Some little girls grow up, and dream of becoming a Prima Ballerina. Often, in their minds, this is a mystical creature-adult, an almost impossible feat to enact and become, but a goal nonetheless. Some boys wish to become a Star Quarterbacks. Here, this is the same deal, a quarterback is a conglomeration of a rarity of skill, talent, and ability—yet the character, the role, the person, the idea is still a goal. These “personhood/career” goals are interesting to me, because they serve an individual with a source of motivation, and focus for work.
For me, my “Prima Ballerina” is a Cunningham Dancer. Not Merce himself, no, but “a Cunningham Dancer”—to me that is someone of great focus, skill, commitment (to Merce’s intense processes, and then some…), clarity, unadornment, intellectualism, athleticism, eloquence and focus. A Cunningham Dancer is generous with his or her soul, and is open and committed to line, curve, clarity, and he or she is absent of distraction—because, they are distraction, they are art, a prime artifact of human expression and potential.
Sometimes I think of all the great Cunningham dancers, and in my mind, I put them together to create a sort-of mythic being of “Cunningham Dancer”—a role for me to aspire to, for motivation and focus. I like to think of myself as a dancer in pursuit of being a Cunningham Dancer. Though I know the company is disbanded, and technically it is impossible to be such a dancer, I still think it is possible in my heart and practice. And, that is good.