Self Portrait: Will Rawls
February 18, 2015
Each of the 12 artists in PLATFORM 2015: Dancers, Buildings and People in the Streets received an invitation from curator Claudia La Rocco to contribute a self portrait, of sorts, to the Platform 2015 publication. Below is Will Rawls’s response.
new york city ballet, judson church and merce cunningham describe a formidable triangle in dance which i might describe as bermuda. the geometry experts might indeed someday describe where so many have disappeared and might for that matter describe by what black magic or miracle. but points unknown often remain just that
the first black ballerina i fell in love with was either deanna ketchum or asha d’arbo student preprofessionals at the alvin ailey school summer program in 1996 serving it on dirty floors caked with rosin caked with skin cells and some blood downstairs from the trisha brown studios where my first modern dance teacher abby yager worked as a professional dancer trishas work was and then wasn’tjudson in that summerscape i wanted desperately to be deanna or asha ashas gnarly arcing feet were more abstract than the dancing they were doing or the history of art i studied in that how little or much time or by which quickening spell do ones feet get that old at such a young age theyve both stopped dancing the last i heard asha left new york has a kid and lives in jamaica where edwin denby might be inspired to describe her as he did others “in the Caribbean, for instance” where “the walk of Negroes, is often, well, miraculous” as he did in his december 1954 lecture for julliard which being shy of public speaking he never in fact delivered what is miraculous is that for all his poetically urgent talk of seeing whats around you did he note that negro walk in the new york city he loved so dearly before going in search of it elsewhere asha had studied at the new world school of the arts in miami where the bermuda triangle begins disappearing nameless numbers there is no doubt that denby was or is a great storyteller and reading him you feel like you were or are there in that seminar with other dance majors me watching asha asha watching denby denby watching me or vice versa as he praised and praises the dancers gift for projecting him or her or themself into other bodies phrases and even most oddly exhorts projecting ourselves beyond the square of the classroom where we were or are now to the arc of the horizon where a different public speaking ruins this disappearing triangle by adding some miraculous curve so that nondisciplinary bodies are action parable science and territory?
a romance, a gait, a timing, a structure, a syllabus, a spell, a release, a drift, a contour, a map, a language, a practice,