michael j. morris


These Pleasures Instead of Others

Not being a believer in the concept of “should” or “should not,” I can hardly say that I should be doing other things. There is certainly work to get done that I am neglecting in favor of other pleasures. I am presenting a paper on the negotiation of gender in the choreography of Bronislava Nijinska at the 2009 Midwest Slavic Studies Conference in April, and that paper is still in need of revision. It will serve as a component of a panel in which I am participating entitled “Aspects of the Ballets Russes,” with colleague Hannah Kosstrin. 

There is also the work of the new solo I am choreographing entitled “Red Monster,” which I discussed in an earlier post. I am not sure when this piece will be premiered, but there is an adjudicated concert at OSU in June, and the adjudication is on 4 April. I may attempt to have the piece presentable by then.

But instead, I have given myself over to other pleasures. The pleasures of today include perusing the Fall Ready-to-Wear lines and reading Nico Muhly’s blog

I have recently become obsessed with Muhly’s music. I heard the soundtrack for The Reader and became smitten. Then I explored some of his earlier works, and today purchased Mothertongue in its entirety from iTunes. I recommend all of his work. It bounces around personal references like Meredith Monk, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, and Arvo Pärt. Today, it is my only listening pleasure.

The Fall lines. I have to say, as always, I am mostly disappointed by the men’s lines (not to mention the larger philosophical objection to lines like “men” and “women”). I don’t know why it is that for the most part the bodies of men are somehow perceived and displayed as shapeless. I don’t know how anyone can examine the male form and come to the conclusion that it is composition of loosely tapered cylinders. Yet that seems to be implied by so many collections of jackets and coats and slacks. And there’s something else: the forms are all so . . . closed. Guarded. Shielded. Prada even made a comment about her line being about survival and strength. And I just want to shout, “It’s been done!” Men portrayed as strong survivors? groundbreaking. So I suppose I’ll begin by sharing the few pieces for men that struck me, then follow with the far more interesting women’s lines:

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costume national

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hermes

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hermes

Oh, that was it for the men.
Onto women’s (also see previous post with a few images): 

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prada

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prada

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christian lacroix

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philip lim

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philip lim

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akris

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vera wang

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vera wang

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christian dior

So lovely. I should say that all images are from style.com

I hope you enjoy my pleasures for today. Perhaps I will begin to give attention to Nijinska and “Red Monster” this evening. Or perhaps tomorrow.



Inspiration for today

Sometimes I worry that when I post in such rapid succession that no one reads the posts before. At the same time, I only know of two or three people who are reading anyway . . . and I am trying to honor this space as a “public creative platform” as much as it is forum for discussion and ideas. So I wanted to post a few inspirations from today; I hope you read the other recent posts as well:

First, an article I stumbled across that feeds PERFECTLY into the research I am doing concerning the presentation of gender in dance, historically and in the present. It is called “The Travesty Dancer in Nineteenth-Century Ballet” by Lynn Garafola. You can find it on JSTOR here. I am certain ideas will spark from this article. It discusses the rise of female travesty dancers (cross-dressers, in this case, women dressing/performing as men) in the Romantic ballet in France and England. Already I am curious how sexuality may have played a role in this shift . . . the over-feminization of the female in the Romantic ballet, the exile of the male dancer, to installment of female dancers in male roles, all concurrent with the rise of institutionalized prostitution in the professional ballet theaters. I am wondering if the exclusion of the male dancer and his replacement with female dancers was a response to the sexual desires of the desirous male audiences, many of whom were seeking assignations with the ballerinas.

Inspiration from different areas (not devoid of gendered content):
Fashion. The Spring Couture lines have been released. I finally got a chance to look them over. Here are just a few things that stood out to me:

Christian Lacroix 
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lacroix_spring09_001
Christian Dior
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dior_spring09_002
dior_spring09_003 

 

Armani
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Gaultier
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And photos by Adam Pretty of gold medalist Olympic diver, Matthew Mitcham:
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 matthew_mitcham2

 

Just stunning. There may be an unfolding dichotomy/discussion in the depiction/perception of kinaesthtics (kinesthetic-aesthetics) in fields like dance, fashion, and sports . . . and how this may relate to gender. In reading Dancing Desires recently, the dichotomy was presented that men in dance are generally considered feminine, whereas women in sports are generally considered masculine. It was the first time I became aware of this potential parallel. I’m not sure this “inspiration” post contributes any to this discussion, but there are elements here: women in dance who dress/behave/move like men (in dance, who are already considered feminine; so many layers of gender construction there . . .), women in fashion, and these incredibly graceful portraits of a truly great male athlete. Maybe just by posting these here in this collection I am contributing to the discussion, even if only in my own thought processes . . .

Hope you are inspired today.