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December 16, 2005

Last thoughts


This has been a stimulating, zig-zagging discussion. Thankfully it shifted, somewhere along the way, from who/what/where is the capital of the dance world to what are the roots of creativity.

In answer to Doug’s first set of questions, I do think that or has some energy that used to propel NYC has spread — to Europe, Canada, Australia etc. But maybe it’s pointless to try to analyze why or predict where it will go. As Nigel said, creativity follows its own paths. I agree with Laurie that a certain density of activity is necessary to stimulate work that pushes boundaries. But there is the opposite too. I’m thinking of Anna Halprin going to California in the 50s and Liz Lerman going to Washington, DC in the 70s, both knowing they needed a quiet place to allow their work to grow.

In answer to Andre Gingras, I only mentioned the downside of the new dance center near Paris and the opera house system to suggest that Europe might not be as utopian as it appears. It seems the tenor of these blogs is to idealize the artists’ lives in Europe. But Anouk Van Dijk has outlined this idea in a much more informed and eloquent way. I have to say I was floored when she said that the Dutch government encouraged young artists to go out and experiment and not worry about product. (Sounds like the kind of support our government gives only to the military.)

I like John’s insight that dance is a healthy field because the extreme ends haven’t snapped, and that crossover figures like Twyla help keep it together and interwoven. I understand that to be an artist is to be working from a place of “imbalance,” but for many of us, dismissing whole categories of dance or anything probably isn’t productive. I find that, wherever I look, dance is there, and often surprising, and expanding my idea of what dance can be.

Posted by at 9:03 PM

moving out


It seems that the topic of geography is pressing on a few nerves these days. I am certainly not an expert on this issue in American terms, but it seems that the dispersal of funds to artists working outside of New York, despite it's "affirmative action" feel, has not exactly been worked out to everyone's satisfaction.
Partcularly Tere's.
But since I have always thought that Tere was one of the smarter people working in dance I will withhold judgement and also keep my back covered if I ever move from Amsterdam to Nebraska one day.
One never knows what "older-form pushing artists" might be skulking around, hoping to finish off my provicial dance company ass/aspirations.
Joking aside, I suspect the US system needs tweaking, like most funding systems.
For what it is worth, I do support the decentralization of dance monies, it has worked very well in France, Belgium and marginally well in Holland. Obviously these countries are geographically miniscule in comparison, PLUS their cultural budgets are enormous, so it seems to go a long way.
Nonetheless that 20 million euro French dance center that Ms. Perron's sources thought will monopolize the local scene and marginalize smaller groups, well....isn't that called curatorial choice? Sometimes you are in and sometimes you are not. And in France, most companies are very small until they reach a specific level of artistic recognition that allows them to move into a major regional choreographic center. Would her source also suggest that we close up the Baryshnikov Center because it's curatorial policy is-my sources say- a bit myopic ?
(I can feel the hate mail coming)
The system of regional funding in Europe has brought us no less then Pina Bausch, Alain Platel, Philippe Decoufle and Larbi Cherkaoui. This dispersal of artists has enlivened the arts activity in small cities by giving audiences a more consistent exposure to dance, both local and national. Furthermore, it educates audiences and makes them more willing to dig into more challenging work, therefore improving the touring possibilities for all of us.
And maybe we could wait a bit before burning down the opera houses.
Despite Mr. Bigonzetti's concerns, there are, at least in Germany some very lively places still existing. Amanda Miller has just rejuvenated the theater in Cologne, Philip Taylor is very successful in Munich and somehow I am writing this from an opera house in Nurnberg(without spellcheck) because the Resident Choreographer here thought I was ready for this challenge. At least she was willing to take the risk. And so is her very regional audience.
So maybe we could burn it down AFTER my premiere in January?

Perhaps if we as artists are at all interested in making a change on a national level, then we need to consider new models for a national reach and identity. I suspect choreographic and cultural centers will not be springing up any time soon in Arizona, but low rents certainly make the practicalities of working in dance- an affordable apartment and studio space- far more realistic. Hopefully, a US homegrown solution will be found to the regional funding problems that you face. Perhaps the provincial distribution of monies in France, Germany and Belgium only worked for those countries. Eventually, it may be time for artists to face the larger question of what is more important-getting your work made-or being a New Yorker ?

