Another lady of the American, Postmodern dance scene in the 60s and 70s! Simone Forti’s name always slips in there with the others but to be honest I don’t know too much about her, nor am I that familiar with her work. I came across this short documentation of her piece, ‘Huddle’ at the Quite Wonderful dance video database at UbuWeb:


It was performed and filmed at The 6th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, although the piece was originally choreographed in 1961. I liked watching the video very much. When you realize what is going, that the Huddle is indeed and quite simply a Huddle – it feels good to sit back and keep watching the small people on the screen in front you as they keep huddling. I realized that I wanted to be on the inside, huddling with them.


It is a good thing, human beings being together, awkwardly and determinedly carrying each other’s weight. Every now and then someone would leave the Huddle, crawl up and over their friends in an endearingly ungainly fashion and then squeeze back in, to share the weight of the next person who would climb up and that is the piece. It is simple and quite slow, one could call it pretentious and dull and totally unrelated to dance (but lets be honest, those statements are a bit tired) but when you realize that humans are just bodies and all we have are our own bodies and other bodies – it becomes quite important and beautiful.

It is also a strange video to watch because at one point someone saunters across the screen and you often hear whispers in German from the audience (making you feel a little like you’re in on the secret, even though you don’t know the secret because you don’t speak German). But I liked the informal nature of the piece, because it makes you feel like you are not specifically witnessing Great And Important Art. But instead you are watching a group of people doing something so oddly normal and vaguely important.

I want more huddles in my life.

Simone Forti seems like a kooky, casually weird choreographer who managed to make a career out of being strange and doing interesting things with movement. Most of those choreographers in New York in those days seemed to do that. How does one make that happen again in South Africa in 2013? Meh. I’m not sure.

This is a photograph of her in 2010.

She looks so nice.


(Photo by Carol Peterson)

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