Thursday, October 15, 2009
I performed Martha Graham's "Lamentation" in Paul Besaw's Dance History & Legends class this morning. I hadn't spent time with it in since last February, and coming back to it I realize: must understand better what I am doing. I can't just be doing Martha Graham - not to imply, Martha, that you are just anything. When doing a work as famous as this, there is a complex layering of identity and purpose. And then there are the images and movement contained, suspended in the fabric of the work itself. This is fundamentally what to get at - this is what Martha was getting at. The first time around I was just trying to get at her.
So here I am, trying to get into the seams - in the backdoor - down to the bedrock - of Lamentation. I am just beginning, but think Lamentation might be good done on a rock. Or it is the rock. The shapes are like caves, the core is powerful, solid. Skin and rock, seams and fissures, wounds gaping, wounds hidden. Wombs hidden. The first shape, a mound of the dancer, folded on herself by the seams - is a deep purple mountain.
Here is Lamentation in whole, performed by Peggy Lyman.