Tuesday 7 October 2014

Instead Of Dance It's Choreography

Some years ago I had a lively discussion with a friend of my mother's about ballet. She had loaned me a video (told you it was a while ago!) of a performance of Giselle. Now I love my ballet to be traditional. I'm not saying I can't, or don't appreciate, more avant-garde productions, it's just that I like my romantic ballets (of which Giselle is one) to feature all the frothy dresses and beauty of pointe shoes and tutus. This version had the action taking place in a lunatic asylum with tatty cardigans done up the wrong way and bare feet. It was all angular angst.

Yes, it was contemporary and beautifully danced, but I didn't like it. My mother's friend attempted to browbeat me - 'But you're young, you dance....this is innovative culture!' She found it impossible to believe that as a dancer myself, I wouldn't be thrilled to see something modern and different. She is one those people who believes that any art, literature or music has to somehow be difficult and moody to be worthy. If it makes you smile and is hummable, then it really isn't top notch. Not for her the joyous waltzes of Strauss or the genius of Gene Kelly.

This is one way of looking at the Ten of Wands.

 In the RWS we see a chap who is capable, but overloaded with a bundle of Wands. He carries so many he can't even see where he's going. He looks fit (ballet thighs!) and purposeful. Perhaps he has been repeating this trip for a while and doesn't need to see the path, he knows it so well. He takes his task very seriously.

The Wands are full of passion and spirit. From the Ace with its initial spark of inspiration, the Wands have journeyed through their suit with enthusiasm, ambition, creativity and celebration. So why aren't we uplifted with the Ten?

 In the Cosmic Tarot, our chap is on the ground, his Wands are like a cage thwarting any movement beyond them. To me, it looks like a performance full of drama. I can almost hear thundering dischords, and I feel that this represents those times when what started as a fun enterprise has become serious or corporate. That doesn't mean to say we should stay forever in enthusiastic start-up mode. If we did then nothing would grow. We can though, be in danger of taking ourselves too seriously; of carrying our ever growing burden and losing sight of our surroundings. Does it have to be a struggle to be worthy?

 Perhaps it wouldn't hurt to put the Wands down for a moment. We can appreciate what they mean, we've worked jolly hard for them. We may wish others to see just how hard. One Wand at the beginning was a blast, but look how many I can carry now? I can't be seen to be enjoying myself, goodness me, no!

Of course we need to be serious....often. We do struggle, we are burdened - there is a place for doom-laden ballet. The serious stuff doesn't go away with a frisky polka. But isn't the world a prettier place with tutus?

Here is a fabulous number from one of my favourite films, White Christmas. I think Danny Kaye demonstrates this post perfectly.

'Til next time,


The Original Wider Waite Tarot - Arthur Waite & Pamela Coleman-Smith
Cosmic Tarot - Norbert Lösche

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