is not normal.
For certain, what has been said about Balanchine is that it is
a "watched music". But for him, a music is a "count". It is a
"structure". In other words, it is a model that count=segmentify
As for our Roland Petit, or as for a various public dance,
a music is to the contrary. As Signifiance , That music runs
through the recognizable structural system =count. they shoud be
beat, rythm, phrasing, and groove, and not count.
Thinking about a bad dance music, a poor dance music.
It is probable that the sixteenth note could be beat accuratly.
If it was said that sixteenth beat was more likely to be danced
than eighth beat, it is not because of the small count.
A good dance music "shuffles". Shuffle does not have to be
the right middle of the beats. The rythm so called "shuffle"
is"tut tut tut tut". But making it in a group of three notes
"t / u / t , t / u / t ,t / u / t , t / u / t " is a poor shuffle.
A good shuffle shoud be "tardy" literaly. But the "tardy"
should be striked at the rightest point.
We Japanese call it "ma "(space). The "ma " runs thrugh
between the communities, between notes, between structures.
This footprint makes a music. Barthes's "strike" is something
A bad dance, non-musical dance only can segmentify a move
by count. In that case, even it is small, a move is nothing more
than **"accurate but alike continuous system". That is to say,
it is just **"segmentified accuratly by pushing fence".
Because **"it is fitting perfectly in a system of dance, it only can
place a move in a proper position inside of the segment structure."
It is true that *"each and everything of the structure is respected
there. But there is nothing leads to a joy".
Now what about our Roland Petit? Is not there no other serious
artist of "dance as the art " like him who understands not "count"
but a "groove" of a music? ( Jerome Robins main ballet master of
New York City Ballet and a choreographer of the Broadway musical.
His stuff is very close to Roland Petit. His dance syle as well as
Petit's, are formed by the style of various pop dance such as
ball room dance, Latin , jazz etc. and a technique of a dance classic,
but the making of smooth sequence is characteristic. That is
Balanchine-tic formalist in moulding sense. "A plain line" artist.)
There is something establishes his groove in dance.
A that cannot segmentified or reduced is exactly the
groove itself. A is like "blue notes" ("Blue note" is the
tone a little different from the system = "frame"called "major
scale".), "fake tone", and "alternative code" in jazz. Or in a classic
music, they are like "portamento", "trillo", "vibrato" and "tempo
5 "en dedans" makes Petit dance distinctive
By the way, what supports Roland Petit's nature of a <gesture>?
That is called "en dedans". "En dedans" is the opposite of "en dehors".
"En dehors" is the dominant principle of ballet, danse classique .
The legs should point outward. "En dedans" of the legs which was
done by the artists of ballets russes e arlier than Roland Petit,
was a "action" and a "pose" more than "pas".
( Fokin is the first one who presented "en dedans" in "Petrushka" (1911).
It was from a necessity of "action" of buffoonery dolls. It applies to
a mime gesture. Machine makes American girl dance "Cinema-like action"
in "Parade" (1917). As well as "The Three-cornerd Hat" (1919),
a "Spanish dance" including "en dedans" is danced. Also in "Blue Train"
(1924) of Nijinska "a pose of Charleston" can be seen. It should be
called "en dedans" which could be seen in "Charleston" that was
inserted in ballet. Then what about Nijinski's "Le sacre de Printemps "
and "A faun in the afternoon"? It is not a citation but it is not a "pas",
it is a "pose" and "action". It is certain that we also can see
"en dedans" in Balanchine. Most of his cases are "posy" and when it is
used as "pas", it is all geometrical square. It seems that he strongly
avoids adding "gesture", a nuance or music = sensuality. For him,
it is nothing more than his extended technique.)
Roland Petit's "en dedans" as "pas" is so to speak "blue note"
or "alternative code", in fact "the other way around ".
While we are watching a move as a linked "pas", and expecting
"en dehors" is coming next, "en dedans" passes by and fail to meet
our expectations. It sometimes repeats alternate with "en dehors".
It may produce the effect such as "polyrythm" or "poly-tonality".
And the most important thing is that as legs move "en dedans"
the shoulder shrugs naturaly or sticks out, the hip pushed up diagonal
into the air, in short, "en dedans" ripples all over the body.
Also "En dedans" is seen in various folk dance at frequent.
For instance "Argentina tango". Legs entwine. The legs will not
entwine unless doing it by "en dedans". Man and woman could entwined
by "en dedans". In "Charleston", "en dehors" and "en dedans" are
crossing. Presley and James Brown etc. are all "en dedans".
Japanese dance and Indian dance and every other fork dance as well.
