It takes a lot of time to make art, that is to ponder, to experiment with half-baked ideas, to consider one solution against another, to decide which way a work should go and how to deal with a new thought that has emerged in the process. When I think of all the wonderful people who have shared their knowledge with me and who have given me the benefit of their friendship, I am reminded of this harsh obligation to combine artistic imperatives with practical necessities. But Amagatsu’s theatre was something more intangible, like the air we breathe, there was such delicacy in his work: With Two Feet, an exhilarating two-hour work that brought audiences to their feet for the opening weekend of the Adelaide Festival, acclaimed Australian choreographer Meryl Tankard has added another. My ballet experience had emphasised technique, the story and the production of an aesthetic event. Dancers and choreographers must content themselves with what can be done in four weeks or sometimes less. Long before she directed The Piano , Jane knew how to let people be themselves in the space of her own vision.

The book includes 30 black and white photographs of the performances being analysed, nicely reproduced on glossy paper, but surprisingly, none of the authors refers to these photographs in their essays. I often try to tell my dancers that there are so many things to learn, so much to discover. Here was an artistic sensibility entirely new to me. Sometimes I found myself in disagreement with the decisions Pina made, but I was also able to observe how she saw it and feel the necessity that guided her. It is easy to make up steps and phrases and require the dancers to do it just so. They see something which has not yet appeared clearly to us, a possibility that has not been yet realised by us.


meryl tankard essay

It was and I had been with The Australian Ballet for two years, when Anne, then Artistic Director, decided to stage a program of short works by members of the company.

Her movements are jerky, defeated, those of someone struggling in vain to discipline an uncooperative body. When I came back to Australia I realised that she might have been right and also that it was going to be difficult for me. I leafed through its pages again quite recently, as I was thinking about this address.

Great artistic mentors ยป Ausdance | Dance Advocacy

Essaj Osipova plays fellow Russian ballerina Olga Spessivtzeva. Audiences came in huge numbers to see Pina Bausch’s work, but hardly anyone came near the stage door. I had learned so much and had so much to give, but no one seemed to want it.

As she falls, repeatedly, we are witnessing an excruciating beauty unfolding in front of us. For instance, how to turn my childhood ballet classes into tests of endurance during which I realised both the reality of my will power and its limitations.

Not only the natural beauty of Australia, but also its history.

RealTime Arts – Magazine – issue 47 – How to write about the performing body

In its silliness, it is also vaguely menacing. It was difficult to know what she thought.

As it is performed, a work grows, it evolves and unfolds to become what it needs to be. It was this opportunity, or should I say this freedom to perform as a subject rather than as a mere tool in the hands of a stage director, that enabled me to learn so much from the experience of working with Pina.


The instructions are frequently ridiculous, as the girl, net in hand, is instructed how to dance out the capture and eventual release of a large shrimp while acting cute for the audience. The work was incredibly intense but it offered the challenge I wanted, a possibility of going beyond what I knew and what I was.

News Upcoming Events See all News. Peggy too had seen dancers forced to assume damaging positions. I realised that I was less challenged by the work and I had to be on my own. They had no dance vocabulary at all, so they approached movement from a completely different angle and we taught each other something.

And it was only later, when I was able to sit out and watch the work unfold merryl I could at last comprehend what was happening.

In Lindsay Kemp’s company everyone was a star! As soon as I began working with Pina Bausch, I realised that it was going to be a very different ball game. Spessivtzeva was known for her obsessive dance training along the barre.

meryl tankard essay

Some of you will remember that Anne Woolliams resigned from the artistic directorship of the company very shortly after this and that Peggy came back to direct the company throughout In any case, unless we find a way to allow choreographers to take the necessary time for their essah to be developed in the studio, we will be making dances, but they will be all the same dance.

She famously identified with the character, and her interpretation of the role, which includes a tragic scene in which she literally dances herself to death, has remained a fixed reference point for all future Giselles.


It is easy to make up steps and phrases and require the dancers eseay do it just so.

meryl tankard essay

But I was no longer inclined to perform as she wanted. And the point she thought was “to live everything Osipova attempts to master the steps as they are authoritatively delivered via voice-over in English and Russian. I was invited to contribute and I couldn’t wait to begin on my first choreography.

Great artistic mentors

I know that audiences mertl always feel more comfortable with fairies or princesses. Long before she directed The PianoJane knew how to let people be themselves in the space of her own vision.

My mother, however, had known about Dame Peggy all along. When his company came to Australia in I went see it every night.