Posted by at 2:56 PM

Mixing It Up


Tere quoted the original Gia Kourlas article: in Europe “innovation flows like water from country to country” and one of the things I wished had been more clear in the article was an assessement of what characterizes that innovation, and of the patterns in which it flows. These are things I am curious about, and I think Anouk’s post got to some of the issues regarding the patterns of support that foster innovation in Europe.

My final thoughts are that the dance work of “intellectual, creative rigor” that Doug asked about certainly does exist here in the U.S. and in New York. However, the places to look for it remain in some sense under the radar because they aren’t usually big-budget large-scale entities. Come to New York to see some of it—to DTW, to the Kitchen, to Danspace, to PS 122, other places too. Or to events like PICA’s TBA Festival in Portland, or Philadephia's Live Arts Festival. These are examples of environments where the curious have a very good chance of finding new dance that is intellectually rigorous and brave and bold and even sometimes brilliant, albeit under-funded.

I agree with Gia Kourlas’s point that there aren’t as many national presenters in the U.S. fostering the kind of innovative, brave work by artists in dance as there could be. Presenters feel constrained by large venues that demand work that can attract a huge audience of ticket-buyers, but what I like about TBA Festival or the Live Arts Festival is that they find a way to mix the large-hall presentations with the intimate work that can best be seen in a studio, a found space, or a black-box theater. And the Brooklyn Academy of Music did that this year, too, bringing a work of Ohad Naharin’s that was shown in a studio environment outside their own complex. The Flynn Theater in Burlington, VT build a small performance venue to complement their large theater precisely so that they could have this flexibility. And you don't have to have the funds to build something new-- you can borrow or rent it sometimes, too.

I believe it’s possible to mix it up, and that this mixing should happen more and could auger well for the future of dance-making and dance-watching in this country. It will also validate and encourage the creation of more work that is complex, brave and adventurous. This happens to be the kind of work that is being made in New York now. Scale can be wonderful, and so can spectacle, but there is new work that lives outside of these frames that must still be taken seriously as innovative and vital art.

Posted by at 1:54 PM | Comments (1)

Where Are My Corn Subsidies?


Douglas asks: "Is there a lot of experimentation, Gia's 'intellectual and creative rigor,' out there waiting to be discovered and presented?" Yes, there is. But often, obvious experimentation thrives when there's a "classic" against which to rebel. Modern dance against ballet; post-modern dance against Graham, etc. As Philadelphia's Headlong Dance Theater's members said years ago, they're not Steve Paxton. The ground had been broken and they see their experimentation as more subtle. I think this is true of a majority of the innovative dancemakers today. There cannot be peak periods of creativity every year.

I love and completely agree with how Anouk framed the advantages and disadvantages inherent in our different systems. The energy and passion here will never cease to amaze me.

One final note: Jerrold Nadler, Congressman from New York, once mentioned when he was testifying on behalf of the NEA (against the quota system), that New York City doesn't ask for corn subsidies.

Thanks to everyone for a great discussion, to Douglas for putting it together, and to Gia for provoking it. To be continued...

Posted by at 1:25 PM

awakening the imagination


Regarding the state of dance studies and the appreciation of dance, the late dance scholar Iro Valaskakis Tembeck commented that, “The public, and even the dance community keep thinking that dance is in the doing and they have not yet shifted to the idea that dance is also in the thinking and in the reflecting.” There is a resistance to looking at dance as a legitimate object of study that can provide considerable information about society; that the writing, talking, and discussing are just as important as the doing.

If we expect the audience to view dance as a relevant and contemporary language of expression, if we want them to continue to invest energy and interest in supporting dance, dance artists need to be more articulate and more forthcoming in offering information so that bridges of knowledge can be built. I’d suggest that’s what we’ve been doing all this week in this forum. Audiences, for their part, need to be more active in asking critical and thoughtful questions not only about what is produced but about every aspect of the process involved in creating and presenting the work.

As this week’s discussion indicates, people are rigorously questioning what community means to them. Where I come from, community in Quebec is perceived differently than in Alberta or in Nova Scotia. So how to unite people or find tools to unite everyone? That’s a big task. In a place like Montreal, for instance, there’s a diversity of dance forms. But the cross-currents don’t always cross. The ballet world and the contemporary dance circles rarely meet. There are cliques among cliques. People with self-serving blinders.

I’d like to invoke the wise words of Marshall McLuhan, the influential futurist died more than twenty years ago. His famous phrase - global village - may be a clue to understanding the cross-currents. The man who anticipated the worldwide information society has a pivotal idea. The means of communication changes the message that is communicated - or as he stated it, “the medium is the message”- and this profoundly changes the public that receives the messages.

