Sylvie Guillem. (sigh).
I danced a fair bit as youngster. In fact I thought, for many years, that I would dance professionally. Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary & Funk. I loved it all – well, except for the ballet… okay, and the contemporary. Until I saw some footage of Sylvie Guillem, that goddess of dance. She of such staggering fluidity and strength, such precision and possession. The greatest dancer of her generation. After seeing her on video I suddenly loved ballet and contemporary because, through Guillem, I had seen what they were. (I still hated doing ballet and consequently quit, but contemporary… wow, a whole new world).
I was lucky enough to see her on stage in 2008, doing a show called Sacred Monsters with Akram Khan. I saw it with a friend of mine – I had initially wanted to see it solo, to properly absorp this goddess of my youth, but was grateful for their presence in the end as she and I could bear witness to the joy of the vision. It was, and remains, the best thing I have seen in my entire life. I didn’t stop smiling for 2 days.
I remember saying to my sister (an excellent dancer herself) that I was glad of my dancing experience as it allowed me to truly appreciate the disgust I felt at myself for daring to presume some knowledge of dance when confronted with the Olympian power, beauty and grace of Guillem in full flow. (joyful sigh).
And next week I get another shot at seeing her perform Push. My brain’s pleasure centers are almost bound to explode.