Thursday, January 19, 2017

a very inspiring and much needed quote by Marie Curie, found on the blog of Andrew Wass :

Humanity also needs dreamers, for whom the disinterested development of an enterprise is so captivating that it becomes impossible for them to devote their care to their own material profit. Without doubt, these dreamers do not deserve wealth, because they do not desire it. Even so, a well-organized society should assure to such workers the efficient means of accomplishing their task, in a life freed from material care and freely consecrated to research.

to see the post and more inspiration from his blog

community dance - evolving perspectives: intersectional, intercultural, communal

this article inspired the organizers for the coming International Day of Dance in Rotterdam to open up all levels of organisation and enable all participants to share in the responsiblity. tomorrow will see the first meeting for questions of scheduling, production, PR, and exchange in general ... (includes a very useful scale of participation)
*I don't vouch for the assumption about therapy that is put forward in the ladder: therapy is innately for self-empowerment on a personal level. Whether the approach and outcome are adequate in an intercultural situation is crucial, but I find the assumption of therapy as the lowest  (hierarchical!) end of the ladder, to be falsely generalizing a status quo and shut down any possible & much needed improvement.

I remember very well the un-ease I felt after leaving the Zwaanshals-area in Rotterdam back in 2004, as artists-in-residence. we came and were tolerated, had some nice and inspiring interactions, but now it was time to move on. what about the people who I left behind, who had been touched with something that could be pointing beyond their own situation?

now in 2017, it is more clear than ever that if I am working in a local situation, I need to be aware of, and get involved with the people who are a part of it, and they with me. this article was very inspiring

artists are sense-workers, communication workers, just like dreamers of any kind. following from this understanding must be an acceptance that just like every individual being, art/science that has an innate value beyond any immediate "use", actual or perceived.

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.