By chance recently, I was knitting and wanted something either stimulating or amusing to watch on television while I finished a sweater project. I am an HBO subscriber so I frequently look at their special programming on demand to see what I may have missed.
To my delight, there is a new series called “Master Class.” The series documents a program called “Youth Arts,” which fosters young artists (it seems they are graduating seniors) throughout the US through fellowships to attend master classes with artist innovators who generously share their wisdom and experience. Twenty-seven minutes of master class for each of us as witnesses to the process.
I must say that I love discourse on artistic process. I adore “Inside the Actors Studio,” I watch Shatner and Costello interview artists, I look on Ovation and Sundance for process-oriented reflections of those who make art in any form. Process is more important than genre or medium for me. And I refuse to be complacent in my learning or belief system about my art form, or art in general. I can be very parochial and I need to be on guard all the time, permitting opportunity to stretch, or recognizing it.
The first that I watched was Edward Albee with four teen writers. I was as interested in how he shared with these eager students as I was in what he said about writing. I learned from both and was so inspired.
Next I watched Liv Ullmann with five young actors. She learned as much from them as they did from her, with very touching, honest moments. I learned from all of them.
Then came the episode with classical singers working with Placido Domingo. The glee of these students was infectious.
Last night I watched the fourth, featuring Jacques D’Ambois and five astounding dancers. His glee as they developed a new piece, as he changed the dance by changing environments, everything he shared about the relationship between time and movement moved me to a new interior environment.
Go see for yourself. If you do not have digital cable or HBO, go to the HBO web site and watch on your computer. But watch these shows. They are more than inspiration; they are professional development.
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