MRPJ #24/Fragile: Editors' Note

SPRING 2002


Editors: Sarah Michelson and Jill Sigman

THE VERY LAST PERFORMANCE JOURNAL, #23, WAS ENTITLED “NOW,” AND NOW, EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT.

–Sarah Michelson

PERFORMING IS ALWAYS SUCH A THING. I TRY TO SLEEP ENOUGH, EAT RIGHT, WARM-UP, CENTER… BUT IT’S NEVER ENOUGH. RECENTLY AT A PUB IN IRELAND I WAS AMAZED BY THE WAY MUSICIANS GATHERED AND SPONTANEOUSLY DID WHAT THEY DO. LIKE ANOTHER SPECIES.

SEPTEMBER 11 MADE ME THINK ABOUT HOW READILY WE USE OUR SKILLS AS ARTISTS AND PERFORMERS. FIREFIGHTERS RUSHED INTO BURNING BUILDINGS AND PEOPLE WHO HAVE NEVER SET FOOT ON A STAGE PUT THEMSELVES “OUT THERE” IN MOMENTOUS REAL-LIFE IMPROVISATIONS. I WAS HUMBLED BY THE MULTITUDE OF HOME-MADE PEANUT BUTTER SANDWICHES.

JOANNA MENDL SHAW FORWARDED ME AN E-MAIL. IT BASICALLY SAID, TAKE WHAT YOU’VE GOT AND USE IT. I STARTED PERFORMING IN PUBLIC—AN OLD SOLO ABOUT DEVASTATION AND GRIEF. IT’S MINDBENDING TO SEE WORKERS SIT DOWN TO WATCH YOU IN UNION SQUARE, FEEL COMMUTERS SWARM AROUND YOU IN PENN STATION, HAVE STRANGERS HUG YOU AT THE FIREMEN’S MEMORIAL FOUNTAIN UPTOWN. YOU REALIZE THAT DANCE DOESN’T HAVE TO BE PERFECT TO AFFECT PEOPLE.

IT WAS FOR RELATED REASONS THAT I AGREED TO EDIT THIS ISSUE OF THE MR PERFORMANCE JOURNAL, ALL THE WHILE THINKING ‘HOW CAN WE DEAL WITH SUCH A CONFUSED SUBJECT AT SUCH A CONFUSED TIME?’ BUT THIS JOURNAL IS A WAY FOR PEOPLE TO “USE WHAT THEY’VE GOT”– TO SHARE THEIR EXPERIENCES, THEIR UNIQUE MOVEMENT-ORIENTED WAYS OF PROCESSING EVENTS, AND THEIR MEDITATIONS ON THE CURRENT RELEVANCE OF THE ARTS.

I DON’T CLAIM THAT ART WILL SAVE THE WORLD. BUT IT IS CERTAINLY A PART OF THAT WORLD, AND WHAT WE DO WON’T BE IRRELEVANT IF WE PUT OURSELVES INTO THE LANDSCAPE… BY DOING AND MOVING AND ACTING, AND BY THINKING AND SPEAKING ABOUT THOSE ACTIONS. I AM EXTREMELY THANKFUL TO SARAH AND ALL THE CONTRIBUTORS FOR THEIR INSPIRING EXAMPLES OF THOUGHTFULNESS AND COURAGE IN THE MURKY TERRAIN OF PERFORMANCE AFTER 9/11.

–Jill Sigman

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Sarah Michelson

Sarah Michelson is a choreographer living and working in NYC. She has been a guest curator at The Kitchen since 2003 which has included a deep ongoing commitment to the DAP program. She is basically a...
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