Years ago, way back in 1984-85, I spent a year involved in one of the most important relationships in my life. Now that I live in Pasadena, I have now and then driven past the home located near Orange Grove and Colorado Blvd where much of this joy took place.

works2.gifWhen I see this home in the present, floods of memories fill me. I thought of music I’d written on Judd’s piano, of my play Tracks which I edited while laying on Gregory’s bed, I thought of the intense emotional feelings of joy spending weekends with Gregory (treating the Pasadena residence as the West Hollywood version of going out to the country for the weekend), and of course, I thought of a Judd’s New Years Eve Party; and also Judd’s well known and beloved Christmas parties, many of which I was actively involved, or his quarterly Musicales.

Both Judd and Gregory are gone now, so all that I can do is relive these moments of joy, but I thought I’d share a snippet from my journal written just after the new year of 1985, recounting some of the details from New Year’s Eve of 1984. After reading the entry, I soon realized that these moments are personal, and would not be as enjoyable to someone who did not personally know the parties involved.

As I continued to scroll down the journal I came across some comments I had made about dance. As I am quite involved at present in the study of theology, I found these comments quite interesting as in some ways I was already speaking the language I, at least at school, am writing about today. I thought I’d share them:

February, 1985

Nothing much exciting to report, no great parties, or interesting anecdotes except that I came up a rather philosophical approach to the art of choreography while dancing with a nice young man at Rage last Monday night. When I told him I was a choreographer, he told me he was embraced. I told him to not feel uncomfortable and to go on with his wiggle. He laughed and thought it amusing that I used the word wiggle. I said a wiggle could be wonderful if it were placed at the correct moment. I said look at a cork, a plain ordinary cork. It’s this basic object, but when popped out of a champagne bottle it denotes a grand occasion, and the cork now has meaning as it held in the excitement of the moment. The same can be said for a wiggle. Done at the correct moment it can be a great device which means something. He looked at me rather puzzled, and called me a philosopher-choreographer.

Now that I think about it, a few days later, a choreographer must have some of these qualities in their art. A choreographer’s life is spent in the realm of sound, patterns, motion and rhythm. In order to explain the process would be quite futile, but we can have a philosophy of movement. We can have definite values connected with our creative rights, and principles. I do, and can express them verbally.

Since dance and the art of choreography are basically metaphoric, we can use analogies to explain it. Even music, which is a basic absolute in abstraction, can be explained in mathematical terms. Dance, on the other hand, is a true abstraction because we use music as a basis in creation, much like a painter uses a background, or a sense of color to portray an emotional response from the viewer. I feel a choreographer must treat the dancer as a moving work of sculptor, and at times, try to paint not only the music, but the form as well. This is truly metaphorical.

Maybe in art, what one says, or how one says it which is important, maybe it’s the manner, and the approach to a work which will show substance in art. Without concept, dance would be a group of organized steps leading to obliteration. Choreography is, and can be much more. I feel giving a step to a dancer is not the art; knowing WHEN to give the step to the dancer to elicit the prime viewer response is critical in the fuller expression within time, and space, and emotion.