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Paul Langland Dance

BODY OF WORK The Life and Teachings of Allan Wayne

An interview with Paul Langland by Brendan McCall

Page 7
Allan Wayne on Cape Cod. MA
Brendon: Looking towards the future, do you have any thoughts on how this work might be preserved and grow over the next few years?

Paul: Yes. This article is the first time anything has been put in writing about his work in recent years. I'd also like to present the work through other teachers, books, and articles. Perhaps in a school outside of NYU. Right now, I'm most interested in using this work for performance.
Looking down the road, I predict that the field of dance will move more toward using energetic studies of the body, rather than simply mechanical movement. How do I say this simply? It's like the shift from Newtonian physics to quantum mechanics. Research that seems exotic today - such as how the cerebrospinal fluid works, the complexities of the endocrine system, Oriental views of energy - will be well-known and accessible resources in the future. I think Allan Wayne Work is open-ended enough to include such a rich expansion of knowledge. My own practice of this work keeps evolving in this direction.

Brendan: Are there any final comments about Allan you would like to share?
He was high strung, flamboyant, and campy.
He could be judgmental and critical in a very "old school" way.He was high strung, flamboyant, and campy. He could be judgmental and critical in a very "old school" way. He was also very loving and concerned with each student's progress. He always came to each student's performance. That kind of loyalty was moving. Yes - he approached his clases and his life with passionate intensity, and could be both wonderful and difficult.
We had a love-hate relationship. Once he said, "Paul, I dislike you so much that I'm going to make class so difficult for you that I hope it becomes impossible for you to stay here!" Most would have walked out the door. Somehow I felt challenged to stick to it; maybe that is why the work goes so deep with me.

The last year of class with him was one of great acknowledgement from him for my work as a student. Allan wanted to retire to Woodstock, and stop teaching. He was 73 years old. I wrote him a letter, begging him to continue, because I felt I wasn't finished yet. He came back to New York, and recommenced class. Those next few months were very important for me. I started having a lot of breakthroughs, as did the rest of the class, which included much of the Meredith Monk Company at that point. Allan started giving away some personal things to each student - furniture, books, pictures - like a parent would. We all sensed that the class was entering a very precious time. Then he died.
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