But what’s the message that needs to be communicated? Let’s talk about the transformative power that can occur with dance. But political will is not perceptible until we start talking to people outside our community, looking at other art forms, and getting a broader, diverse perspective. Take that idea anyway you want - beyond our borders, beyond our disciplines, beyond what we perceive community to be.

The visionary thinker Northrop Frye argued that the nurturing of the imagination is a vital task for the functioning of a democratic society. He wrote - and I’m paraphrasing liberally - that without poets, painters, dancers, actors, writers, who can imagine a new future, what future can we have? Frye was defending the merits of a good liberal education - to awaken the imagination; to allow young minds to imagine new possibilities and new opportunities.

Dance needn’t remain a mystifying art form to the public-at-large. Besides, as Frye memorably wrote, “Great art refuses to go away.”

Posted by at 1:19 PM | Comments (1)

new york state of mind


I feel obligated to join to this discussion, even if it’s brief. The tendency for people to react to the essay I wrote in geographical terms is missing the point. The issue isn’t really about New York maintaining its number-one status or that it, in fact, needs to be in some sort of first place. Rather, the essay was positioned as a warning signal that New York has waned as a climate for daring, conceptual dance. The point isn’t even that what is being produced in Europe is better; in fact, the work of the finest New York–based artists is generally more advanced than anything found in Europe. I’m not even sure that many European presenters are equipped to understand the creative magnitude of some of my favorite New York choreographers.

I’m gratified that the piece has provoked questions; if anything, I hope it has made the dance community examine the gravity of the situation. I would like to point out that I revere classical ballet and contemporary dance equally. I selectively cover both forms at Time Out New York because I see it as a way, however small, to de-ghettoize dance (a big problem in this country). And I actually loved Movin’ Out. The question of dance as entertainment has more to do with artistic imagination than anything else.

Posted by at 12:29 PM | Comments (1)

A waaaaaaay too long final posting.


I am definitely an advocate for experimentation and for the use of dance as a way of processing contemporary culture. Obviously, this effects my point of view. I am also an advocate for art as an area of existence that doesn’t have to be held up to the moral requirements that society maintains for an overall, non-chaotic, functionality. Indeed it should pound against these. From that point of view I think that layers of difficulty arise in the field. I feel that a contemporary American dance, one that exists outside of the codes of rationalism that run our lives, has been burdened with policy. The first surprise I came across as a younger dance maker was the community outreach issue to which I responded "What?" Am I a bad person if I don’t explain what I am doing to the audience? Next was the cultural identity question to which I responded "What?" Then there was the collaboration imperative to which I responded "What the f….?" And next the multi-media issue to which I responded "What the mother f…?"
At a certain point the American dance artist had to become a social worker, prove his or her lack of racism through a Benetton allocation of humans in the work, collaborate with a major artist to validate the work, and place various video monitors about the space.

I was very inspired in my twenties by the work of filmmakers Pier Paolo Pasolini , Rainer Werner Fassbinder, choreographer Jan Fabre and other artists who seriously questioned the ways that human beings decided to co-exist , attempting to undermine the reductive sign systems adopted to accomplish this. I wonder if Pasolini had to do a creative workshop for children when he released SALO , for example. I was inspired by how Jan Fabre’s chancy elision with misogyny or facism made one actually feel the seeds of these tendencies in ones own body constituting a potent , sub-linguistic theater. The artists I was looking at were not subjected to moral assessments to prove their worth. In fact the bravery of their moral investigations transformed the works into poetry. The imposition of all these criteria did something to contemporary dance in the United States. One felt that this was a new container to work inside. Sadly, its biggest problem was that information appliqued onto dance buried the force of actual choreographic information–information that is systemic not symbolic. Thematic information became more important than its mode of delivery.

I think this was a huge developmental blow to the American dance artist. In that vacuum, the European choreographers opened up to philosophy and conceptualism, while we were being forced into issues of identification. Presently many dance artists, young and old are looking directly at the question "What can choreography be?" They are doing this in countries and cities worldwide.

