Springdance Dialogue 2009: Europe in Motion

May 01 2009
Contemporary art is always unambiguously political as it relates to contemporary life itself. You cannot after all work outside your time or your social context. Working conditions, social and cultural paradigms, political ideologies … it all hangs together and has an affect on what I do. It affects how my movement is interpreted, how the work is presented and made use of. That fact that I do what I do – has an effect.
— Efva Lilja
Dance: For Better, For Worse
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Inventory/Räumung & Umm… I… and uh… [revisited] - in London

A regathering of sorts of the GB Springdance team last Tuesday (28th) to watch Gabi Reuter perform Inventory/Räumung as part of Spring Loaded (and sharing the bill with Rachel Krische and Rohanna Eade and Bryony Perkins). Then, on Wednesday, Efrosini Protopapa presented Umm… I… and uh… [revisited] at Roehampton in SW London.

Some (biased) thoughts …

Gabi’s Inventory/Räumung was a different beast in the large space at The Place. Stripped clean of the ‘slideshow’ format in Utrecht, and presented in full, Gabi’s performance was complex, evocative and beautifully vulnerable. It bears many similarities to Efrosini’s work in its explorations of remembering, of the ‘spaces of memory’, but its execution as a danced/voiced description of the spaces of the theatre is quite distinct. It seems to operate in a more imagined place, departing from telling the ‘truth’ (in terms of things that have actually happened). It has a child-like quality, whilst retaining an intelligence and complexity that has easily handled three viewings in less than a week.

In the University theatre at Roehampton, Efrosini was a tad nervous (PhD ghosts examiners loitering in the foyer), and there was a big crowd (mostly undergraduate students writing copious notes for an essay due next week).

Susanna Recchia’s performance was virtuosic in its openness to possibilities. My interest in this work has grown (once again) with repeated viewings. I am less concerned with the puzzle—of figuring out the map or the instructions—and more able to go for the ride with Susanna on her instructed trawl through a performed past. The play between presence and absence between choreographer and performer in Umm… I… and uh… [revisited] is palpable. Who is in charge here? The conventions of structure, pace and progression are constantly undermined, and yet Susanna is utterly committed in her urgency and un/certainty to complete this performance. It is a little like she must finish it on time lest she forget all that has been before her.

Previously this work has engaged me (primarily) at a cerebral level (this is not a criticism), but on this evening I was profoundly moved by this woman’s (directed) hunt through her present/past.

Bloody good stuff.

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Apr 28 2009
to experience the time span in a direct physical way in this house that is your body

Anne Teresa De Keersmeaker
Speaking at Workstories Springdance, Utrecht, 25 April 2009.

She also said, “2 + 2 = 4”.

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Apr 27 2009
… the ‘bricoleur’ addresses himself to a collection of oddments left over from human endeavours, that is, only a sub-set of the culture
— Claude Lévi-Strauss, The Savage Mind
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some things Gabriella Maiorino said

"Is this contemporary art? – Why do I need to ask this?"

"I am tired of seeing ironic art" (Tom immediately said, "So am I")

"I like art because it’s not efficient"

"Different degrees of inhibition" (talking about her work)

"I’m allergic to structure"

"I don’t recognise myself in this word" (speaking of ‘theatrical’)

"In general I start from the body"

"I’m not a visual person at all"

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Apr 26 2009

these words that reoccurred

Europe in Motion is all over. Back in London, and was remembering a couple of things I heard a lot in the last two weeks. I mention these not as any implied criticism, but rather as a smiling nod to the way in which particular ways of talking to and about dance (or any discipline I suspect!) go through cycles.

"What are you busy with?" was a question I heard a lot. I like the tone of it, the way it resists any heirarchy of thinking or doing.

It would also appear that ‘curious’ is the new ‘interesting’. Instead of saying “I am interested in …” we were saying “I am curious about …”. Both words tend to shift between implied criticism or support (depending on the context). At the same time, I felt myself resisting the trend a little bit, and returning to expressing interest rather than curiosity.

And here is a bit of a list of words that we used a lot, but that mean so many things to so many different people. One of the things Nicole and Igor were interested in doing was challenging what it was that we meant when we used some of these words.

