The below post was created for the MNJazzDance Collective blog and newsletter, created and managed by myself and Heather P Westerlund, and found here; www.mnjazzdance.wordpress.com.
“Just as drama asks us for the suspension of our disbelief, jazz asks us for the suspension of our need to program our every moment.” – Seth Colter Walls, Newsweek Dec 21st 2009
Upon first read, this statement grabbed directly at my gut and held on. It is difficult, regardless the subject, to boil down to a few select words the purpose of something that one finds deeply inspiring. In the above statement, Seth Colter Walls has managed to do so with jazz.
In a world with the ability to move faster than ever before, we are all busy people for various different reasons. One thing we all share is the occasional need to stop in our sometimes well-worn tracks, allowing moments to flourish not into what we are asking them to be, but into what they can be. Jazz music and dance invariably are chances to allow moments to come into their own, likely an unrecognized part of why we enjoy them so much.
At the heart of this idea is the concept of improvisation, a mode in which artists are allowed to immerse themselves in the moment and to see where things go. Often equally immersing is the act of witnessing these explorations, but only if we allow it to be. Observing and becoming wrapped up in an improvisation can sometimes be a challenge to modern audiences, who tend to program each moment of their time out of an ever-developing background pressure to get everything done quicker. I am no stranger to this idea; I am sometimes so busy ‘getting things done’ that I forget to indulge in something as simple and necessary as enjoying a meal.
Giving time the chance to suspend at the hands of an enrapturing piece of music or dance, or in the moment of a deeply-connected improvisation, can be just what the body and mind need to become rooted again, and ready to ‘get with the program’ with a renewed sense of purpose.
So do yourself a favor and allow some time for moments to become what they can – put on your favorite tune and do nothing but listen (if you are so moved, get up and dance around your living room), see a show or take a class, and shut off not only your phone, but your mental to do list. On that note, here are some ways to do just that;
February 19, 2010 7:30pmOrdway CenterTickets: $25 – $30 651-224-4222, www.ordway.org
For over 30 years this company has celebrated the traditional Afro-Brazilian Dance and Capoeira movement in choreography that blends contemporary dance and sound in stunning performances that echo the traditional movement, spirit and color of Brazil’s rich multicultural influences.
African Dance Workshop with Guest Artist Djeneba Sako
March 7, 2010 5:00-6:30pm, 6:30-8:00pm, Jawaahir Studios, 1940 Hennepin Avenue S, Minneapolis
March 8, 2010 6:00-7:30pm, March 9, 2010 6:30-8:00pm, Sabanthi Community Center, 310 E 38th St,Mpls
Two classes $30, four classes $56, drop-in $17 per class
visit www.duniyadrumanddance.org for details and registration
Learn African dance and rhythms from Mali West Africa. In Mali, performance, music and dance are ways of expression used in education and everyday life. Djeneba Sako, from the Malian Troupe Baden’ya, is a graceful yet powerful master dancer with a unique style that has allowed her to capitalize on the US Malian dance scene as one of the most sought-after dance instructors at conferences and festivals across the nation.
Cheers to getting lost in music and dance!