But here we go again. I have definitely heard the "Well ,we can’t have too many New Yorkers for this grant round"
The dilution continues. I am already slapped on the table for funding with regional ballet companies, tap dancers , artists looking at their cultural identity by placing its signifiers onto movement and now people who don’t live in New York.
Please do not misread what I am saying!
All of these items can comprise excellence in art-making , but they are erroneously used in contrast to each other to assess their worthiness for funding.
As sensitive as this discussion is I must state that I still believe, if not a preponderance, at least a very large percentage of dance thinking and making in the United States gravitates to New York. This is in no way a dissing of artists in other cities. I think there are great artists in many cities. I travel all over the United States all the time and I am actively engaged with many artists from outside of New York. But the potentially deleterious results of this article and this discussion for New York artists are enormous. I do not think where you are from should in any way be a component of funding allocation. I have a very difficult time when older, form-pushing artists, who have committed themselves to this art do not receive funding because someone else who is 25 gets its by virtue of the city he/she lives in. This is where policy making and art implode on each other and the work suffers.
In addition, panelists on grant-making committees who are not from New York, should have credentials beyond their not from New York status.

I love Anouk’s assessment of the European /United States strain of this discussion. Gia writes in her article " In Europe, innovation flows like water from one country to the next." But is it all innovation? I feel that indeed there are great works coming out of Europe, but at the same time it needs to be acknowledged that many artists there are answering local questions of trend that can be very provincial. This "dialogue through making" precludes what could lead to more singular investigations. The state of the art as subject matter, with ideas about shaking the audience from "complacency" as an explicit goal is not as important, in my opinion, as the real subversion that can happen through a detachment from meaning. Three weeks ago, I saw a recent work by Christian Rizzo , and it was brilliant. It was brilliant for me because it went so deeply into its own nature, pulling me there and asking me to re-see, re-think, re-assess. It did not insist that I re-asses the "relevance of the proscenium" or other re-workings of the conventions of the theater. It subtly asked me to rewire my internal mechanisms for experiencing the relativity of things in a horizontal way.
No protagonist, either character-based or thematic, emerges.
Christian is French, the power of his work was Rizzo-ian.

In response to John Rockwell’s penultimate posting, "you’d think…" , I think these are some good ideas. I want to point out in fairness that Wally Cardona and myself were included last month in the International Festival of Dance in Cannes , curated by Yourgos Loukos , who ,thankfully, isn’t focused on the artist’s country of origin.

In response to John's last posting, I am not so sure that I would assess the history of music as you do, so it is difficult to compare it to dance. If you read all of my posting, I do state that I am speaking vehemently out of a sense of imbalance. So , the layer of information that a "Moving Out" imposes on to dance in general is a problem for me directly related to this sense of imbalance. Its predominance at the level of visibility could seriously obfuscate the goals of much contemporary work for a potential dance viewer. (don’t even get me started on Susan Stroman’s co-opting of the word experimental with that ordeal she created years back) I would absolutely love to see and would stand up for a dance show on Broadway that was successful on dance terms–one that was actually inventive and stood outside of the politics of mass consumption.

And also your "Beware, the mindset that dismisses one or the other" is incorrectly pointed and a touch too parental. I am saying that categories need be clearly delineated – I am not saying that experimentation and entertainment are mutually exclusive.
That is an unwelcome layer you are adding.

I would like to thank Gia for all her provocations, as well as her support of this form. As difficult as these
issue-related articles have been for some, they have enlivened this national scene immeasurably and are definitely creating some dialogue between artists, between artists and presenters and between critics and artists. I hope that the audience can be witness to these discussions as well in the future.

Lets keep the dialogue flowing.
Sorry about all the commas.
I am a comma-ner.
Happy Holidays.

Posted by at 11:19 AM | Comments (2)

one more thought


On this quesditon of experimentaiton vs. entertainment, and Tere O'Connor's abhorrence of "Moving Out" (tho I'm no Billy Joel fan): In music, a 100 years ago, a split opened up beween the vanguardists and the populists. Music by now is bifurcated between classical avant-gardism that hardly anyone wants to hear (or post-Sondheimian or mid-cult reductions of older-fashioned classical music that aren't much more popular) and pop music (which in turn now has its indie obscurantism and top-of-the-charts calculation). Dance has been healthy because those extremes haven't yet snapped apart; there's still some sort of continuum. Some choreographers entertain (with whatever high-art pretensions) and others work earnestly in their lofts (with however much resentment that they aren't better supported). Audiences are similarly diverse. But beware the mindset that dismisses entirely one extreme or the other.

Posted by at 7:55 AM

you'd think...


