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Kamarck, Edward (ed.) / Arts in society: growth of dance in America
(Summer-Fall, 1976)

Carter, Curtis L.
The dancer: [a dance-choreographer speaks: and interview with James Cunningham],   pp. [254]-261 PDF (8.6 MB)


Page 261


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


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