It is said that in a classic ballet, "en dehors" is the dominant principle,
but it is natural for some folk dance in ballet works such as "csardas"
from Hungary, "Mazurka" and "Polonaise" from Poland, "Trepack" from
Russia to include "en dedans". However it never can go beyond the
level of a side show, "divertissement" in the form of "grand ballet".
Such factor including folk dance "en dedans" did not happen to mix
into the "pas" in dance classic.
Now let us think about a little more groovy moves in Roland Petit .
Are not be there what shoud be called groovy intonation of phrasing?
First is the "accenting". For example, knocking light the floor
by the instep of the foot and leap up the legs. ("Carmen", "Epine",
"Notre-Dame de Paris", etc.) Leaping up the legs without meaning
anything for instance when you switch over a direction to another.
(By the way the legs would be "en dedans" in this case also.)
These kind of thing give an accecnting effect of "off beat".
Anaphoraly that does not accent every other measure but irregulary.
I think you can take it in this kind of way. Does not some trumpets
of jazz big band "su-pa-t-par" suddenly? They do not tend to do
that every 4th measure.
Secondly, before putting the hand on a hand held out by others,
she goes l・e・t・'s s・e・e, and wanders over space like arpeggio .
I never can explain it well! ( Odett in the early scequence of
"katorea") Take double beats in a count, or like transform a melody
to 3/4, or fake...
And "pas" in ballet has a sequence. Do that, and this happens then
finish sort of thing. At the last part of a group of moves recognized
as one "pas", a "twist" left behind by up and down leg movement.
For example, a leg that suppose to be stretched out describing a
straight or a parabola, bent right before landing or peak, quickly
stretched, and finish. An accent like this is a little "making a detour".
It produces something like very short improvising solo that be often
seen at the end of a ballad performance. Also the way of phrasing
which starting from 4th beat.
Does not this kind of thing have *"the effect of a light half way
back from the ceiling point"? This line from a Gillete shaving
explanation for users, is quoted by Eisenstein to explain his montage
theory, and then Barthes took a line from it. What Eisenstein says is
that the montage effect would be less if you follow the montage
theory exactly. Therefore you always go little off or loosen the
ceiling point or a perfect point. Saying that loosen a screw.
Such effect should be huge.
Phrasing is *"ability of bringing stitches of an accent up to the
surface" from back or bottom side of a clause structure, rhetoric
like tonality and rythm . also *"the ability of reading anagrams".
Reading an anagram in written words. I do not think it is good to pull
down at the level of dictatorial theory. For instance to say it is a
strange ballet, it does a weird thing, or to say that it is an
arrangement of a classic ballet.
To state clearly from a view of musical "dance-tic" or a
"dancing groove" which is a move responding to a music, there are
too many bad ones in "artistic dance".
Cunningham is the kind of a person who would think that
"music exists parallel with dance, it just exists there and nothing
more than that". There are many people who see a music as an enemy
of dance for modernism reduce and its accomplishment. What it does is
that it ruins a pureness of dance and paste a certain meaning.
But the worst is "who only can count". A dance is not a play or
TVdrama so beside a use for settling a situation or a theatrical use,
who only can count, who can take music as a counting is the worst.
I think you known what I mean by count from what I have said
so far. Of course there are a lot of stupid who only can match with
a beat, but what I mean is the "intermediary situation" that cannot
be distant from a "clause structure" of music, they are tonality,
rythm, and melody.
Therefore it is OK even to think Cunningham-ly. But measuring the
distance from music consistently and putting your own nature of
dance stand against, then doing "counterpoint". Slipping off, sliding.
This way it is more creative and it is a critical behavior.
Moreover, to think about it in amplification, if "dance-tic" -- in
Barthes's word "dancy" stuff was stood agaist a dance as a system,
is not it "music" in a sense of groovy ever?
6 Lovely ending
Well, positioning of Roland Petit is being somehow determined
in our Dance Seminar in Nishiazabu. A dimple created by a very
small move like the ripples run the surface of the body. That is
the dance as a . If neither bear the influence of meaning
clearly like a "body" as well as an "action" nor reduce to "lines"
abstractly, then it would be at the intersection of vertical and
horizontal lines of the matrix. And such Petit is with any fold
dance and popular dance.
This privileged positioning, might be a "judgment in my own
sense". But what Roland Petit teachs can be our own food. In other
words, "it is able to see a dance in all the action, all the bodies,
and all the objects". Can we take the separated 20th century dance
all over again by putting it under the phase of Roland Petit.
Therefore can we "watch in pleasure" any dance?
That is, to seek such place where watching is the same as
dancing together. "Desire" is what cannot reduce to anything. Our
and an artist's "desire".
And will not be there in such part that is
impossible to reduce, overflow.
A thing that be abled to be told as "pleasure" should be discovered
by each and every audience. Therefore I would like to talk a little
about what catches my "look = desire" at last.
