First, a note to readers. Then, a short description of the first attempt to translate my writing into German. Hint: it was really frustrating.
I’ve been writing a lot lately, and I love having a place where I can share my work with you. This week, I’ve been putting a lot of thought into the purpose of this forum. I hope that my life as a dancer living in Berlin, with all of it’s quirks and learning curves, is interesting for you to read about. I am very squeamish at the idea that a blog is just a very egotistical diary. That’s why I try to produce content that I hope readers will enjoy. I also try to write about things that interest me as a way of learning more about them myself.
So far, my favorite types of projects have been interviews and the analysis of various dance styles. Of course, I have the most experience with dance, but I am also interested in other areas of the arts, which could include visual arts, music, and basically anything else I feel like writing about, really. I think it’s an interesting task to try to articulate how the artist thinks, and how these thoughts translate into the work he or she creates. I hope that this type of evaluation can make the arts more accessible to people who might not know much about them.
At the moment I’m working on two pieces for this blog: an interview with international guest ballet teachers François and Robyn Klaus, former dancers with Hamburg Ballet and former directors of Queensland Ballet, Australia; and a portrait of dancer and choreographer Samuel Feldhandler, who is working on a residency for his piece ohne Fugue with three other dancers in Berlin. I hope that you will enjoy these upcoming articles.
I’ve tried to stick to my promise about posting something every Wednesday, but this week I didn’t make it. I will continue to post new material every week, but I hope it’s ok if it’s not always on the same day. Finally, I want to thank you very much for all of your support! I have received so much encouragement from people in the last weeks, and I really appreciate it. As I move forward, I am very interested in your feedback. Please let me know what you would like to read about. Share, comment, and keep an eye out for what’s to come!
A tough writing critique:
For the December issue of Dance Europe magazine, I have written an article on Stuttgart Ballet’s Kylián/ van Manen/ Cranko program. This is my first published critique, and it was a really fun project to work on. I’m so excited to receive the magazine in the mail next week!
Since submitting the piece a few weeks ago, I’ve been working on producing a sample German translation. (The original idea was that while I live in Berlin, it would be great to be able to offer my work in German as well as in English). It took a few hours to write the first draft. I translated each sentence as well as I could using the rules I’ve accumulated in the time I’ve spent learning the language. I have a good enough German vocabulary now that I can figure out a way to say most things. The problem is, it’s not always the way that other people say things. People usually know what I mean, but in writing that’s not really good enough; things that you can get away with in spoken German might sound clunky in written German. So, I sat down at the kitchen table with my German boyfriend Johannes, and we went through the piece together. We analyzed each sentence, defining what was I was trying to say, and how it would best be articulated. (Thank you, Johannes!)
Translating the piece has been an extremely humbling endeavor. On the one hand, I’m sure the process will improve my German. On the other, I realize now that I have such a long way to go before I could offer German translations of my work – maybe even years. The process has also forced me to look at my writing with an extremely critical eye. Inconsistencies interrupted the flow – not only in German, but also in English. I think that in English, you can get away with more; it’s easier to chalk some imperfections up to “artistic license.” In German, you just don’t make sense anymore. Thankfully, I’m more careful now about the words I use. But, analyzing my work that hard gave me such a headache! (It would be a nightmare to try to translate that sentence).
(first posted on 11/27/2015)