Kamarck, Edward (ed.) / Arts in society: growth of dance in America
Carter, Curtis L.
The dancer: [a dance-choreographer speaks: and interview with James Cunningham], pp. -261 PDF (8.6 MB)
about the different kinds of effort shapes- the whole experience and the whole range of movement through gliding, floating, ringing, pressing, thrusting, tapping, flicking-that children are encouraged to explore their whole range. One of the things I'm always doing is stressing to everyone that they have this huge range, vocally and physi- cally, in terms of strength, in terms of delicacy, and that it's just waiting for them to play on it like a keyboard, and that it is silly to restrict themselves to just a little area. It reminds me of what my psychiatrist some- times used to say to me. It was a quote from Auntie Marne: "Life is a banquet and most poor sons of bitches are starving to death." I think that's perfectly true. One is aware as a child that life is a banquet. Therefore, we should encourage children to improvise, to learn that using many forms of movement and sound can be a good thing. And then to teach technique with that, but always to put the stress on the creative energy of the individual and not just turn a child into a little soldier who imitates you doing pirouettes or whatever. I think that psychologically that just does not result in the freeing of the child's creative energy. The real influence on me as a child, from the time I was about eight until I was about twenty-one, was a very amazing woman in Toronto whom I worked with. She was involved in doing very much what I'm inter- ested in, this whole total theatre thing, involv- ing singing and dancing and acting. She made a tremendous impact on me and on a number of other children. She reinforced my predilection as a child for just playing-for being different animals and different kinds of people and all of that. She was a major influ- ence. Now as for others. As I said before, I definitely think of Lewis Carroll as a real influence. I love Alice and I see a great deal in those books. There is, too, the stimulus of yoga and psychotherapy, which I mentioned. And also the many things I learned in the theatre. I think Graham has had an influence on me. I love her sense of the whole world, and I love the passion of it. It gets to me, really-and more than, say, Merce Cunning- ham's work which I find much more intellec- tual and rather dry. And Shakespeare: I'm obviously not alone in seeing his great genius. Lj Maisie Paradocks, Barbara Ellmann, dancer. Photo by Joel Gordon. 261