From “John Adams” the HBO miniseries
“It is very bad history”
“Do not let our posterity be deluded with fictions under the guise of poetical or graphical license.”
“I consider the true history of the American Revolution as lost.”
Was Tom Hooper, the director of this series, also talking about his own work, this miniseries on John Adams. A visual experience based upon a written experience, the book John Adams by David McCullough. How much has this series deluded our posterity with fictions? How much of what we witnessed in the series actually happened?
What scares me is that in a few years, and maybe this is already happening, films & movies such as these will be shown in classrooms as fact. Easier to watch a movie than to read a book.
The second quote above also relates to art making. I would postulate that art, especially dance is deluded with too many fictions under the guise of poetical license. Too often choreographers are vague about what the point of their work is. Hiding under the guise of poetical license is one thing that brings dance down in terms of being taken seriously, removing it out of the entertainment world.
Too often dance makers bow too quickly to their own aesthetic to make something that is palatable to the audience, rather than following their curiosity to its end – wanting more to please than to challenge. Dance is still stuck in the world of dancing for the court, trying to please the king. Instead of now it is the audience and the grant panels. What logics are hip now? What tools are hip now? What aesthetics are hip now? The true idea of the choreographer gets lost. The work gets lost in poetical and graphical license.
Not many choreographers are accused of being great intellects. Playwrights, composers, yes. But not choreographers.
Why is that?
( I think it has something to with that horrible quote which has been destroying dance ever since whoever said it – “Dance expresses what words cannot” or some such nonsense like that)