Q & A With Marjorie Goodson – Dancer, Artist and Author
With over four decades of dance experience, Marjorie Goodson is someone infatuated with the art of movement. Here, the New York native and dancer, artist and author talks about passion, aging and why it’s important to move in a new direction.
Q. How has following your passion inspired and illuminated your life?
A. There is a resurgence that happens as artist and human. It’s as if you are “feeding your soul” with this powerful fuel that energizes you and ignites a sense of self. As someone who has struggled with low self-esteem, dancing and creating, these art books have been the most liberating, empowering and illuminating experiences of my life.
Q. MG was moody, sensual and gritty, whereas MG.2 is electric and bold. What inspired this new spirit, and how did you go about achieving it?
A. It was very important to move in an entirely different visual direction with MG.2 − for the sake of the viewer and myself as the artist. It was essential for me to create a visual shock and elevation in energy, which was achieved by using bright, bold colours and, in most cases, keeping the background stark white. I wanted to create a very modern, futuristic vibe and needed to play the other end of the visual spectrum. I loved the idea of working with different elements like paint, powder and smoke. I wanted to accentuate the physical state by not controlling how I used them in their execution. The notion of pouring or throwing paint on my body was far more interesting to me, artistically, than mere placement. In their natural state, these elements created their own choreography that was wild and unpredictable. I felt equal parts artist and scientist, and soon began to experiment with these elements or, as I call them, “my dance partners.”
Q. What fascinates you about the unpredictability of elements and their individual physicality?
A. For me, as creator, it feels limitless and freeing because you have no control over the outcome. The very random nature of being unpredictable invites uniqueness to the work because no two images are ever the same. The magic happens in an instant, without justification or explanation. It’s an extraordinary moment. And then it’s gone forever.
Q. What were the challenges in creating MG.2, especially as it relates to smoke and powder?
A. Those were my greatest challenges, as breathing quickly became a problem. My vision in working with white and blue powder was to create a “fight-like” energy. To do this authentically, I insisted on being engulfed in powder. Although safe and non-toxic, the massive amounts of powder used was claustrophobic, and the surgical masks did little to shield my burning lungs. With each dance step, I was literally fighting to breathe. On the lighter side of working with “blue” powder, by the end of the shoot, my team and I looked like Smurfs.
Q. MG.2 was a step into the unknown. How did you feel when you emerged from that unfamiliar place?
A. I felt accomplished and validated as an artist because my gamble paid off.
Q. At 51, when you were creating MG, you said you were riddled with uncertainty and self-doubt. Now 56, what’s changed?
A. I became more confident and clear with my ideas and wanted to take my artistry to the next level. Today, I’m in the best shape of my mental and physical life. Getting older is a fact, but how we get older is a choice. I choose an energetic and inspired life.
INTERVIEW BY CECE M. SCOTT