On January 22, 2014 Stephen published his memoir Confessions of a Motion Addict, to share the story of his life’s journey with others and inspire readers to embrace the creativity that lies within.
The son of a modest Italian family, his love for dance took him to Hampshire College, where he began his training in improvisation and dance technique. He went on to become the first male dancer in the Trisha Brown Company and this year celebrates 30 years of Stephen Petronio Company.
From time to time we will publish excerpts from Stephen’s memoir and give a glimpse into his creative imagination.
from the chapter NUTS AND BOLTS OF MAGIC
What it feels like to perform, to be on the wild intuitive moment of abandon: Letting go into a score of movement that is so deep in your muscles it needs no conscious thought but is like some invisible guide moving you through the dance and moving through your body that HAS surrendered to it.
It’s like being completely lost to your self but sensing exactly where you are in space and where you must go
Rehearse 12:30-4 M-Th, because these 3.5 hrs. 4 days per week oases are all the time my company can support. I love to brag that we do in 16 hours what other companyies do in 40, but that’s an incomplete truth. We’re pressured, overworked and have little time to waste. It is an unforgivingly small period to build worlds in. Then again, I HAVE seen miracles take place in the shortest period of time, a magic 5 minutes, the result of meandering research that comes to a head in an instant that is the breakthrough moment. These 5 minutes drop out from the continuum of time and stretch in all directions, into a 3-dimensional 5 minutes that is spherical and vast, filled with information. But this is the result of treating your art like a practice.
You go in to train, forms you know by rote, a routine to offer the body, a sound and dependable architectural and energetic home base that can be counted on. These are exercises focused on grounding the body, releasing external muscular tension that inhibits the action of the joints, that activates its full power and open it to the fluid and conscious direction of energy any way I might choose. All my body parts are stacked up in an efficient relationship to laws and properties physics, feet are directly under my hip socket, my hips on top of my legs, my torso released gently forward and up into space, my spine long and activated both out my tail and up through my atlas, my neck with an easy S-curve and my head in a “curious” active state, moving forward and up into the space above it.