michael j. morris


Love in Dance, Violence, and Intimacy
25 January, 2010, 11:07 am
Filed under: art, creative process, Dance | Tags: , , , , ,

This weekend I had the distinct pleasure of seeing my dear friend CoCo. It seems that without fail CoCo has a way of shifting or adding to my perspective of my own work. Saturday evening amidst the revelry of a birthday party, she referred to my documentation/description of the process of “Autumn Quartet” and mentioned her realization that throughout all of what I’ve written, there is no mention of love.

I have to admit, I was a little stunned. I thought of the Love Art Laboratory, and how I hold them as such icons, such inspirations for my work. Their stated purpose is to create work that explore, generates, and celebrates love. Their work served as a significant inspiration for this piece; I am particularly moved by what I perceive to be a sensational integration of life and art in their lives, and as I initiated this piece, I think it was my goal to synthesize or replicate some aspect of that integration. I am not convinced that I succeeded in this intention (I’m not even sure that I know/knew what the realization of that intention would look like), but certainly the piece has become something, something full of content and implications and complexity and contradiction, orbiting around increasingly pronounced topics/themes. I can be pleased with that.

So now there is this question of “love.” Where is love in this composition of implication/explication, violence, sexuality, undressing, power dynamics, etc.? I think my immediate response is that I don’t know how to choreograph love. I’ve figured out ways to choreograph these other elements, but I don’t know if I can compose or orchestrate love. And yet I think that we love each other. I know that I love Erik, Eric, and Amanda, and I know that the process of this piece has been a significant contributor to the cultivation of that love . . . and yet I never set out to make that a goal. I don’t feel responsible for whatever love we feel for one another . . . instead, I feel responsible for creating a space, a situation, in which relationships occur. They could have gone any way . . . this process could have made us despise one another, perhaps. Or maybe not . . . so much of it has been about intimacy and trust, knowing one another in intimate and corporeal ways. Maybe when we dare to engage another person like that, love is inevitable? It that too utopian? Is it even accurate?

When I was talking with Beth and Annie in San Francisco, I remember talking about the space between sex and love, and Annie said, “Well, all sex is love.” Beth responded, “No, it isn’t. Not necessarily. Some sex is just fucking.” I think the conclusion that we came to was that even “just fucking” had the potential to be a kind of love. Love has many forms.

It makes me think of a short story I read last week by Amy Bloom entitled “Love is Not a Pie.” A crucial moment in the story comes when it is revealed that a woman has two loves, her husband and their friend who is also her lover. She explains to her daughter that love is not a pie; it is not something that is sectioned off and dolled out. It is different with each person, for her husband, for her lover, for each of her daughters, etc. Love is big and diverse. “Just fucking” may be a kind of love. Dancing and biting and undressing may be kinds of love.

Maybe love is another implication in the piece that could use explication? Maybe that’s another consideration for the growth/development of the piece. How do we forefront love along with violence and sex and intimacy?

We only have four more “rehearsals” for the piece. We’ll only do it four more times. I entirely expect that it has already changed, already transformed. I expect this consideration of love may shift/change it further. And I fully expect further observations/revelations/recognitions to occur in the process. At the end of the quarter, it will not be the same as it has been.

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1 Comment so far
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I wonder if taking care of one another is a kind of love. Personally, when approaching someone in a ‘terminal’ position, there’s a kind of tenderness and a desire to take care of/relieve them and also encourage them back to the group-space. I suppose this is in line with my emotions mixed between feeling as a community and more introspective loneliness within the work. Just a thought…

Comment by Erik




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