Tag Archives: Dance

Dancing Across Borders

Having been to Cambodia, I have a soft spot for the country, its people and its culture. I came across this movie that talks about a young Cambodian dancer and his journey to becoming a professional ballet dancer. It’s an unusual and incredible story. Dancing Across Borders!

You can see the streaming movie through Netflix.

Four Saints in Three Acts – A Mark Morris performance at BAM

I just came back from a Mark Morris performance tonight at BAM. Here’s a quick clip on “Four Saints in Three Acts”. The second piece was called “A Choral Fantacy” with music by Beethoven, Fantasia in C Minor for Piano, Chorus and Orchestra. The costume was designed by Isaac Mizrahi. I do like music choices by Mark Morris as always. However, tonight’s performance lacks the edge.

I liked an older work of his.

L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato

Mozart Dances


I just came back from watching Beijing Dance Theater‘s debut performance in the US in BAM. For this dance, I liked the bare stage and the minimal lighting approach. The silver gray tights complements it. The unique spongy flooring where the dancers tumbled and rolled around was interesting, but reminded me a bit too much of gymnastic floor exercise. There were some nice movements, the one I liked the most was where the dancers flipped around smoothly with their arms and legs arched. It’s great to see mainland China is progressing in the more abstract form of dance. Given the theatrical and athletic tradition, it will be interesting to watch its development.

Here’s a video sample of the program. What do you think?

“Haze” run through Oct, 22, 2011 at 7:30pm at BAM Harvey Theater.

Before you can think out of the box, you have to start with a box

Really? Doesn’t the box constrain one’s creativity?

In Chapter 5 of Twyla Tharp’s book “The Creative Habit”, she talks about how she starts with a physical storage box and put all sorts of ideas, inspirations, research, notes, clippings in it. She says the box represents “a commitment”, “a goal”.

(photo courtesy of Anna Peisl)

I can see where she’s coming from. When I took the Accessory Design class in FIT, my professor would give us the assignment to create a collection of shoes, handbags and belts based on a historical figure. One of the exercises the professor asked us to do was to sketch 25 drawings of handbags, then pick 2 out of 25, then “knock off” our own 2 drawings to 60 drawings and finally pick 6 out of the 60. These 6 drawings will then be developed into full color sketches, portfolio layouts and finally production specifications. At that point, I would also limit the number of colors and textures I use to about 3-4. This way of contraction and expansion forced me to focus, to push the creative edge in order to avoid the symptoms of too many “choices” and “options”. I definitely resonate with what she says here.

If you have not tried it, give it a try. It’s a self discovery exercise.

“That’s the true value of the box: It contains your inspirations without confining your creativity.”

- Twyla Tharp

Fall for Dance!

It’s fall in New York…Back to school, Back to work, and Back to culture!

For me, it’s Back to Dance!

I love to watch modern dance. Here are some of my favorite programs this fall.

Joyce Theater (tickets from $10 and above)

  • Morphoses
  • Chunky Move
  • Complexions
  • Momix
  • JinXing Dance Theater of Shanghai

City Center

  • Fall for Dance Festival (All tickets are $10 and it gets sold out fast!)
  • American Ballet Theater (dances by Twyla Tharp, Merce Cunningham, and Paul Taylor)
  • Kings of the Dance

Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

  • Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan
  • Beijing Dance Theater
  • Merce Cunningham Dance Company
One thing I noticed for this fall is the number of Chinese dance companies. It’s pleasing to see the thriving art scenes developing in China these years.

Follow the routine, get a creative payoff… It’s Pavlovian

Continue on to Chapter 2, Twyla talks about fear and distractions as obstacles for creativity. It certainly resonates with me. My friends would tell you that I am the queen of procrastination. At times I get easily distracted and seemingly wanting to be distracted and wait for the last minute to complete the task. I feel that I perform better under pressure, but I’m sure I could be more productive…

Chapter 2

rituals of preparation

When I walk into the white room I am alone, but I am alone with my:

     body   ambition   ideas   passions
     needs   memories   goals   prejudices
     distractions   fears

undecided © Ebru Sidar

When you selected the environment that works for you,
developed the start-up ritual that impels you forward every day,
faced down your fears, and put your distractions in their proper place,
you have cleared the first hurdle. 

You have begun to prepare to begin.

It's my algebra of self-reliance

There are no “natural” geniuses

I picked up Twyla Tharp‘s “The Creative Habit” book from the library this weekend. I had wanted to read it for sometime now. I was intrigued at the subtitle that says “A Practical Guide”. Can you teach someone to be creative? Being trained in science and math in school, fashion and arts later on, I always compared and contrasted the different ways of teaching and evaluation. I have my views, but I wanted to hear what she says and see where it takes me…

Chapter 1

I walk into a white room

I walk into a large white room...the room is empty. 

There are no "natural" geniuses 

         In order to be creative you have to know
                     how to prepare to be creative

If art is the bridge between what you see in your mind
and what the world sees,
then skill is how you build that bridge.

         Everything is raw material.
                   Everything is relevant.
                             Everything is usable.

Creativity will become your habit.