Thursday, December 23, 2010

American Antiquarian Society.....almost

No, it's not the same as actually getting the fellowship, but I was selected as an alternate for this year's Fellowship for Creative Writers and Performers at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Massachusetts. Maybe next year?

In the meantime, I hope to travel to the Society in January to do research on my fiction project about Ralph Waldo Emerson's 19th century trip up the Nile to visit the famed Temple at Philae (left, from the Description d'le Egypte in Wikipedia) For travel reading, I also picked up Robert D. Richardson's excellent book on Emerson's writing process titled First We Read, Then We Write. Emerson's writing philosophy is best summed up in his own words: "...the way to write is to throw your body at the mark when all of your arrows are spent."

Class Videos for NYU Students

Happy winter everyone! Here are links to this semester's routines expertly filmed from a trusty folding chair tripod on a chilly December afternoon in the Village:

Level One classes at NYU:

Level Two classes at NYU:

Classes resume the last week of January. Dance wherever you are in the meantime....

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Mr. Beller's Neighborhood: How to Be a Staircase

My memoir/story about my harrowing adventures as a fledgling staircase while assisting my Butoh teacher Maureen Fleming is the "Story of the Week" on Mr. Beller's Neighborhood. Please read "How to Be a Staircase" and comment on their site! And also, go to Maureen's show "Dances from Home" on Dec. 25 and 31. (Photo by Lois Greenfield)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Gilded Serpent: Mohamed El Hosseny

Gilded Serpent has just published my account of the workshop taught by Mohamed El Hosseny (sponsored by Nourhan Sharif) during this summer's heat wave. It was great fun! Click here for the story: Mohamed El Hosseny: "More is...More!"

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

New Republic: Refuting (or Trying to Refute) Said

On New Republic blog, Martin Peretz's recent jabs at Edward Said are almost too annoying to highlight, and yet buried in Peretz's chest thumping is his pointing fingers at Arab collectors and enthusiasts of Orientalist art. Peretz claims it is ironic that Arabs are the newest fans and supporters of the Orientalism Said tried to identify. The problem for me is that Peretz falls into the common trap of assuming Said wished to vilify this aesthetic. My understanding is that Said wished to label and identify varying aesthetics so that commonalities between peoples become clearer and more accurate. The uneven power structures that he spoke out against were bolstered by the West's aesthetic habit and practice of making "the East" a romantic blur, easily understood, and simple. With this observation about the popularity of Orientalist art in the Arab cultures, Peretz makes a weird intellectual leap to this situation being a "refutation" of Said's theories. If Arabs buy this art, how can it be "Orientalist"? A simplistic argument on every level.
So here is the connection with Orientalish. Frequently dancers aspire accepted or applauded by Arab audiences, friends, or perhaps relatives as a way of achieving "legitimacy." There is a weird subservience to "approval." One group's support or admiration is different from the others; and at the same time, those seeking legitimacy (in dancing) are making money either way. Peretz doesn't go into who is making the most profit out of these traveling exhibits. He changes the focus instead to distasteful jabs at Said's place of burial. Creepy.
The article: Another Refutation of the "Orientalist" Disputations of Edward Said.

Here is the article: