BODIES IN MOTION - An Introduction


By way of introduction (and disambiguation) I think it important to describe the kind of dance reporter I plan to be for Therefore I'll begin with an account from a previous career-before I entered academia-when I was a writer for Walt Disney Imagineering.

We were in the Early Stages of developing the nomenclature and scripting for the theme park we had planned for Paris, France. I had been appointed to direct the writing effort. One of the first things I did was seek and employ a French associate who might advise on culture, idioms, and the local Parisian talent who could provide the Park with character voicing and other performance-related business. To begin, our company needed to indoctrinate my associate in the Disney Way, so we flew him to Burbank where he might engage our team and learn the ropes.

I was excited to guide a foreign visitor around Los Angeles. I felt I knew the city pretty well, having grown up in Southern California, so with a spirit of self-congratulatory verve I created an itinerary that I was sure would impress. What I hadn't expected was that in the end my foreign visitor, by virtue of his curiosity, would introduce me to hidden wonders and stories about Los Angeles that I had been too familiar or careless to notice.

That was an important lesson for me. I recall it because, if I may be so bold, it is the reason I feel authorized to survey the landscape of Southern California dance. I am a foreigner here. I am neither expert nor practitioner, but I have a curiosity, informed by years as a writer, theatre artist, and educator, that might lead me down alleyways or through galleries of hidden wonders and delights.

My principal thrills in the theatre can be summed up in relation to these words from the great director Peter Brook: "I can take an empty space and call it a bare stage. A man walks across this empty space whilst someone else is watching him, and this is all that is needed for an act of theatre to be engaged." Discount for gender-specific nouns and pronouns, the tenet is still true. Theatre, when you strip away all artifice and adornment, is simply the human body in motion for the benefit of a spectator. In subsequent articles, it will be my intention to recount for you, the readers of, the unexpected discoveries and questions of an ardent spectator to bodies in motion, the artists who inhabit the world of Dance in Southern California.

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Craig Fleming Craig Fleming is an actor, director, writer, and teacher. Since 2006 he has been

Assistant Professor of Theatre Studies at California State University, Long Beach. In the early nineties he was a Disney Imagineer, living in Paris, in charge of the writing

effort for the concept and creation of Euro Disney (now Disneyland Paris). After gaining

some clarity and perspective, he resigned from Disney and returned to his first loves,

Theatre and Education. He is also a devoted husband and father, which by definition,

makes him feel more alive than he thought possible.