Wednesday, January 29, 2014

How Hubbard Street Communicates

“So what did you think of Hubbard Street?” I asked the Bard. On my last outing to the street I had invited the Bard to join me, which had required some changing about of my season tickets. Hubbard’s ticket people worked very patiently with me and were able to accommodate my request completely to allow us girls to sit in a little triumvirate in a still-good location on the stage, although not as nice as “my” seats. Still good though.

“Oh, I enjoyed it.”

“Do you think the Electrician will want to come?”

“Oh yes. See, this is the thing. I tried to explain it to him, but this is the thing. People think the ballet is stuffy, or that you can’t enjoy it because you may not understand it, but that’s just the thing; it’s impossible not to understand it. It’s so primal. Pure expression, it's universally accessiblenot stuffy at all.”

“Almost archtypical, really,” I chimed in.

“But not just that, it’s the way they tell the stories with their bodies. Their bodies speak all the words you need; the story is in the flow of their flesh on stage; you don’t need an interpreterit’s impossible not to understand. Understanding is lost when you try to assume you won’t get it, or can’t get it because it’s difficult. It’s not difficult. It’s right there. That’s why I got so upset with the storytelling thing.”

“Oh, that.”

I admit, it was strange to be in the middle of the dance and have one of the dancers suspended from the ceiling telling a love story that was not a story, not purposeful, conveyed no meaning, and did not enhance the show in any way. It was out of place, strange, and almost diametrically opposed to the purpose of the dance, which was to convey thought without words; communicate to a slice of our humanity that was rarely spoken to, the id, living behind the veil, reading the words of expression, the sound and flight of the story that was told through gesture, breath, inhalation, exhalation, sweat on skin, the press of blood on the surface, and the flutter of the heart and eye.

“That’s why it made me so angry. It was unnecessary. The story is there, it’s not complicated. It's there to see it. You don’t have to say it, you just need to see it, to let it be, to let it breathe, to let it be what it is supposed to be without forcing it. That’s the point. Now I understand why people go to the ballet.”

“It is different, though,” I responded, “from just the ballet. I mean this is a somewhat less-stuffy dance. The ballet can lend an air of pretension to the story that's being told, where this is more animistic, something different. Something real.”

“Yes, and no. It’s just, I mean, like Black Swan manages to show how it is visceral. How it communicates.”

“True.”

“No, I get it now. I think the Electrician will enjoy it to.”

“Good.”

The next show would include Le Petite Morte. I was quite excited.

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