The Dance Enthusiast's Social Distance Dance Video Series: Henning Rübsam's "An einsamer Quelle" and more....
One of the pleasures of creating a vehicle like The Dance Enthusiast has been meeting many people who I would never have been able to previously. Another, perhaps deeper pleasure, has been broadening my understanding of people I've known for years.
Ever since I came to New York City to dance in the late 80s , I would run across this fellow from Germany called Henning Rübsam. I would see him in a class, or notice him in the lobby of a show we had both seen. He might be working as a press agent for a show I was in, working with another dancer I knew, or standing out in a bright printed shirt at a panel on dance writing.
It is only since starting this communications project that I have come to appreciate the extent of Henning's knowledge and passion for dance, life, and community. He is a true enthusiast and more importantly, my friend.
I hope you enjoy his offering to our Social Video Dance Series. Its gentleness and poignancy brought tears to my eyes. As Henning says in the interview below, "To touch, hug, caress, kiss, fondle... human touch can never be overrated." We look forward to a time when we can all be together and touch again.
The Dance Enthusiast: Can you tell us a bit about the film clip you shared with us?
Henning Rübsam: An einsamer Quelle could be translated as "At the solitary spring" or the secluded or lonely well.
It is set to a "tone poem" by Richard Strauss and I think of my response as a movement poem.
It is a quiet piece that does not even last five minutes. A pas de deux.
Two beings discover one another and marvel at the other's beauty and delight in the delicate joy of touch.
At the end they both rest slightly apart as if to relish and reflect on the moment each one just experienced, yet they are close enough for us to imagine them coming together again.
I had to resort to calling my youtube channel "DanceArtJoy" since "sensedance" was already taken.
Now I am happy that my company has this outlet.
Last Sunday's quartet "And there was Morning" (to original music by composer Beata Moon) might give us all hope for a new day:
The Dance Enthusiast: J. How are you? How is your family? And how are you handling staying at home?
It was supposed to be a short trip down to Austin... I choreographed a new work to Copland's Second Symphony for the Texas Academy of Ballet when the NYC mayor announced that schools and restaurants would be closing. The academy's director, Carolyn Bognar, who has been a trusted friend and mentor for many years, took one look at me and without saying a word we decided I was not going back to New York.
Now I am in an isolated location far away from any big city. While I have to make do with the contents of the small carry-on bag I had taken from NYC, I am grateful. I am in touch with family and friends, including my press agent Audrey Ross, on a daily basis.
Everything feels like a very strange dream at the moment and my thoughts are with friends back home in NYC.
My recipe for inner peace: I place an imaginary friend in the other rocking chair across from me on my veranda and have the most stimulating conversations. I have become a good listener.
The Dance Enthusiast: How are you communicating with friends /family and those not in your home?
Since I am completely isolated, all my interactions are via my mobile phone and the ridiculous number of apps that people use.
I have been teaching my Juilliard dance history classes online, but otherwise have stayed away from online courses, group meets and internet happenings. Good old phone conversations are the most satisfying. Listening is a forgotten art.
The Dance Enthusiast: What are you doing about "moving" and "nutrition" at home? How do you stay in physical, mental, spiritual shape?
I have the privilege to go on long daily solitary walks through beautiful nature. My little phone has helped me find music I always wanted to listen to but never made the time for.
Dancing without thinking of it as an exercise is balm for the soul and happens to keep me in shape.
Since my place does not have a kitchen, I resort to grapefruit, cashews, apples, bananas, and avocados with corn chips. And yes, there is some not so healthy take out food which balances it out.
I share my sadness and grief for the loss of lives with my friends. Realizing that we are going through this nightmare together - even though we are many miles (or just a few blocks) apart from one another - makes it bearable.
The Dance Enthusiast: What keeps your spirit up right now?
I am celebrating the gift of life (with enough toilet paper in my bathroom).
Honestly, I am enjoying each day - and without being maudlin, the situation reminds me of that eerie scene in Werner Herzog's Nosferatu when Isabelle Adjani comes to an opulently set table and a gentleman asks her if she'd like to join them for a drink. He says, "we all have the plague. It is the first time we enjoy every day we have left."
It is at the end of this clip:
The Dance Enthusiast: What are you most looking forward to when this is over?
To touch, hug, caress, kiss, fondle, and everything else down that path. If this sounds frivolous, so be it. But honestly: human touch can never be overrated.
The Dance Enthusiast: What would you like to say to your colleagues, your audiences, and our readers?
To my colleagues: We all lost work and many of us have lost friends. I send you love and I thank you for your creativity, authenticity, and for being there for one another as colleagues, mentors, and friends. You make me proud to be one of you.
To my audience: Please enjoy the SENSEDANCE videos and help my company put on the next performance so we can rejoice when this is behind us. I look forward to your feedback and comments. I am grateful for your support.
To the readers of The Dance Enthusiast : Thank you for being part of this movement. The dance world needs your enthusiasm.
To all: You can find me as "sensedancer" on insta. Be in touch. I'd love to hear from you.