Honesty (when talking about movement/performing)
Language (as in ‘dance as a language’)
Dance (!)
Truth (and variations of in relation to moving)
Method (as in choreographic method)
Formal (e.g. ‘formalistic approach’)
Witnessing (how is this different from someone watching?)
Binaries (as in working to avoid them)

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Apr 24 2009

Review/Description of Europe in Motion 22 April

The original text is in Dutch, and is at http://springdance.ning.com/profiles/blogs/europe-in-motion-woensdag-22 and was written by Lotte Wijers.

I dumped the text into Google Translate and this is what came out. I am very happy indeed that I have a serious bottom.

An evening of Development Europe in Motion provides a diverse program. In the triple bill on Wednesday, were performances of Liat Waysbort, Simon Ellis and Vava Stefanescu.

Waysbort (Netherlands / Israel) was Re-dreaming the work with four dancers and a huge white knuffelbeer “(without the face he is not very cuddly can not). The show has been shortened for this program. As the title suggests, the presentation of a dream-like structure. It is released abruptly switched between moods, attitudes or movement phrases. Every time it seems to be anecdotal, runs Waysbort a whole other direction, so as in a dream can not quite follow. But not in an annoying way.

The second performance, Down, is Simon Ellis from Great Britain / New Zealand. It is a solo that he performs a lecture-preformance. He tells about his work-in-progress, with a powerpoint presentation to support. He says that a bicycle and a dance in it, while he is indeed next to a bicycle. He goes to the bike, drive forward, put his bike lock and does a dance. After riding it back to his laptop and is the powerpoint presentation, complete with a review of the piece, audience experience, technical data and contact and tour information. An interesting self-reflexive performance with lots of humor and self-mockery, but also a serious bottom.

The third and final performance of Vava Stefanescu from Romania. In Quartet for a microphone are three performers trapped in a phone booth, where the audience sits around it. The women and a man running around each other, sit together and try gepropt another (comfortable?) Attitude to be found. The sounds they make in the cell are sometimes reinforced by a microphone and sampled. The windows of the cabin take their breath. The atmosphere is claustrophobic. In contrast to his occasional snippets of songs, such as Baby Love. At the end of a performer draws a portion of the ceiling glitter and scattering it over himself and the others go. Eventually one of the women get the doors open. The performers remain in the cell are. I am not sure what I should in any case, calls the performance a feeling of tightness and closeness to.

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Apr 23 2009
As an artist Ellis took the liberty to be lecturer, choreographer, dancer, critic, audience and PR assistant in one. Criticising both dance and the dance community, he shows, as the devil’s advocate, the ‘like knows like’ existence of this dance community. He left his audience powerless. Everything was already said.

Jochem Naaf, reviewing Down (working title) on the Springdance Stage:

(My response is in the comment below)

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PARTS aliens

What is it about training systems in dance?

I went to see second cycle PARTS students perform a quintet of their own works at Theater Kikker on Tuesday (21/04). The performances, with one exception, were frighteningly lifeless. Only when facial manoeuvres were choreographed did they disengage from the disengagement, at which point their faces would invariably take on the life of a botoxed whomever.

I am not sure if this is peculiar to PARTS, but I was reminded a great deal of the way in which cool (in so many forms) infects dance training systems. It seems a minor tragedy that, in training humans to be sensitive to—and aware of—their body-minds, the systems fail to find ways to support the dancers dance and perform as people with histories, memories, thoughts, and freedom. Perhaps it is simply the ghost of the wildly uncool expressionism from so long ago that propagates the cool of absence.

It made for a long night.

The exception to this was Daniel Linehan’s ‘Not about everything’ which started with a strongly conceived proposition, and a simple physical strategy (of constantly turning in circles). His mantra, “this is not about everything”, repeated ad nauseum was riveting, up until the point where he proceeded to make it about everything (about half way through).

The performances included were ‘In circumstances’ by Stav Yeini & Elisa Yvelin, ‘Folksonomy’ by Noé Soulier, ‘Aron & Mikko thinking duet…’ by Aron Blom & Mikko Hyvönen, ‘Star-dust’ by Marco Torrice, ‘Not about everything’ by Daniel Linehan.

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Image by Gabi Reuter, from Down (working title), performed at Theater Kikker in Utrecht. This is the work I made as a response to the discussions we’ve had as part of Europe in Motion.

Image by Gabi Reuter, from Down (working title), performed at Theater Kikker in Utrecht. This is the work I made as a response to the discussions we’ve had as part of Europe in Motion.

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