Saturday, June 11, 2016

preparing to perform at 3x generations / CLOUD Danslab 11 june 2016

everyone gets as far as they can in their life.
often that turns out to be far from any single 'ideal', prescribed or realized as one goes along one's way.
when many get to a similar state, after they started in a similar state of being, feeling, knowledge, and other patterns, that creates a sense of 'generation'

in this improvisation I come as an individual, a professional dancer, but I also come as a member of a generation of dancers, more specifically here in the Netherlands.
what have we done? what were our questions, what were mine? what are mine? what is different from say the generation of Pauline de Groot? or, then, Ton Lutgerink and then Donald Fleming?

what about my "social background"?
the kind of culture that I get associated with, and that I associate myself with?

I remember a lively breakfast discussion with an elder choreographer-friend and my then-partner, where at some point I realized that the friend was still speaking from something that drove him & perhaps people of his generation, questions and resulting views, which for me had already been resolved, by what I did, but which he did not know yet, or was still working to get at. And that with my then-partner, who is nearly 20 years younger than me, the entire situation may well be the same.

so, what kinds of costumes and clothing will I need that re-presents me? & what I want?
my generation? ....

* since this group includes very experienced amateur as well as professional dancers (though I'm not sure about the representation of each in each generation-group) there is the added interest about how far an amateur wants to get, and can get, and how that can wonderfully complement/challenge what a professional can and wants to accomplish. vast GENERAlizaTIONS, I know, and therefore endlessy exciting and interesting ...

reading: Gertrude Stein, Composition as Explanation, 1926 (pdf) / (online)

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

"Vrij Nederland" - dancing with elderly

starting February 2016 i've been substituting for a colleague at SKVR, the largest school in Rotterdam for non-professionals who want to train in the arts. the dancers are all seniors in various parts of the city, some of them confined to sitting, some can still move through space with greater ease. although there were some moments during the neighbourhood-project Delfshaven Dans! where the question of dance-ability came up, this longer time of concentrated work with seniors is new for me.

Saturday May 21st will see a small showing of work by several such groups. I will show a piece that I call Vrij Nederland, named after a periodical in the Netherlands.

the piece is in two parts:
first, the dancers create a sequence of improvised movements: A, A+B, A+B+C, A+B+C+D etc. then they end with a preset sequence that I created for them, creating tension in space, enhanced by colored organza-voiles, fairly reminiscent of Rudolf von Laban's Eukinetics or A-Scale.

i realized that in terms of professional work, this piece may seem a long way from the more mainstrem traditional proscenium theater, but that it counts fully as a professional piece and fulfills the mission of Reàl Dance Company: to re-search and re-form dance from the sense of movement.

with a bit of awareness, Vrij Nederland resists the Capitalist notion of a single value system, which tends to show young, "able" bodies moving in demarcated areas that are deemed acceptable or desirable.

why the emphasis on specific venues as the more valid places to experience dance?
why the emphasis on young bodies?
who decides about the value of achievement? about ability?
and why so often in specific dance-languages?

keep moving ...

Thursday, October 29, 2015

kinesthetic-formed dance

reform (theater-) dance from our kinesthetic sense, above all others
 train ourselves to let the movement be shaped,
not by movement language that we've learned,
but from our kinesthesy in relation to how we perceive and relate with the world within and around us

-> how are sound, visuals, even acting re-formed by such a sensation / experience?

I keep saying that Kinetic Awareness® is an exceptionally good technique for re-discovering the fundamentals of the self, understanding the root of one's own bodymindbeing, before any demands or judgements - then develop whatever potential there is and is desired.
Other than more μετά-oriented approaches, such as Ideokinesis, or BodyMindCentering, or even Feldenkrais, Kinetic Awareness® minimizes any instrumental meta-structures (imagery, instructions, narratives, pre-set movement-sequences etc.) and gives maximum space for experience and self-guided exploration. Props are employed by the student upon their own chosing. While it leaves such meta-structures behind, it is at the same time very systematic, because it helps to discover and follow the system of the practitioner's individual bodymind. so rather than anyone or anything external, the individual practitioner, the individual bodymindbeing, is the system (!) 

