I’d like to recommend a most thought provoking exposition to any and all of you who might visit Paris this summer. At Musée du quai Branly, titled “Les Maîtres du désordre” – Masters of disorder, or chaos, – it was a must-see for me.
Out of all the ancient or modern traditions - from Tibet, Mali,India, the Ivory Coast, Brazil, Colombia, Papua New Guinea, Tahiti, Siberia… - invented by man to control the uncontrollable, it was surprisingly a piece from the US that truly got under my skin.
On the screen behind me Anna Halprin, one of the great pioneers of modern dance, who in 1975 learned that she had fatal cancer.
Instead of surrendering to the inevitable, Anna decided to attack her beast within. She invited 10 of her closest friends to witness as she painted an image of her cancer on a huge canvas, and exorcised it with dance, cries, prayer, kneeling, fighting… with inimitable despair and rage.
Her wailing, screaming, crying, wordless cursing filled the full exhibition hall, echoing everywhere.
So bare. Raw. Powerful.
In her next medical check-up, all signs of her cancer were gone.
This documentary tale hit a core in me as I’ve - rather helplessly - witnessed both my parents struggling against cancer.
Their approach towards their personal demons was rather… Different. Very Finnish, very stoic. Neither of them ever discussed their fears or pains - maybe they would have considered it complaining.
All their screams were only heard within, all their battles took place inside their heads.
Maybe they would have benefited from shouting, cursing and swearing it out instead of holding all that inside.
So alone. In such discreet silence.
Note to self. Call mom. Every Day.
Ps. Anna (born 1920) still occasionally lectures at universities.
She was the first person to introduce nude dancers.
The first person to introduce black and white dancers together.
First person to present a group of HIV positive dancers.
What a Lady.
Read Full Post »