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If I Showed Her Would She Like It?

I am aroused by Gertrude Stein’s "If I Told Him: A Completed Portrait of Picasso" because it reads differently than other poems. It has rhythm. The grammatical structure and rhymes she uses are unusual. Her poem is about sounds more so than words, which triggered my interest in choreographing a dance using nonclassical forms: modern, ballet, and jazz techniques with variations, just as Stein’s repetition varies.

I used movements and phrases that evoked Stein’s words. For instance, when Stein says "father and farther," I execute a move often performed by male ballet dancers for "father" and jazz runs to illustrate "farther."

Stein's poem does not give us a representational portrait of Pablo Picasso; instead, it tells us about his essence. The point of my dance is to interpret Stein's words, which, in turn, illustrate the inner qualities of Picasso.