Interview | Richard Move
The choreographer and TEDGlobal Fellow on how Martha Graham’s work sunk its claws into his mind, on choreographing for the Strangers with Candy film and much, much more.
They’re also showing A Dancer’s World as part of the fest, during its all-day film festival.
Is that a significant resource for you?
Huge. It’s one of the only places where we see Martha just pontificate for 20 minutes or something. That was a huge, huge resource for me, as I was developing the character. I haven’t looked at it now in years and years, but when I first started, that was the resource for me, to see her speak. She really lets you into her world, her cosmology, her…universe. It’s poetic, it’s funny, some of it is very confusing, I think, to people, because they don’t know what she means in some instances, [Laughs] which I think is part of the charm of it.
A Dancer’s World is followed by Graham dancing Appalachian Spring and Night Journey, two of the best examples ever of capturing dance on camera, that I use as examples when I teach dance-for-camera classes [at New York University]. Which is amazing, because they were made in the ’50s, and you’d think that, with all of our new technology, that I wouldn’t need to show things that are 50 years old as best examples. But those are exquisitely executed dance films.
Is this time-travel to when contemporary culture was less fractured, and there were artists like Graham who developed contained, complete schools of movement, part of what’s kept this work satisfying to you for so long?
Oh, absolutely. All of her work and her words are completely timeless, because her themes are universal. She transcends time. I personally feel as though there’s nothing more old-fashioned—and I can’t name names, because it’s not appropriate—than what we call “postmodern dance.” You have to realize that that started in the late ’50s, early ’60s.… I also think that we’re at a juncture where people want to see virtuosity, to see strength, effort and technique. This is a broad generalization, granted, but postmodern dance moved away from a lot of those things.