Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Skytime 2014 - a first reflection (anticipating Winter ...)

(screenshot on a computer in Berlin, showing the two livestreams next to each other)
it’s been a week since the successful performance of #Skytime2014 #Moonbow / #MoonRainbows in New York City, and Schiedam, in the Netherlands. summer has clearly ended, fall is now, time to start preparing for winter. (reflection, clarifying, growing directions)

i am clear that a long phase of investigating that started in 2013 about where I want to grow to as a choreographer can start to articulate itself and be formulated this coming winter/period. #directness of #sensorial #experience is becoming one keyphrase, #re-balancing #oppression, and #decolonization another. 

kinetic awareness

as i prepared for the concert, i was working with the equality of all body parts when it comes to bearing weight. my body was mostly horizontal, verticality happened as a result of local contraction of body parts. 

the decision to listen to the parts bearing most weight when it comes to the next move, and to have any body part “on top” remain flexible and able to contract in order to take its weight off from carrying parts, became important technical discoveries, that greatly helped the ‘flying’ and lifting bits.

i also greatly value this understanding, in terms of working on emancipation.
translated into decolonization, for example, this contracting and taking weight off would be people from a privileged and dominant culture making space by themselves for people from a less dominant culture and enabling a healthy move all over, unlike fixations.

(or the same could be done on the level of individuals, obviously)

visceral / imaginary / livestream

re-balancing dreaming (which I so far always chose not to influence by my consciousness to let it do its own thing) with waking and dancing, was another major theme. my performance-mode clearly is not used to be open to dreaming while dancing ...

in a sense, to work with people via livestream in more or less real-time, across time-zones, and across vast planetary distances on something that usually is rather immediate and visceral as improvisation of a dance as a performance, was a special experience in itself.
there were times when the streaming would be interrupted or repeating, so at some moments I no longer knew what was going on in New York, nor could I see the totality of the environment, the night-sky, or all related works of all contributors. added that whatever came was at least 20 -40 seconds after it had happened. and the same with what came back from our side. what was real? what was imagined? did it matter? it was a good challenge to always be completely thrown back to oneself, and face the chance to trust one's own impulses and ebb and flow of energy ...

something new
finally, I realized that there was great value for me in the fact that both sides of the concert happened in venues that are related but not an integral part of lage-scale / institutionally funded circuits. i believe this gave a lot of freedom about what was possible, with fewer expectations to conform to already existing formula.
and I very much like the understanding of do-it-yourself, even when it is done on a professional level. i also always love how very successful this approach is when I work with 'amateur' dancers and in a direct legacy from the works of Elaine Summers, Anna Halprin, or Rudolf von Laban.'Invitation to Secret Dancers' continues to challenge me as to allowing fun and that 'it's just dance' (like John Cage liked his music to be described as 'it's just sound' ... and laugh)

great thanks to everyone who has been involved!
the sky's (not) the limit ☺

for more information about skytime, please visit www.skytime.org
for my own contributions from the Netherlands, in Dutch and English, welcome to http://hemellopers.blogspot.nl

Thursday, April 3, 2014

dance and architecture - sensing and feeling ...

Recently I've been at a lecture evening at the Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam (formerly the National Architecture Institute) on 'Bekleidung' such as used by architects following Gottfried Semper (1803-1879) - While Ákos Moravánsky (Univ. Zürich) talked about Semper and his time, Harry Francis Mallgrave (IIT Chicago) brought up the research of kinesthetic empathy* as a vital interest for architects as well - to FEEL a building, rather than merely 'see' it -

After nearly 20 years of dancing in public space, I was very happy that my understanding of literallly dancing with a building (which simply was on a much much slower scale to change/move than me) found an echo here - voilà  * see here and here for more on the subject

(photo: "Sokrates" 2000 / 2001 Rotterdam -  documentation by Cor Kapaan)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Back to Basics: Which ones?

Currently I am in Berlin for Christmas and the New Year, visiting my partner and my family. After several years of non-committal visits I am beginning to feel very good here, like a yet un-used territory. Using German more often I find that I can tap into ways of thinking that I started at ages 19/20.  The city gives me a feel of tangibility that is very different from how I feel when I am in Rotterdam or New York. Since I was born and grew up in Germany, there is an element of familiarity and known. The patterns are still there and in some respects easier to work with than English or Dutch which both came later, since I used each of these languages in slightly different contexts.

The programming of the Sophiensaele looks particularly interesting to me, because of their political awareness of the times and resonate with my own concerns. HZT and Sasha Waltz / Radiale, still have to check out Hebbel am Ufer

Two articles caught my eyes while we were at a friend of my partner's: in Art August 2013 about Meret Oppenheim and an article in an architecture magazine titled "Back to Basics: a Call for a Return to the Good Old Ways" Both I found significant: Oppenheim's art and consequent ways of working with and despite existing conventions avant la lettre in a number of outlets, shaping her ideas into whichever medium fit them best, as well as exploring the different media, have been longtime sources of inspiration for my own work and researches into cultures and dance in general. Unfortunately I did not take the time to read the second article, but let myself get swayed by my dismay, which is a pity: it would have been good to confront the argumentation of why one would want to revert to the Tried and Proven in a time of Crisis and Change. And whose interests would be served by doing that?

While a new corporate oligarchy seems ready to emerge more visibly, using the Tried and Proven methods of ever more disastrous and rampant destruction of naturally grown habitats for an exploiting lifestyle that resembles the excesses of say 18th century French aristocracy, or Venice in its glory-days, but with much further reaching consequences, I believe it is high time to question such a statement and very seriously ask: which Basics and how far does one care/dare to go? Ancien Régime or a Revolution based on new insights, claiming to go back to the roots of human existence? Both have been discredited in the centuries afterwards as sources of mass-terror and cruelty, always empowering a different elite of people, old style or new. The one difference with Revolution was the idea of opening up a system of political and socio-economical power and make it more widely dynamic, beyond the strata of a single social class of people. But it should be clear by now that any single system will at some point lead to its own crisis, I dare say in order to come closer to fulfilling its own intentions.

One proposal I'd bring in is that any new system should imply an awareness of its own limitations and inherent need for self-renewal over time, in order to not become just the next tool of oppression too easily - plus a knowledge that at some point in its existence, if it is successful, the remnants of the system that was to be replaced and its effects will have to be faced and dealt with.

What can NOT simply be done away with is our ecological condition on this planet where we live. This is at the heart of my critique: If the Tried and Proven have in part brought us to the current catastrophe of our planetary existence, it is high time to ask what can still be done in the face of the current destructions against which the scenario of a movie like The Matrix may seem relatively harmless. Self-delusion, falsely believing that one could continue the old ways just that little longer are clearly no longer tolerable. (see this most recent understanding of our ecological situation (January 2014) Instead it is high time to search and re-orientate amid the ruins of what once was and will take many thousands of years to recover and grow into something different, with or without human presence.

Happy New Year - good be with us all!