On April 1999 Marthe Leonard entered my studio that was on the corner of Granville and Robson. When I saw her I was struck by the fact that she was the most elegant and graceful woman I had ever met. I took the pictures you see here and a few more.
But I had first seen her at a performance of Mascall Dance’s The Brutal Telling sometime before November 1998. This performance was choreographed by the equally elegant Jennnifer Mascal and it was all about Emily Carr. Two women played Carr, one was the striking Olivia Thorvaldson and the other by the French Canadian Leonard.
While I enjoy the performances of Ballet BC and The Arts Umbrella Dance Company, there is something about Mascall’s vision that I see lacking now. Contemporary dance seems to have no connection with enlightened costume design or with film-like scripts.
I have no idea what is going to happen to my archives when I
reach my statistically soon oblivion. The photographs in the two files, one
Marthe Leonard, the other Jennifer Mascall are a proof to me that these events
happened and that I remember them. The contact sheets have a lovely yellow patina but the negatives which I have always processed archivally are in perfect shape.
I remember printing the four portraits of the dancers, Mascall and Emily Carr and fitting them into what was then my beginning of collecting Seagull pewter frames and putting family photographs and then on my piano as in the b+w Polaroid here.
Vancouver is a city with a poor memory for its past. I am glad I remember and I feel that I am a better person for it.
|Only Marthe Leonard would have then removed her shoes|
But how can we make others aware of what is being lost now?
On the fleeting experience that dance is Emily Molnar and Crystal Pite related it to Einsteing up in that same studio where Leonard posed for me. This is the blog but I will place below their words:
It has taken 65 years for my concept of space and time to
change, even after having read here and there about Einsteinian time and space.
It all suddenly changed for me some five years ago when Vancouver contemporary
dancers Emily Molnar and Crystal Pite discussed space, time and movement in my
The shortest definition of relativistic movement I have ever heard came from Molnar (35) who said, “Movement is the observer.” This means that from a position of rest we the observers can discern the movement of a dancer on stage. Of time Pite (37) said, “The ephemeral of dance exists only in the present movement. We are left with traces of movements that are gone as they are being created. As we carve space with our bodies they leave a ghost, the trail which affects our future moves and informs the observer of our past moves.”
I then understood that those past moves are much like the contrails that high-flying jets leave in the sky.