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Susan Macpherson in studio: You're trying to set out somewhere new, with this part of you that you have left, and this other one drags you back. Come here! It's still dragging you. - Don't do that! - and you're trying to find a better space, and it's still not working. Finally, you come back, and you almost forget about that thing that's dragging behind and you get really involved in the one part that is still left, and then ... you've lost it too, and you don't know what to do. You hear this huge noise, and you realize that it's all gone. You've lost the whole thing.
Susan Macpherson in interview: It's hard - it's a very personal piece. I've always felt very close to it. There's something about the piece that speaks of offering oneself to someone, to people. I guess it's really, partly, that's what a dancer is about. I mean that's what a dancer - that's the whole life of a dancer. There you are onstage, you're giving yourself to... (deep breath) ... Perhaps this is a little too difficult.
Susan Macpherson in studio: There you are. (laughs)
Peggy Baker in interview: I went into the studio with Susan, and it was, I think, even harder than I had anticipated (laughs) in terms of bringing myself to the work. The movement style was very different than anything that I had done before. It's a very, very personal work, and I wasn't learning it from the choreographer, I was learning it from an interpreter, the person who the work was made on, so it was very difficult to tell the difference between the dancing and the choreography, and Paul-André‚ needed to unravel that a little bit.
Paul-André Fortier in studio: If the stone would lead, in the space, here, and this is going - and this one is stretching - and so you have an opposition.
Yes, that's beautiful. And your body is going in the space - yes, wonderful... stretch, stretch! Tough, tough... (deep breath)
When you lost your rock there, this was beautiful. Because the whole body followed the stone falling there. And there is that moment where I would like you to feel this empty hand. Empty. And then when you came back here with this part, going into space, and dragging that rock - this was very strong. And all that force justifies this falling.
Paul-André Fortier in interview: The dance is not in the head. The dance is in the body. I think Susan was very clear about that in the way she performed it. She was not making stories. She was not giving herself images and feeding herself with drama and all that bullshit. She was just doing it.
Paul-André Fortier in studio: Really, really open the space with all this part of your body - yes. And let the ropes do their job. And try more, more, with this part, reach up too at the same time - yes. And you're going to pass over something and fall. Just go - it goes further, further - yes. Beautiful.
Open your arms - the stones are going to stretch them back. The more they stretch back, the more space you open in front of you. And there is a point where it's too much. You fall. It's like - there is a cliff, and - poof. From there, what enters the space is that - oooh... The arms are just following the back.
Paul-André Fortier in studio: The same sense of blindness you gave in this, the same sense of space with the body, and not only with the hand; just reach - include the body with the hand, like that, and even if you take your hand back to start with the other hand, just involve the body. And while you're reaching there, this part is going away from what you try to reach.
Paul-André Fortier in studio:
Just find - I said it was the back - okay - yes. You see, now you did it. It
was very clear.
Peggy Baker: Yeah, that was very different.
Paul-André Fortier: The bum leading, and the back following the bum. That was very clear.
Peggy Baker: Right, okay. (both laugh)
Paul-André Fortier: You know, this is what I want to see - where it is initiated, and what it drags in its wake. That was very neat.
Peggy Baker: Okay.
Paul-André Fortier: Okay. And so you have this here -
Peggy Baker: (kicks camera) Ooh!
Paul-André Fortier: Oops!
Cameraman: Okay - you okay?
Peggy Baker: Yup. Sorry.
Cameraman: No, don't worry about me. (laughs)
Paul-André Fortier in interview: I think that my role is to help her to listen to the movement and to listen to the feelings of the movement; to listen to the sweat, to dance with the sweat, dance with the difficulties of the piece. There are technical things, pirouettes that are very difficult, off-balances that are very difficult, and she almost has the same kind of problem that Susan had in the beginning. It's a bit like she's speaking a language she hasn't mastered.
Paul-André Fortier in studio:
Let the energy go away. It's just like - plop! You get rid of
Peggy Baker: Okay.
Paul-André Fortier: Just - chung! Oui. And from there you go -
Peggy Baker: Turn.
Paul-André Fortier: Just do this - yes. This is entering the space. This was very good. This was very good because we could see your body, like.... (laughs)
Peggy Baker: It's an awful moment.
Paul-André Fortier: Oh, it should be a great moment. (she laughs) Because - ooh.
Peggy Baker: Uhuh. (laughs)
Paul-André Fortier: It's not fun?
Peggy Baker: (laughs) No.
Paul-André Fortier: Why? You're falling...
Peggy Baker: It's the opposite, for me, (laughs) of anything that's fun.
So just try this, and don't worry. (she laughs) The furthest you can go
is on your bum, because your instinct will prevent you from falling on your
head, you will go - poof.
Peggy Baker: Right.
Paul-André Fortier: Right?
It would be really fun for me if I didn't have to take care of myself.
Paul-André Fortier: Yes, but, maybe if you would just let go into it and know - don't worry about what happens after.
Paul-André Fortier: Just try this.
Paul-André Fortier in interview: She's falling, she's constantly falling, and she's blind, and all she has to do is to deeply listen to that, and let that lead her to her own soul, and not impose a soul that is artificial, but just be there, be Peggy Baker, and listen to your body - your tall body falling in space.
Paul-André Fortier in studio: You catch yourself and it takes you - pah! pow! Something here - we have to find what is going into the space first. Just see which part of the body you feel should go - is it your belly? Yeah.
And even look at your belly here, to hold something there, and it grows, and
you don't want it to show, and it grows again. And - that's it.
Peggy Baker: Okay.
Just do it slow, mark it for me to learn it. Yeah. Just forget about the
arms. You have this one here, and then forget them and just drop the torso and
reach. And here - how's that?
Peggy Baker: (laughs) Yeah, okay.
Paul-André Fortier: 'Cause your weight is going to carry you here - head first. There is a (hits) pillar here.
Peggy Baker: Right. (they laugh)
Peggy Baker in interview: There's a moment when the woman is holding the rock, cradling and comforting it, and then she wants to nurture it, and she takes her breast out of her dress, and she nurses this rock, and I thought - that's going to be really hard for me to do, because I hadn't ever exposed myself onstage before, and it really surprised me that when the moment came for these things in the choreography - they had to be done.
Susan Macpherson in interview: When I danced, I didn't articulate what exactly the character was doing, in my mind. I was just inside the movement physically.
Paul-André Fortier in interview: It's not a story about a woman who is blind, and who thinks that the stones are her children, and so forth. It's - it's many things.... You might say that it's a female version of the Sisyphus myth.
Peggy Baker in interview: How I deal with the burden of my own self-image and my own sexual identity and experience: there's nothing moral, in a way; there's no blame to be laid. I can't be guilty; being a woman doesn't make me guilty.
Susan Macpherson in interview: In the early version of the dance there was a second character who appeared just at the end of the dance. It was a watchman - a threatening figure who came in at the very end, and shone a very strong light in her face, and that person seemed to be accusing the dancer.
Paul-André Fortier in studio: And when you turn your back here - here is the guilt, and not guilty here.
Susan Macpherson in interview: And she at the end is saying, "No, I'm not guilty; it's not my fault."
Paul-André Fortier in studio: Here you - and here there is a little - this is where you decide to go for it, and take this off. And - "Don't try to blind me with your light. I'm not guilty."
Susan Macpherson in studio: That was very good. (laughs)