In the first chapter we saw a classic ballet of Marius Petipa as
the beginning of modernism that connects to Forsythe, and here once
again, we would like to see him as a peak of Classic, a peak of the
tradition. We will know that there is no receptacle where his works
as a typical that is having brought up in about 200 year history, and
selected, to be exposed as a dancer, "dancer as a proper noun". And
even thought through by his own genious in advance that . This is the
place dancers will be tested. Here, trace Petipa's "choreograph" and
anything are not allowed to change, dancer as well for certain. A
small difference and slide develop in every tracing. It is the
slightest difference that cannot get away from dacers' bodies, nature,
situation and condition. And I think this is what I would like to see
which will not be reduced, one time dancer as absolutely "a proper
noun". Of course there are very few such stage called "an excellent
performance", but it is true that a force keeping from exposing as an
absolute difference is huge especially for a ballet like Petipa's which
is perfectly constructed. I think I can say that that is even why there
is no place away from "story" or "system", where is full of
"Signifiance " for Petipa which is danced by great dancer.
Now about "a turn" of Forsythe. Forsythe is changing now. Holding
his own in a system of dance and deconstruct the system by searching
for autonomy of the system. His such "Derrida-like" way is an endless
struggle as a theory, but as an actual problem there is a physical
restriction as well as an architecture, and when the deconstruction is
accomplished there will be an absence of dance and architecture,
which means it is impossible to substantialization. It does not stand
as a building. Therefore there actually is a clear ceiling point.
I guess he already has reached at a point where he thinks this is enough.
Then what did he do? He chose "a turn" rather than going back.
Did he transfer a shift? To where? In the middle. To Roland Petit
position. Let us see "As a Garden in this Setting".
Here dancer stands the heel not stand the tip of a toe. Lower the
hip, drop the shoulder, bend, creak, twist. Are not these exactly the
<gesture>? In his case, since he is very intelegent, he might thought
through Gilles Deleuze's word like "body without an organ" in advance.
According to Forsythe "it is a disfunctioned body", he makes a disabled
body by human work. Starting from the shape. So there is a tendency
to settled in shapes. Specially ballet dancers are well developed
athlete in a general sense, or it is programmed by computers I do not
know, it does not break away from order and it is handled skillfully.
There are a numberless of contraction and release lines running in
disabled person's action, and more waisted details should be filled in,
otherwise this way will not work. Probably from now on, even poor
ankoku butoh dancer will be able to do this. And now let us watch
the solo work of Tatsumi Hijikata again. We will always see a
relation to a part of pleasure, by just looking at the "presense" that is
a "surface", forget about various critical mind such as "modern",
"identity" or things like that. Tatsumi Hijikata's body is more detailed
than Forsythe's. Specially the lines in running. It just is not easy to
watch since there are weired dreadful things are attached the surface,
but once you forget about these, a way of looking at it might change.
Then Pina Bausch. What I like about the most, that is of course
the "hand dance". It appears in her every works, but every time it starts
I will be happy. The "hand dance" cannot reduce to anything. It is a
expression of the hand itself. I feel that it is a dance as a <gesture>.
When I watch it I get want to trace. In other words, it is something
that I get want to dance together. Since it is charming. And there was
a "talking with the hands" along with music. I do not know how Pina
Bausch thinks but I watch it as a "hand dance" also. It is because I do
not know the chirology. When I am watching I am not listening to a
meaning since the content of words is in English. It becomes the
dance itself of Gershwin's "melody" and a <gesture> of the hand.
And then the one that two people are drinking water. One of them
squirt water from the mouth, and the other one spills. I would like to
see it as a dance of water. I feel good.
Thinking about myself, I may be recurring to an "L'imaginaire"
("imaginativeness"), to a "reflected image stage" from a fear in the
"Le reel" ("actual world" ), "actuality" pushing out from a "hole"= the
"crack" in a screen of an orderliness in a" Le symbolique"
( "symbolic world" ) eventually. Why I am awkward to deal with Pina
Bausch is that I think because there is like an "exposure" of the
"Le reel " that is something tough. Balanchine and Cunningham and
Forsythe are of Le symbolique" , because of their dance is the
"system". Does that mean I am a man at a "reflected image stage"
still? Are not the exsisting things painful? Tough? Well I am just
refusing to my own defeat here but let me quote Barthes's words
again. He says that *< "Le reel" only knows the distance.
" Le symbolique" only knows a mask. Only "L'imaginaire" is close
and true >. Well Barthes is a person who started from a semiology,
in other words started from a " Le symbolique " as a formalist, then
recurred to "L'imaginaire" at the end. (1994)
( ※ QUOTATION FROM : * = Roland Barthes , ** = Akira Asada )
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