Thom Cobb Video Transcript (unedited)

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a nice time job to your BB I professor
emeritus which means I retired fromSlippery Rock University and severe I
Pennsylvania and now freelance thing alot and I’m also president of the
national debt education organization butonly I was a modern dancer improvisation
person and then my real leverage as Imet Daniel Negra and in spring of 1979
my first year at slippery road I wasyoung when I came to Slippery Rock in
the fall of 78 modern dance did notexist no one knew what it was I was kind
of the first of real damn so they’d everhired and so they hired me to the PE
department to redevelop major in thespring of that year 79 the Performing
Arts do the the Performing Artspresenting people through student
government had already booked this mannamed Daniel Negron to come to campus as
part of performing arts series why theydid I have no idea if you know anyone
wanna dance but I don’t think they knowwho Daniel Negron was for sure and it
was all a student project kind of thingso they picked him up at the solar
Regional Airport brought into slipperyroad which is very rural anyway they
give them the keys of the green car andsay oh by the way your hotel is outside
of town I dive here’s the keys the carhere is your schedule you better
performance tonight have a nice weekperiod no he stayed with him no and no
guide and no connection I knew he wasdoing a performance that night so I went
over to the theater at 4:30 to make sureeverything was ok and I go to the
bathroom and walk-in and ever forgetthat this is remembered as thirty six
years ago I just like it was yesterday Iwalk into the theater and I’m in the
back he’s at this stage setting sound Isaid Mr Negron can I speak to you as
well who the hell yeah I gotta get thisis a good meeting so I walk up the
stairs i said i trust everything isgoing ok he says you trust wrong there’s
nobody here I get no sound how I got notech up the sound like myself I did this
myself and I am not a happy birthgosh I said we’re sure is there are no
contact people I said why you have onenow at helping set up i mean immediately
and busy trying to be a lifesaver tryingto be a connector he did a performance
that night which included getting wellthe peace based upon him after his leg
surgery on his leg injuries he didstrange hero which was still my favorite
movies which I was fortunate to haveperformed bits and pieces and two of its
other big work strange hero he did paththe one where the thirty-six years ago
that how indelible it was he had maybe38 to 40 people in the audience
miserable first day afterwards he washungry and we have a great -sub sub shop
in sub-zero Bob’s subs that side of theworld where you wanna go by means
something he does what he wanted to knowwhat television 13 by Bob sub at this
cut in halfgo out to his hotel room which is a diet
and I happen to have a six pack of beerin my car so we go into his hotel room
he had to have a sub I have a possiblewe have a beer and now I realize I am
talking to hit living history book andso he was there the next three days I
was never more than 10 feet away fromhim and he taught several classes one in
particular that stays with me which isaffected my life it truly has its first
improvisation class opened my eyes to alot of different things to say the Jazz
last in blue jeans and a t-shirt that hebought as a we’re going across the floor
with his wonderful things and there’sthree guys in the class me into students
who are not dance majors and then allthese women and he’s doing these big
checkswell my legs were would go higher that
time with the girls are sluts and I andthe boys are not dented they’re working
their butts off so we did is about threetimes Daniel she stops just come here we
all gather around so we’re waiting forthe explosionI said you know I like having boys in
class boys take risks boys fall out oftrees and break their arms boys run
after a bone the street they get hit bya car with your girls would take a risk
with the legs were about eight incheshigher and I have never forgotten story
for 36 years and I still use that storyand then I ran across daddy several
timesamerican dad special idea for a total of
his improv classes I could he was alwaysvery gracious he saidrights look around and you can’t forget
the name is it was Bob Stubbs there it’sstill there and I should return the sub
and we have a colleague my colleagueerode and Jennifer Kellerthey work on the state and when she
moved from Arizona State to pittsburghhas any teaching part-time for us and
we’re confident ally it was so sweetDennis it say haitis appear offline
status if tom is there say hi to all ofhis books have been incredible but that
one moment thirty-six years ago as youcan tell so deeply that it in the end I
only hope this has been one of thethings that Danny’s legacy has left me
that 36 years from now some studentsgoing to remember something I said that
I change their life and and 36 yearsafter that they’ll say that he
autographed photograph my undergraduatehistory book that I using undergraduate
dance history bio commander called forpioneers it was published in 1965 so
don’t even go there and he’s mentionedin a couple of pages he was just an
upcoming well you’ve been around butfinally had reached in at least a point
where people read knew he was at theautographed it and every night though we
will go out to the motel roompops upsix pack of beer and we would talk and I
would ask him all the questions I feltlike I was sitting at this masters who
wish I was asking about all the earlyyears and his work with Tamara said the
