How we made Tight Roaring Circle

Dana Caspersen & William Forsythe, 24 March 2002

Photograph by Matthew Antrobus Photograph by Matthew Antrobus

Choreography, to be a valuable thing, must be an utterly transparent vehicle, something which burns up in passage, making visible that which moves.

Tight Roaring Circle turned out to be such a thing. It is a choreographic environment which produces a specific and extraordinary kind of social interaction, sets people into motion informed by a delight in trajectory, a laughter invoking rhythmical relation to others and a kind of entertainment which takes place over longer stretches of time.

It was for us an extremely interesting and wonderful thing to be in the castle, in this room of no spectators, only participants, and experience the arising of a choreography which was incapable of being false. It was never false because the parameters of destabilization, unavoidable inclusion in the event, the sheer absurdity and the fact that the castle led you to move in a certain way created a situation where there was no room for actions that were not connected to the present. This is authentic reaction, something which often gets lost in the rigors of the ballet world, and yet without which ballet is utterly meaningless and, in fact, corrupt.

The castle continues to be an important and useful thing for us to think about; how the parameters of an event or a dance must be connected to the social, economic and psychological realities of the present in order to allow a response that is vital and meaningful. And then, how a dancer's response to the realities of a performance situation must be informed by an awareness that they are always in discourse with a great many things, among them historical tradition, learned physical and psychological patterns and the nature of the society around them. And how a dancer's work, then, is to react authentically in the complex energetic architecture that is choreography located in time, how they must consider where they are in order to become incandescent and burn away the form through which they are acting.