Still/This Debate

by ashleyandersondances

The internet (and my e-mail account) has been blowing up with news about NBC cutting choreography from what was aired in America from the Olympic Opening Ceremonies in London. Here is a link that tells all about it.

I can’t help but think of the great debates of Bill T. Jones’s “Still/Here” while I announce on this blog that I didn’t find it to be a particularly good dance, nor have I enjoyed his body of work.  Some people did and do enjoy that work and that’s great, I love discussing that. But I lament that the conversation will never become about the merits of Akram’s choreography or his body of work, instead the conversation will only be about whether the mainstream media made a good choice in choosing to air David Beckham in a tuxedo rather than modern dance.

The idea that because it’s “about” terrorism victims it’s more worthy of air-time is also suspect as much press coverage reveals that the content of the dance was not necessarily announced in a direct way and that’s because dances are rarely evocative of one message, as any practitioner of them is well aware.

Maybe it is sad that the media undercuts some of the more potent artistic endeavors to instead air an interview with Michael Phelps. But I hate to point out that Michael Phelps, and not art-making, it precisely what the Olympics are about. And while I wish more people had seen it my reasoning is that if more people had seen it we could all be having a conversation about the content of the work rather than the responsibility of the media. Back to “Still/Here” you’ll find that no one ever addressed what the dance was like, what Arlene Croce was missing (or not missing) by refusing to watch it, and instead it’s heralded as dance resisting expectations. And it’s still, regrettably, only small circles of us talking about that, or this.



3 Comments to “Still/This Debate”

  1. Funny you should say that the Olympics isn’t about art, given that I just heard this on the radio:

    I agree that Khan’s choreograph isn’t that strong, although I do think that it speaks well of Great Britain that they would choose a legitimate choreographer to feature rather than Kenny Ortega (of High School Musical fame) who choreographed Mitt Romney’s Olympic Ceremonies which I participated in as a fourteen year old.

  2. The 30 seconds that one can access of Khan’s Olympic piece was gorgeous — who knows where it went from there. England’s opening ceremonies were generally boring, disjointed, and the filming was a mess. It had none of the power and organization of the drummers that impressed me in Beijing.

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