Why should American dancers have to rely on a Cold War State Department or dysfunctional public support to peddle their wares abroad? American festivals import European companies (sometimes with French subsidy, often not). If Europe is so (relatively) rich, why doesn't some enterprising producer in France or Germany or Holland really spend time in New York and put together a festival in their home cities featuring all kinds of interesting choreographers who aren't yet known abroad? Or maybe they could jointly conceive such a festival with American producers. Yourgos Loukos or Simon Dove, meet David Sefton. I could put together such a festival in a flash from the good stuff I've seen this past year alone. Whoever did that would get a terrific festival that might also go a long way to restoring New York's national and international lustre. Because it's not the creativity that's faded but the lustre, the magnetic ability of NY to attract people from all over the world in the expectation of encountering something -- performances, teachers, an avid scene -- exciting.

Posted by at 7:42 AM | Comments (2)

The Body and the Spectacle


Anouk has deftly and feelingly defined the states (and perceived states) of dance-making on both sides of the Atlantic. Her personal arc also illustrates two distinct eras of dance development, one in New York, one in certain European countries, that together show how artistic energy shifts between different poles over time.

But I want to offer my final remarks referring back both to Laurie's question about artists desiring the concentrated density of experience with their peers and to Doug's musing about the seeming sparseness of American dance activity (where is the dark matter that constitutes its true mass?). In brief, American contemporary dance has always been about the body and its immediate environment. It could afford little else, and so focused its collective imagination on articulating all of the languages that the body could possibly speak. The body craves warmth, and similarly artists vested in the body require as a fact of creation, wittingly or not, the close company and friction of others. This is dance after all, the materials of the craft all human, sex and sensuality never far from the main event. No place on earth has ever, now or in the past, offered that particular seduction and intimacy in the art form that New York has. It is the Positively 4th Street, both real and mythic, of much of the historic will to explore, create and build human community through the medium of dance.

In Europe, because of the institutional baggage of centuries-old traditions in theater, opera and ballet - not to mention royal and state patronage - contemporary dance emerged, even in its nominal infancy, with the obligations and trappings of its own defining ecology. Artists passed, in as little as a year's time, from nascent choreography to press conferences in the garden at the Avignon Festival. And whatever the individual artistic impulse, some of the highly desirable enabling conditions (well equipped stages, festival sponsorship, Maisons de Culture, social welfare benefits) demanded a certain pound of flesh - the construction of big spectacle, visual achievements capable of holding their own in the shadow of the other state-sponsored disciplines that preceded them. Sitting in a theater in Bobigny (Paris) some years back, watching the French choreographer Phillippe Decoufle's "Shazam" (eventually seen in New York at BAM), I had a sudden flash of insight into what was happening on stage that night and elsewhere in many cases in European dance. Decoufle had brilliantly constructed a theatrical language that was in fact a dense vocabulary of deconstructed spectacle, shards and images of mature theatrical tradition, with performing bodies present, but not central to the artistic vision.

Body and spectacle are not mutually exclusive; available resources, structural or occasional, marry them in countless ways. But in general, the terms define the gulf between the historical (and current) New York template and its Western European counterpart. The real question is which one gives rise to vital and sustainable community, which provides the most intimate call-and-response of individual visions in close proximity, which would you want to lie down with for warmth on a cold winter's night? Or in Tere O'Connor's case, to sit down with for a grand and gourmet meal?.

I'd guess there would be a wild geography of answers.

Posted by at 5:32 AM

The old and the new


When I studied dance in the 80’s in the Netherlands, New York was the place to be, study, indulge, for any European dancer who wanted to be taken seriously. So I left and studied as much dance as my body and mind could handle. Great teachers, great energy. Americans have taught me about work ethics, focus, endurance, soul! When I fell in love with an American in the early 90’s, I seriously considered moving over and finding my way in the dance jungle overseas. Had he moved to New York City I might have had, alas he chose for Kansas City and my choice was made in favour of my art: at that time I had begun receiving considerable grants as an emerging choreographer in the Netherlands. I decided to stay home.

