In May, the folks at Ailey invited a group of editors and writers to view a demonstration of Horton technique. It was fabulous to watch the dancers demonstrate some basic and not so basic Horton phrases under the direction of master teachers Milton Myers and Ana Marie Forsythe. Watch a video clip here.
Lester Horton had a school in Hollywood where Alvin Ailey, Joyce Trisler, Bella Lewitsky, and Carmen de Lavallade studied during the 1940s. He didn’t so much set out to develop a technique as to create a foundation to support whatever a dancer chose to do. As Myers said, “It’s a technique to develop a dancer, not a Horton dancer.
And yet, Horton technique is distinctive in its 90-degree angularity. Horton’s premise was to correct physical faults and to discover how many different ways the body could move. He considered knowledge of human anatomy essential.
Myers described the technique as organic, yet very demanding, requiring a straight back and strong abs. “One aspect of the technique is how much further can the body go? How much longer can you hold [a position]? If you push the body to such a limit, then what is the norm becomes so much easier,” he said, noting also, “It has applications to life. What seems so difficult in life is not so difficult.”
For more information: “The Dance Technique of Lester Horton,” an advanced beginners class taught by Ana Marie Forsythe and Majorie B. Perces, is a DVD designed to show how Horton studies can be taught within a class. Available through www.dancespotlight.com.
Forsythe also teaches an annual Horton pedagogy workshop in New York:
Introductory Session: July 13-17
Intermediate/Advanced: July 20-24