-> does dance truly come from the most basic experience of movement as being alive / on our frequency? can we enjoy music because we have a sense and experience of movement to draw from?

same for any other related art-form that involves sight, sound, smell, etc etc.
(and ideally beyond confinements of any single cultural zone)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

getting ready for re-performing 'Sokrates' : the dance/r is present & 24-uur cultuur

While reviewing the videos for the presentations at Mirta Demare International Visual Art​, titled the dance/r is present | de dans/er is aanwezig, Aug 29th - Sept4th, I came to think of Gertrude Stein​'s Tender Buttons, written in 1914. This work had fascinated me since my 20s, not in the least because I understood that they were a turning point in Stein's writing and a historical moment, comparable to Arnold Schönberg's 6 Little Pieces for Piano, op. 19 (1913) which preceded his 12-tone composition works. Stein wrote portraits of objects, food, and concluded with a very long piece called 'Rooms'. The dance Sokrates, in a way, makes similar portraits in dance, out of the moment, as fully as possible, in an ongoing stream-of consciousness, or, as Stein put it, in a continuous present. Just like the recognizable ways in which Stein dealt with words, my partner correctly remarked that as the days wore, on he could notice that I had recognizable patterns in my movements, how I dealt with the information of the various moments.

When I went for a short walk to Heemraadsplein yesterday, for a moment I sat and enjoyed watching the passers-by who crossed the plaza, which had been my initial inspiration for Kruisingen-Heemraadsplein (Dutch meaning 'crossings') After having seen and evaluated myself from the Venice-videos, my perception felt more sensitive than what I believe I could process back then. I wonder how much I will be able to reflect this deeper sensitivity in the coming performances August 29th and 30th, as well as September 12th, at 24 uur cultuur, the Rotterdam 24-hour cultural festival where local art institutions manifest themselves. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

blood on my hands and other thoughts about communication and marginalization

Today I sent in my application for a Research Week at Random Collision in Groningen September 12-20, 2015, which I understood to be about individual (in)visibility in relation to social/ly dominant/ groups, especially if the individual enacts desires or states that are deemed alien by such (a) group(s).

It made me re-visit Pelléas material / b.a.n.q. and re-live my continued ambivalence about this work from 2013. There are many complications, exactly because of the interplay of various levels of privilege and (un)acknowledgement.

I did realize that my very position a bit closer to the margins of White Male Class Privilege (White, but not 'Western', cis-male passing, but not heterosexual and when possible not gender-conforming, part Gentry/nobility, part 'middle class', but neither fully) and the experience of being a foreigner, either by ethnicity or class, through at least three generations, has played out in the development of my professional career in the Netherlands. The un-alignedness with the social surroundings continued and still can produce some very awkward situations.

The latest article "White Fragility, Silence, and Supremacy: Why All White Hands Are Bloody"
by choreographer Malik Nashad Sharpe confirmed my decision to perform in the near future with (fake-) blood on the palms of my hands, when I perform my own work. While I am not U.S.-American, I do find it important to raise very similar questions for the situation in Europe, e.g. how to this very day thousands of people get killed at the Schengen-borders, the livelihoods of many millions destroyed by many hundreds of years of various kinds of colonialism and exploitation which among others, benefits European elites.
(It is an entirely different chapter how much of 'trickle-down' has happened as a consequence for the general population, then and now, and how much the same kind of Colonialism was inflicted on the various Celtic, Germanic, Slavic, and other nations on the European subcontinent, under the banner of first the Roman Empire and then "Christianization", before more and more of them became the new Romans, and continued to do the same in return to others ...) 

Of course part of the desired outcome will depend on the awareness of the witnessing spectator / audience. I do not intend to always let people know why I need to do this, unless they ask, and even then, I would not always feel like having to explain. I know for myself that this is something that I very much need to do. Not having a large-scale company to think of can make such a decision a little bit easier to realize. An advantage of living and working a bit closer to the edges of White Male Class privilege which will hopefully contribute to further undo the very same privilege, in my private life and in my work as a choreographer, who signed on to be responsible for creating kinesthetic experiences, also referred to as dance. 

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
for my own contributions from the Netherlands, in Dutch and English, welcome to

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)