Now, a decade later, if you’d ask anybody in Europe if New York is the centre of dance, most people would definitely say no. The artists from the US presented in Europe are mostly the artists that were well know here already 20 years ago. Hardly anyone new makes it from the US to Europe. After having lost touch with the US for many years, in the last 2 years I’ve visited the States again several times and have spoken to different artists and presenters again. Even though the image of dance in the US seems to have suffered a severe blow in the last decade, the spirit most definitely has not. Re-entering the dance scene in the US again two years ago during the annual Dance USA: what a joy to feel the focus, energy, determination of the people again! It was heartwarming to hear everyone speak about what they cared for in such generous ways. In the afternoon a quiet gathering of choreographers, having come together as peers, discussing issues. A talented colleague, a mature NY artist, speaks up: talking about the reality of his fame, finally playing BAM but having no money to afford a decent administrator, a decent rehearsal period, decent wages for the dancers, let alone looking into a set design, a concept for a set design, a concept for a light plot and the time (read: money) given to try out those ideas elsewhere than only in one’s head and still being severely judged on what one produces as if you had worked under the same circumstances as famous Anne Teresa de Keersemaeker of Rosas in Brussels. A silence fell and 50 colleagues recognized the dilemma.

I sat there and suffered with them. But secretly feeling blessed I hadn’t moved to the US 10 years ago. Even though it took me an incredible amount of work and time, at least in The Netherlands all my efforts were made in the realistic prospect that in the end it would amount to a much better situation than where I started at 20 years ago. So, taking one step at a time, I managed to build a dance company with structural support from the Dutch government. Starting out with a voluntary manager I’m now able to afford a professionally paid, year round staff. I can make one new production every year, working with highly professional dancers who can dedicate themselves completely to being performing artists since they’re paid as professionals in any other field of society. I’m able to work 9 weeks non-stop on any of my new projects, spending at least one week in the theatre on light-, sound- and set-design. And I’m actually the smallest, structurally funded company in The Netherlands. Seeing the situation in the States now, I cannot imagine my situation having been that way if I had moved to the US. I probably would not have developed my own movement system, the Countertechnique, I would not have had the time and space to research freely and come to new, daring insights. I have heard many of my American colleagues say this: developing yourself as a choreographer in the US has become a very heavy journey. Producing a work in two weeks is not possible, yet it is often expected. How can you discover new territory and take risks outside of what you know, outside your tradition, in two weeks? One doesn’t.

In this regard, it seems unlikely to me that the US dance scene as a whole will command soon once again the authority that it had before. This is most definitely not due to the quality of the artists of which there is obviously no shortage at all. The situation in which they are expected to develop their artistic potential however is, to say the least, very contra productive to what the artistic process demands. I’m not saying that a better financed system automatically creates better artists, not at all. As vibrant as the Dutch dance scene is - where by the way hardly anyone is Dutch, since the financial support system for artists is so uniquely developed that it attracts many foreigners who never leave again – in Europe and further away it is not at all very highly regarded either. One could certainly advocate that the well developed financial system is partly due to that. In the nineties the government sent out a clear message to stimulate young talent to go and play, try out and research. Artists were encouraged by policy makers and presenters alike to research grounds that were far away from “the market place”. The main criteria for receiving support was the artistic quality of the work, whether or not it reached an audience was far less relevant. Soon outside the big company structure a whole freelance scene emerged and started to grow. People felt free to make new connections, to combine old with new, theater with dance, visual art with text, etcetera. But now that we’re a good decennium further this generation of young and new have become established themselves and are now for a good part dedicating their energy to making sure they keep the money that they have been receiving all the time – while at the same time having to conclude that their work has lost contact with the audience, both in the artistic content and in the numbers of people that come and experience the work. This is in my view the downside of our wonderful system.

And in that sense then, to end optimistically, in my view the US dance scene most certainly is ahead of the Europe scene. It’s not spoiled, not completely self-centered nor completely unaware of their audiences and their heritage. To be an American artist in my view demands complete dedication to what is artistically driving him/her – to not lose yourself in all the other stuff they have to deal with. It demands also a sincere interest in relating to society and the audience, so not to get isolated from the society you live in. And last but not least, American dance artists mostly have a big awareness of the great modern dance tradition the US has – which many of my European colleagues often seem to be totally unaware of, both of the value of what was established in this tradition and of the results of the experiments that were once executed in the States to discuss these traditions in order to move on from there. In my view most of the European ‘conceptual dance’ wave for instance is repeating – in a lot less interesting way even – what was shown 20 or even 30 years ago in the US. For these reasons I myself do feel very much at the right place when working or performing in the US. After the postmodern multidisciplinary melting pot era, it’s my opinion that the dance world is in need for specializing again: finding new movement techniques, new working ethics, new ways how the art form could communicate to an dance-alienated public who has lost contact with their own bodies. Though both the infrastructure and the financial situation necessary for accomplishing this is within the US unfortunately almost completely absent, the mindset for establishing for such developments is most definitely there. And that’s where it all starts.

Posted by at 4:24 AM


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