Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Dance to This: Brad Mehldau

I love jazz.

Saying you "hate jazz" is, in my mind, the same as saying you "hate music." Jazz is too big of a category to not have something in it you would like.

Jazz is poetry and dance mixed together.

Playing jazz live is one of the times in music when the musician is truly vulnerable.  Like the dancers I work with, a jazz musician goes on stage with some ideas but no routine. They might know where they want to start and where they want to end and they just see what happens in between.

My love of jazz is so great that it surprises me to have just learned that I need to explore it more deeply with dance.

I have been spending a lot of time with music that is more "atmospheric."  It allows the dance and the dancer to be primary.

Jazz insists, though, on being a partner (if not the boss...).  And it's a fickle partner and you have to be willing to let go and let be.

I truly heart the work of Brad Mehldau and I finally put some of his work on my teaching iPod, and at the end of a class where the students had worked hard (as if there is a class where they DON'T work hard...), I decided to finally throw some of him at them.

Just to see what would happen.

Which I say a lot in class.

I watched them struggle, for sure.

I watched one of my dancers struggle to "dance," and I watched as, FINALLY, she let go and didn't dance but became expression itself.

It was a sight, for sure.  It was a huge breakthrough for her.

You only get those moments when you're willing to be uncomfortable and push through feeling like there is "nothing."

Push through to the something.

Try it.