I met Christopher in NYC on the subway at about 11 o’clock one evening – we both had programs in our hands. He had been to a dance concert. I had been to a play. I asked him about what he had seen and vice versa. Over the course of the conversation, he mentioned that he was a choreographer and had a dance company. I am fascinated by dance and dancers so, when I got home, I visited www.christophercainesdance.org then, further intrigued, contacted him to ask if he would participate in Profile Ten. Thankfully, he said, ‘Yes!’. That was months ago – I apologize to Christopher and Brad (this month’s subjects) for taking so long to post! I plan to be more consistent now – not allow myself to miss out on opportunities to photograph and interview fascinating people such as Christopher Caines!
Do you play a musical instrument? tell me about it. (If you don’t play an instrument – is there one that particularly moves you when it is played well?)
I taught myself to play bodhrán, the Irish frame drum (including some unusual techniques of my own devising). I studied frame drum with Randy Crafton for many years, but have played very little for a long time. I also studied tabla for several years. I have studied both bel canto and a North Indian classical vocal tradition called dhrupad. I had a few years of piano lessons when I was very young; I have a spinet and play a little, late at night.
If you were a farmer, what would you grow and why?
Organic fruit and vegetables. What could be more important?
Would you rather be cold or warm?
I don’t really like very cold or very hot weather. I’d like a climate that was mostly spring and fall.
Has there been something said to you that you have never forgotten. What is it and why do you think it has stuck with you for so long?
“Wherever you goes, you looks uphill.” My great-uncle Matt. He was only talking about the road near Norris Point, Newfoundland, near where my father was born, but the metaphor is unforgettable. It is always uphill. Nothing gets easier.
I read somewhere that, when we allow ourselves to relax into a hug for a full 20 seconds, our bodies produce a stress relieving drug called oxytocin. If you’re game, try it with someone in your life and tell me what it was like for you.
I’ll try to fit that in next week . . .
For the moment, give yourself the name of an item that is within your field of vision right now, What would that name be? If the spirit moves you – tell me what personality trait or traits might you adopt in addition to your own because of that name.
My cats, Khyssa and Sam, are wrestling on my couch as I type. My cats are loving, spontaneous, devoted, playful, funny, goofy, sensual hedonists. I think those are all good things to be.
Tell me about a positive experience you had with a practitioner in the medical profession.
My chiropractor, Dr. Daniel Lee White, is a great healer who has put my body back together more than once, enabling me to dance. Generally, I’m quite phobic about medical practitioners—I hate hospitals, and do anything to avoid medical care—but I adore him.
Is there a wall in your place of residence that is solid, but, you wish were a window? What would the window give you the opportunity to see?
I kind of would like a west-facing window in my bedroom, which would give me a view of the Inwood farmhouse, Fort Tryon Park and the Cloisters tower, and the crest of the great hill of Inwood Hill Park. All these I can see from my kitchen window, but it would be nice to have that view of the trees, register of the changing seasons, from my bedroom too, on the southwest corner of my building. But I’m lucky, I have a lot of windows, great light, in this 6th-floor apartment.
Do you enjoy stand up comedy? Any particular comedian that you enjoy? What do you like about her or him?
I’m not really fond of standup; it’s overall too raw and primeval and cruel for my taste. I mean, the relationship between the artist and the audience has so much aggression built in. I imagine cavemen saying, “Og, amuse us! Now!” as they chomp on roasted meat around the campfire, and bludgeoning him if he isn’t funny enough in recounting the day’s mammoth hunt. “Hey, Bog getting stomped on, and Gog gored to death—that was a moment, right! Take my mammoth—please!” I don’t know who is who these days in that field. I think Fawlty Towers is a masterpiece, however.
If you were given the gift of an hour to spend with a ‘hero’ of yours. Who would it be and what might be your first question?
Oh dear, this is really hard. I have hardly ever fantasized about talking to famous dead people, or famous living people even. I’d kind of like to have a chat with Mozart about musical form, motivic development, and so on. Just hang out over coffee or Sekt or whatever and get him to ramble on about how he thinks about constructing his music. On the other hand, everything you need to know you can find out by asking the music itself. I’d kind of like to ask Antony Tudor, “How did you make Lilac Garden?” but the history of the work’s creation I pretty much know, and the deep mystery of the ballet is probably not something he could even address, let alone reveal. The most important questions about art works not only can’t be answered, they can’t be asked. You have to live them.
Bonus question: Do you have a lucky number?
Yes! Four! Ever since I can remember, four has seemed to me the most perfect number possible. It doesn’t bring me luck—there’s no such thing as luck—I just love thinking about it.