Murray Louis: dance as art and work
by Eos3011 on June 9, 2009“Good” is not the word! “Bad” is not the word! “Immediacy” is the word! A personality is given in a book as if in person. Murray Louis is always a craftsman and here, put into words, is the creative man himself. in his book, On Dance, he choreographs words to present his meaning. He answers vital questions: “Who am I?” “What am I?” “What am I doing?” “What is dance?”
Can we return to “la Belle Epoque” with its Grand Manner? Murray tells us about the Grand Manner, even if he is a union man and not an aristocrat. Wait a while! He is one of the aristocrats of excellence. He has won accolades for his creative work.
Of special interest in his view of the dancer’s soul in dance. On page 123 he says, “The goal is artistry, transcendence. OK? Now let’s do it again. It is easier with an athlete whose muscles are attached to the bone, but with the dancer they are attached to the soul. They penetrate the memory banks.”
This passage speaks to kinesthetic awareness of the dancer having a body as its instrument of artistic expression. To praise a dance one can say it moves. More than that, the dancers exhibit intelligible form in a work of art. They know where their bodies are and they know what they are saying with their bodies through a composition of a choreographer.
Art is an element of civility and Murray sees this fact when he says on page 160, “One of the definitions of civilization is continuity.” Civility is a goal of a liberally educated person and a tradition of dance among the fine arts gives continuity to this civility. Murray Louis is an artist who has enlarged and enhanced this tradition to benefit us all. Besides, he is an excellent writer, a feat demonstrated in his book.
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