Taste it. What do you experience?
Admit it, it’s embarrassing. There is a taste of enthusiasm, of desire to engage, however always at proper distance. I shiver, when I think about it. Check it out: somebody slides up to you at a party with a hello sexy kind of gaze. After some proper small talk, the mandatory “so what do you do” question pops up. I would lie, say I’m a hairdresser, interior decorator or even that I design furniture, rather than to have to admit: “-I’m a sociologist” or – holy fuckin’ Moses – even worse “-I work in sociology.” I’d rather die, spend the night with Oprah Winfrey without knickers or watch all the films by the guy who did Amores Perros, without breaks, even without a bottle of whiskey to calm my nerves. – – Did you like that film Babel, shame on you SHAME – – This one is even better, what if you – the Sociologist – would slide up to a superbabe and after proper chit chat have to admit you are in fact a sociologist. I mean, what would you do if your date would say something like: “-I’m really interested in people.” Oh my fuckin god, where’s the exit. I mean even if your date were a look-a-like of, what’s his name, Sean Penn – Oh yeah he was the protagonist in the Amores movie. Get out of town.
I believe we have found a little brother to Woody and his psychoanalytical mumbo-jumbo, the kid is known as Sociology, not really interested in minds and identity, but in people. You know people in general without generalization, and the worst of all he is contemporary which is to say he has exchanged ideology for forgiveness, and he forgives to a soundtrack by Gustavo Santaolalla. Now that is seriously fucked up.
It is obvious that theatre makers are in fact just a bunch of failed psychoanalysts, and those are the good ones. The bad ones are more like family therapeuts, common shrinks or, lately, cognitive behavioral therapists. The really good ones, I mean they are of course all very bad, after all they are theatre directors, have probably terminated their practice and spend their time at the university. Those are the really evil ones because they are, you know, undercover, and might like appear, like, interesting to begin with. But don’t worry they are like American serial killers, they really want to be caught. So if you’re smart you will soon detect patterns, signs, combinations. Just remember don’t try to think as they think, it will only make it worse. Just be polite, excuse yourself and disappear. They wont take offense, remember, they have really cool state institutions to fall back on.
What is not so obvious is that almost all dance makers and choreographers, are – I don’t really know which – failed or really successful sociologists. No they are better than that, they are dance makers because they were too embarrassed to work in sociology, but never-the-less they all are. Something has gone terribly wrong with dance, it’s flooded with sociology all over the place. What the fuck happened to abstraction, what’s wrong with seriously homogenous bodies. Give me back some serious geometry (no, I don’t mean Emio Greco, and btw stop stop stop making dance installations, that’s not even sociology, it’s embarrassing and the night side of betrayal of our practice.) Pina Bausch was at least decent enough to do proper field studies (chain smoking and deeply alcoholic), but the contemporary choreographer… and you know they all work with some kind of improvisation, and most of them have no fuckin idea about what choreography is but use every excuse not to have to make any of it, or are using sociological protocols even for that. Help me from those so called dance performances where the executors, oh so personally, already after 20 minutes have danced, talked, sung, played theatre and help me god played some instruments. Dance performances with folk music should be forbidden, especially engaging kletzmer.
With a generous gesture they, the sociologists, offer their dancers to themselves create the choreography, obviously under supervision of the author who through this gesture swears himself free from any kind of responsibility and at the same time produces himself as invincible. The sociologist collects and distributes perfectly balanced pieces in order not to make anybody choke. Sociology is for ladies over 50, oh it makes them feel good. So very good.
They are everywhere – perhaps not in the US – but there are tons of them in Europe. In Berlin, flocks, and they are of course really good in institutional policy – they know people but have no idea about choreography – so all of them are on lifelong contracts with state funded venues. In Belgium the policy is different, so instead they establish private clinics or institutes, tendentially with the result that they forget to do fundamental research and become exactly the media hungry 20 seconds researchers that Bourdieu warned us of.
The sociologist in dance are necessarily anti-intellectual. They are interested in people, in developing and refining a body of knowledge about human social activity, and the goal is always to make our lives less complicated, less fucked up, to give us solace and hope about the human condition. To make us appreciate each other as we really are, to see our real identities behind the masks of the everyday. Fuck off! Dance is not about comfort, it’s not about consolation, not a hand on your shoulder when you cry. Dance is about constructions, its artifice and precision. When Cunningham says: “When I dance I dance there is nothing more to it” – haven’t you understood, that it is not an urgency for authenticity or body, it is a celebration of becoming inhuman, to become blank.
Cunningham didn’t engage in eastern practices to become a softy and move to San Francisco, no it was in order to get away from the all too human modes of composition etc including heterosexual dominance that we operate through in the west.
Hey, you guys that nowadays talk about how hard and angular Cunningham’s material really was, with an attached OMG. Get it, that’s what makes him bearable, and that’s where Bill Forsythe lost it. Fuckin sociologist. Come on, stop that improvisation nonsense, you just want to be loved, go back to the neoclassical and deconstructed, that was at least hard and didn’t excuse itself or its academic self-obsession.
The really bad ones, those that one would call hobby sociologists are those that defend the body as something that carries another knowledge, some other I don’t know what capacity to open our petit subjects to a bigger “you know what I mean”. Those that obsessively search for practices that produce states, that go visit shamans or think that BMC or authentic movement will make you richer than if you engage yourself in reason or thought. Those are bad. No there is one worse type, the self-sociologist, or the kind of dance maker that is interested in people as long as it equals himself.
Think about it, the next time you sail up to that Ashton Kutcher type gorgeous, or slide inbetween Angelina and Cameron, is it really appropriate that you respond with dance maker or choreographer, or – hand on your heart – is it time that you face the fact: You are a sociologist.