Returning to the blogsphere from a short break. Just watched the incredibly moving and emotional documentary about Jock Soto during his last days at the NYCB.
Water Flowing Together by Gwendolyn Cates
It is being shown on INDEPENDENT LENS (PBS) thru out the country this week. I caught it on the WLIW WORLD channel but it is listed on Channel 13 this Friday night in NYC.
If you ever saw Jock dance at the New York City Ballet, you will enjoy this incredibly personal look as he grapples with the end of his dancing career and his steps toward the next phase of his life and a new career in culinary arts (although he continues to teach and play a very active part in the life of NYCB).
It was a terribly personal film for me as going to the NYCB has been a very precious thing for me and one of the reasons I lived in NYC.
I moved to NY just as Jock was rising thru the company from the corps to soloist and principal very quickly. Over the years, he has been my most favorite male dancer in the company and one of my most favorite performing artists ever.
Watching him again in the film tonight – in rehearsal, in a very few brief film clips – brings back so many memories.
One of the very first luxuries I permitted myself as a starving temping musician was a subscription to NYCB – it was such a treat to have those tickets and the evenings were always wonderful in those days. Although Balanchine had just died, his aura was still hanging everywhere in the building – on the stage and still fresh amongst the dancers. And the evenings were full of Balanchine ballets and of course Suzanne Farrell was still dancing among other great dancers – but that’s another post.
And I won’t go into here the ways that the company has changed – and yes I know that all things change – and the people who should be there in the midst of these newer postGB generations of dancers imparting his works, techiniques, philosophies. That is covered in many places.
At another point in my NY years, I was able to take advantage of seeing NYCB much more frequently due to my proximity (I worked at a fellow company at Lincoln Center). It was such a wonderful joy to find out if Jock was dancing and to go over and see him perform – he was always a most generous and gifted performer. And if he was partering Heather Watts – which was the majority of the time during those years – the level of excitement increased. I am grateful for the opportunities to see them perform as much as I did – although I know there are fans who went every night – I was content to see them as much as I could and drink in their love for dancing and obvious affection for each other.
One sees artists like Jock Soto and Heather Watts and feels close to them thru the openness of their performances and wishes them to dance forever which of course is impossible.
The courage of the openess of Jock in this film – touching on his family life and heritage as part Navajo and part Puerto Rican as well as homosexuality is admirable and moving and a tribute to the man behind the performer… someone whom it would be nice to get to know away from the stage too. (Or at his restaurant – his current dream).