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Why do we keep doing this? (Starting Here).

The allure of la vie boheme soon vanishes if you can't go home to a healthy and comfortable living arrangement after the adventure. It's great to be cast as a starving artist in Rent, but it's no fun to live that life every day, forever. Truth is, we've all known someone who was broke--or broken--from lack of cash, food, heat, sanitation, health care, opportunity, or place to work. So can you Survive on Nothing? Maybe. For a while. If you are healthy and willing to read Eric Wolfram's story in part two of our series on Survival Tactics in tough economic times. But read on. What happens when a young dancer-such as Katy McDermott--decides to give herself other options, like learning the technical and management end of the business? Is there equal fulfillment offstage?

Does it cost less to just go and dance on the beach? It looks like David Parsons and his company have found the ideal place in the sun to make work, but in fact it is the elegant and benevolent Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, which provides residence and creating time for dancers, writers, musicians, and visual artists. Jack Mitchell, for whom a gallery at the ACA is named, has come out of retirement for Dance Magazine to photograph both the beauty of the center and the growth process of Parsons's "long legs" tale (see this month's elongated Dancescape on page 74).

So why do we do this? Some are moved by the music, as was choreographer Nancy Karp when she fused the sounds of the Green Street Mortuary Brass Band, which plays for Chinese funerals, with her impressionistic memories of a Sicilian summer. Some are enraged by the noise, as is Allan Ulrich in Dance Magazine's new feature, which gives voice to "Rants and Raves." And Verbier, a well-established music festival in an idyllic Swiss Alpine setting, is motivated to establish a model partnership, saying, "Move over music, make room for dance too."

Twyla Tharp once told an interviewer that a life in dance is hard. Don't do this unless you can't not, she said. So why do we keep doing this if it's so hard? Because in some way we must. The very young are compelled to learn--it's a design feature for human survival. Adolescents' passion just bubbles out all over. The more mature dancer converts that openness to determination and staying power and is less flash but no less flame-remember the blind Alonso, the arthritic Cunningham and Dunham, and hundreds more who continue to pour their passion for the art into our community.

Carla Maxwell's dance life has shown itself not only in a passion for the body but for the body of work that is the Jose Limon legacy. Not an old, dead heritage, but a sort of molten foundation that bubbles up into new awarenesses and modern devising. Not an infatuation for the next new thing; but continuity that is built on knowledge and honor of the past, indelible resolve, and successful survival tactics.
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Article Details
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Author:Patrick, K.C.
Publication:Dance Magazine
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Jul 1, 2003
Words:508
Previous Article:Attitudes.
Next Article:Championing the tall. (Letters).


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