work being blacklisted and the whole youknow the whole fifties thing of the
mccarthy hearings and all these sort ofincredible they’ve only read about when
I’m talking and touching the real realdeal and in a very brief first encounter
it was lifelong yeah use the sameproblem quite a bit I used Jimmy Penrose
bills for a while which I really loveand then I get away from both because
you know I’m going it’s improvisationand then you you at an improvisation
teacher you start to run out of ideasfor facilitation so that’s when I went
to daddy’s book and it’s been value Irecommend it to a lot of my students as
you’re going in at age but you can’tteach improvisation he actually said
that you can only facilitated and guideit and instruct but it hasn’t you can’t
teach someone how to do that it just isthat what you did and you can explain
that to him coming out of the periodtime when he was developing as a dancer
coming into his primea lot of that has influenced my silent
I’m just might vary based on authenticwork and his head that I can take root
that authentic feel to it it’s anexternalized it’s not palletized I mean
he uses terms it up as we are doingsomething like that but it based upon
them rooted in the real internalisationof which as is the relationship of jazz
music acknowledging full well that jazzperson foremost is an african-american
for period in statements 1230 AmericanIdol only haveso he helped re-establish my connection
to those routes and the importance ofthemletdowns country inside out versus you
know the outside inand again that stayed with me over forty
year teaching career was a dance thatwas originally done the plantations by
the african-american slaves it isstrutting their hands and you have this
a lot of times you’re in luck Sedo orwhatever and people thought it was a
parody of the Old South about how thesepeople walked in this well what they
didn’t know is that the blacks preparedin the white landowners and white
landowners with what do these cake whilehe was just a totally different thing
and part of that is it’s a kind of ustrading company competition serious
threat the best what was the pricecake and then it became one of the first
popular vernacular downs of the 20thcentury since the african-american
community had finally gotten a littlebit of recognition in the traditional
white society and then became one ofmost popular dances of 1900 at indy when
we were in LA two or three years ago andI just gassed and I let a cake walk to
the lobby of the Kyoto Hyatt Regency ourway through the levee around to the
banquet and I’ll send out directions wehad about 40 people doing this cake walk
and he always talks about it againthat’s his roots of an authenticity and
the impact throughout all of this if youcan replay it and go back and realized
that the authenticity the realinternalisation of what dancers has
stuck with me and I don’t sit down cause19 and was very young little teaching
and I was young when I met Danny I wasonly 26 many like thatand I said 36 37 years later it’s
somebody asked me and I the story justrolls off like that because I started so
late I didn’t have any outsideinfluences on me when I first started it
all came from herebetter they’re doing the stuff that
people like this and that caught my eyeweren’t any cover with you obviously but
my roots started as just dancing andthen when I met him into my career five
seasons later it just reinforced as Isaid earlier what I thought internally
answers about it when someone of hiscaliber you see that you share that
vision and you kind of share with hisfollowers of years and you see what’s
taking him in life you start readingabout what he went through in life it
just you and the other thing that thismay seem a lil bit another big money and
daniel is a man and that’s not a sexistcomment I was a 90% of my teacher women
95% of my students have been women Ilove working with women men but my
experience with Daniel and theneventually even prior to that with most
Cunningham and Eric Hawkins those arethe three men who have worked with it I
went and they’re very muchinfluential in a male dancer’s life as a
young man this is cool I always go backto the center of his sentence
internalisation of central reality isthat the powers and the drive and I’ve
tried to be that I think I always wasthat kind of a teacher at a very good
teacher but then it would he said evenjust in a brief time in our lives
together this reinforced it and I said Igave that is something I can claim to
let me learn more about it so whenever Icould I would take a class with them and
it just kept strengthening that and Iwould hope that my soon to say the same
thing about me what do you think is histhe power of his teaching life than that
the authenticity and the realization ofhuman movement first and were later step
on top of that as well other than tospend three evenings in a hotel room
with Bob serbs in the six pack of beertalking with a living history book is
something I will cherish the rest of mylife and this is my alma mater drunk I’m
dan abrams autograph and when I retiredI get almost all my books to them the
library and my dance my very goodescalation I gave to her department I
have a collection of dance magazinesfrom 1968 to 1978 that are mint
condition I gave those and I was playingat the office I came across my mind and
portal and instead of cleaning officermy last year teaching and there’s
daniel’s signature wonderful citationthat he rode Gary Hawkins our graph is
in that book delivered a graph is anever ending his autograph as a network
and it just gets old for that one staysin my family