Isit possible to truly write about art? Can you even possibly begin to capture the beauty of an art form using only words to capture the other senses?
Manyartists disagree, and a common argument made is that writing about music, theatre or sculpture is like dancing about architecture.
Thequote, which has a somewhat unknown origin but has been cited by musicians such as Elvis Costello, implies that the written word and the musical note are as far removed from each other as the meaningful bodily expressions of dance and building visualisation.
However,much like how it is very possible to write about music, what it conveys and the feelings it expresses, dancing and architecture are actually far closer to each other than you may expect.
Partof this is that dancing inherently comments on the space that it takes place in and entire styles of music and dance are designed expressly to fit certain types of space and vice-versa.
Oneof the earliest splits in formal dancing tradition came with the development of the ballroom, a huge room with very high ceilings that would often be part of the social centre of high society, in contrast with a limitless number of folk-dancing styles that took place wherever there were spaces.
Dancestook on a social function, and as a result, the spaces were similarly large, open and inviting to allow for many people in often elaborate dress to have enough space to dance and socialise with others, often at the same time.
Soon,dance would split again between ballroom dances and stage dances such as ballet, the latter of which would itself take advantage of the flexible space of the stage to create ever more elaborate uses of space and levels to tell stories.
Thishas led to some incredible uses of space to allow for more elaborate dances than would have ever been possible in the ballroom, let alone the more confined spaces of the dance hall and nightclub, but in some cases, designers have gone even further, albeit with mixed results.
Therise of the mega-musical in the 1980s started to see the rise in more elaborate sets with multiple levels, huge numbers of performers and often elaborate architecture to contain them, such as Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera.
Probablythe most elaborate and controversial example of this was Starlight Express,an elaborate, grand mega-musical which inherently required a completely different type of stage, one with multiple levels, tracks that go all the way around the audience and multiple rising and falling platforms.
Thereason for this is that the entire performance took place on roller skates, often very quickly on multiple tracks, requiring a lot of space to perform the dance moves and avoid major injuries.
Thearchitectural requirements for such that in Germany, whereStarlight is exceptionally popular, a purpose-built building known as Starlighthalle was created with several tracks around the audience itself, highlighting a case where the requirements for a dance necessitated a specialarchitectural vision.