MOVIE DANCING, NOT DANCE
Recently I have seen two movies, each with dancing. I say dancing instead of dance. The movies are KILLER OF SHEEP and THE EXILES.
In the first, KILLER OF SHEEP, a couple, terribly separated emotionally by their difficult circumstance, barely moves in a slow dance. The woman wants her man and he is unable to respond. The sequence is long, the length of a song. The dancing has no beginning. Our attention is not grabbed. There are no steps. There is no finale.
Even as a dancer I have always preferred the non-dance. Dance is positions and choreography. I must note here that Nureyev, Graham, Cunningham and the like, do not finish in poses. A great dancer moves through a dance. Even when Nureyev struck an ending you still felt his reach.
Dancing is luscious and emergent.
In THE EXILES, Rico shows off in the bar for the woman he wants. He is humorous and subtle. He makes the occasional flourish. He has no plan. And in another section, the Indians escape from the bar to Hill X where tribal sounds and movements start to leak out of them. Their stifled release is disturbing and magnificent.
Dance is all around us. Sadly, the striking of positions pleases and blinds the crowd. Adulation of posers is a celebration of exhibitionism.
But in KILLER OF SHEEP and THE EXILES dancing mesmerizes us with absolute truth. You cannot pinpoint a beginning or an end to dancing.