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Carolyn Carlson. A rhythm to carry the feet

di Valentina Cavalletti

You are an international well-known dancer and an estimated choreographer. You have trod the stages all over the world from New York to Paris, from Stockholm to Venice. You danced with the greatest dancers in the world, as Rudolf Nureyev and Maurice Béjart. What is dance for you?
Dance is a state of Being. A grace of becoming in each instant of renewed energy. A visual poem of fleeting images in chance potentials.

the sun sets behind the ocean
you see a beautiful light descending
you hear the waves in constant motion
you perceive the wind on your body
you feel the color and atmospheric change
there is no definition
only a perceived beauty of passing
the Dance.

You write poems and you love painting too. You collaborate with famous musicians who compose music for your ballets. Where do you get inspiration for your performances? What role does improvisation play?
I receive inspiration from all walks of life, be it a stone on the road, the sky in thunder, the people walking with us on our earth, the greatest painters, both known and unknown, all sounds of nature and those man - made genius composers. So I draw from life itself, an idea can come travelling on a train or just looking out my window. If one has the necessity within to create all things are an inspiration. Improvisation plays a great role in my creations... I give the idea I have in mind to my collaborators, and each one has his own contribution to the unfolding of the process. I am not the controller...each one of my dancers and music composers have a say within the ideas. Yes, I put it all together in the end, with a joy that all have been an integral part of the process. This experience that brings my work to the definition of Visual Poetry.

In this magazine we speak about the future. In your performance you combine body experience and technology, Eastern philosophy and the classical theatre, the Nature and the Sacred. Time and space are mixed. Which culture has influenced you the most?
This question is hard to define... I am an American, influenced by the work of my Master, Alwin Nikolais... My roots of high rhythmic energy in time and space and motion, as well as discovering the Eastern philosophy of Japan and Zen Buddhism. All cultures have inspired me, as all include the sacred and profound. I have studied the esoteric philosophies of many domains, so I must say, perhaps I am a synthesis of my most beloved texts and writings of the valued poems and illuminations that serve man for seeing an opening into doors of light and wisdom.

When you are on the stage, you use your body to communicate and to bring out the emotions in your public. Your style is made of sudden bursts, pauses in suspension, plastics gestures. How did you develop your style?
Style is like living life, where one finds his true nature. Over the years of choreographing and performing, one finds his inherent voice through practice and search. It just doesn't happen, it grows through time. «Things happening spontaneously by themselves».

Nowadays dance seems to be an elitist art. Sometimes for the young people the dream to become a dancer is offered by TV programs. You said that dance can be transmitted through the teaching and not through books. You are the CCN Roubaix (National Choreographic Center) Director and you founded two important schools in Paris, the Atelier de Paris-Carolyn Carlson, and in Venice too. Teaching can give perspective to the dance. What's the future of contemporary dance? What is the role of the television?
I do not think dance is an "elitist" art. Mankind has danced since the beginning of time, and as music, it is one of the oldest art forms. Our culture has defined this as something outside of the ordinary beauty of expression of the body and spirit. As for the television programs... These are commercial extravagances that have nothing to do with the true communication of Dance as communicating profound ideas (exception with the Art Channels). ARTE and those of the Italian programs on Dance. So the role of TV is to produce high quality art, as to the essence of what makes a dance an art form. There needs to many more cultural stations that can convey this message. You can dance in your home, enjoy and go out and share with the others in the disco... this is good, however the true value inherent in the communication of dance as a cosmic-mystic energy to convey the spiritual is indeed a knowledge of in-depth study and perseverance. Therefore the next answer, yes, teaching is the fundamental foundation to further future artists. I have been privileged to have founded the Academy Isola Danza in Venice, where in four years, all students have now been performing their own works, as well as great performers on their own. The Atelier De Paris has a great number of dancers who have experienced masterclasses from the best of the world, thus the teaching from Mentor to protege continues.
As for the future of contemporary dance? Only time will tell of those genius creators coming. I aspire that dance continues in the poetry of the body and spirit.

All art encompasses the impulse of Life
a brush stroke on canvas
a word to envision a thought
a sound to inspire
a rhythm to carry the feet
A dance to remember.

(dal n. 3/2010, pp.39-40)

responsabile informazioni: Ufficio Orientamento 2/3/2015