Live performance purism. Is it a thing? Or might it become a thing?
It took me 2 months to understand that I am a live-performance purist.
I love it when a work of art in the flesh speaks to my soul directly.
I love the magic that occurs in theatre space.
I love the bodies in space, the exchange of energy, the exchange of live energy, the sweat dropping on the floor, the sound of breath, the sound of bodies on stage, the sensation of an audience at the edge of their seat, laughing, crying, loving, hating, applauding, leaving the room, feeling asleep, being wide awake, being bored, being enthusiastic.
It took me the whole lockdown (or, are we still lockdown-ed?!) to come up with clear questions and thoughts about the situation of the dance world post-covid crisis.
I have shared them during few European Round Tables I have been lucky to take part of, and I would love to hear your thoughts on them, or simply just share them with you.
Keep in mind these are open questions. Probably no answer or as many as we are.
Could we come up with a manifesto or something? Made together, agreed together with artists, venues, production houses etc.?
Let’s see what the present holds.
Is it (the right) time to rethink our production system, our interdependency, our values, together as a community?
Are we able to genuinely work as an eco-system?
Is it (the right) time to challenge our practice?
How can we work and create with, around, through, inspired by or without the digitalization of dance?
How can the spread of online dance shows honor and respect the final product that is the live performance? How can « digital » dance become a practice on its own, like dance-video for example?
Is it ok not to feel like you want to challenge your practice in that way? yes.
Is it ok not to be ready for such a challenge? yes.
Is it ok to discover a new passion for the digitalization of dance and drop live performance? yes.
Is it (the right) time to question inclusivity of dance’s online presence? (and of dance in general, through any means, any platform, any shape)?
How can we do that.
Kindness, hope and support.
Thoughts welcome ⚡️
Photo: taken at KLAP Maison pour la Danse, Marseille - Octobre 2018
LAUGHS and SWEAT
What a week my friends, what a week.
After diving into the world of the research, the everlasting surprising trials (well, isn’t it always the case anyway), we started to set. Yes, we SET a section. I call it the floor section, or we call it the frustration section aka. numbers and counts and directions.
We shared the work on Wednesday and thank you so much to those of you you came!
Few of the words that came out after the sharing were:
YES. All these, yes.
We then shared our research during the workshop / shared practice (I never really know how to call a good old come-play-with-us session). Wonderful. Fresh energies, new energies, new group, wonders happened again, the trust, the catharsis, the throwing ourselves in it.
We filmed. Danilo Moroni and us at cre8 Studio, 4 hours of filming the trailer and of being excited when watching bits of it through the tiny screen of Dani’s camera.
We wrapped up. 3 weeks, 15 days that felt like one long day. A safe place, an open space, a fearless and generous energy reigning into the room.
LAUGHS and SWEAT - the two best ingredients to create.
Next stop for the Octopus: KLAP Maison pour la danse, Marseille. We will be sharing the section we have just made (work-in-progress) on Monday 1st October, 7pm, and it’s FREE.
D Y S F UN C T I O N
We improvised again. "Dysfunctionality" being at the centre of the piece, it could be/have been/is easy for us to get lost in the endless possibilities of what is dysfunctional, or even what it means. Our pot of physical options is full, B U T instead of getting carried away with some hyperactive and hyperdynamic improv.... we took time...
The air in the studio was S E R E N E, and by the end of the day, smelly.
We are back at The Place for our 3rd and last week of the summer. This week is about testing the potential of a section. Or rather, the potential of three sections put together in one.
Magic has happened again, and I am so GRATEFUL to be working with this wonderful, inspiring, generous and crazy bunch of artist. #luckyme
There is only so much we can make in a week time. And trying out a new section is one of the things we made. It is hypnotic and mathematic.
Some of the words that came up about this section during our sharing were "alien, beast, authentic, raw".
The seed of a duet between Ali and Jo was born this week, and we started setting Cat's beastly solo.
Now it is all about when, how, why and where will those sections live exactly in the final version of the piece.
Thank you so much Dance-City for having us!
On Tuesday, we dove and dug the section that appeared on Monday. Overnight (Monday to Tuesday) it became an obsession and we HAD to develop it. To see its potential, its surprises, its effects and its stories...
On Wednesday, we had time to dive again. I think this week, we are mainly focusing on one hybrid part. We're still approaching movement and improv under the scope of APOPTOSIS.
Some really great things came out of our improv today.
APOPTOSIS is a 5 step mechanisms and offers so many theatrical possibilities.
So does cancer.
If someone had told me I would consider cancer as being an endless source of inspiration... I would have laughed my ovary out.
When you realize what you had in mind was not what was going to happen. When you try out something just to try and it all makes sense, you scream WOOHOO and YYYEEESSS and AGAIN? and you just want to dig and develop and dive into the idea... This why Tuesdays exist. To keep the magic going.
Today we dove in this new idea - APOPTOSIS. Programmed cell death. Isn't that incredible that when a cell is defective, it commits suicide, it saves the whole body by self-destroying... Well, a cancer cell is a cell that had lost this ability to commit suicide.
Does it try? This, we're not sure of and in the middle of rehearsal, we emailed Dr Eisinger to check our facts.
ISN'T IT MIND BLOWING?
Nevertheless, cancer cells don't die. Or don't die just yet. They are ironically too full of life. Those beasts.
Tomorrow for more.
* C U R I O S I T Y * E X P L O R A T I O N * G R A T I T U D E *
Week 1 - Session 3. Directions the piece takes on its own.
You make a plan for it to be changed, a structure for it to be destroyed, a piece for it to surprise you.
Well. This is what tonight, Friday night, is happening. Re-writting what I thought was going to be the words.
On Thursday, we were taken on to the animal world by the wonderful and endlessly inspiring Gabrielle Moleta. We became hunting dogs and ostrich.. or we started to feel what it could feel like to start becoming them. Their size, senses, tempo, weight, smells, groove, essence.
The truth of our responses.
Today we improvised on and on and on and on. And 40 minutes before the end of the day: a scratch on paper.
On Sunday, we are off to Newcastle… change of scenery.
It's all about the GREAT CHAIN OF BEING.
The tension between being a thinking person and an animal. A beast and a god.
Thomas joined us on Day 2 to chat body - mind - pain - mortality - immortality etc. As always, listening to him was extremely inspiring and would deserve a whole day!
Today, we danced and improvised cells making a mass / bodily needs / being human.
It feels like there would be so much more to explore. From DNA to strange cellular phenomenon whose names are impossible to remember.
A B S U R D H U M A N C O N D I T I O N
Today, we explored the word, texture, physicality of DYSFUNCTIONALITY. The condition of being dysfunctional.
We chatted DNA, consciousness, body, mind, genes.
We drew, we sculpted, we embodied and we embraced. Also, we were very hot.
D Y S F U N C T I O N A L I T Y
Dysfunctional group of people
As Annie Pender told me last September: health might be communication, unblocked pathways.
I guess... I am interested in those blocked pathways, these frictions, these impossible communication.
Tomorrow for more.
This is the end and yet the beginning of it all (background lyrical music)
3 weeks have passed by really quickly. They have been inspiring, surprising, challenging, questioning, testing, wondering, dancing and full of momentum.
The Wellcome Collection’s Reading Room overflows with treasures about science, health and illness. The division mind and body remains a real enigma and gynaecological cancers too. I realised a lot of people (men and women) were not able to place a WOMB or a CERIX on a drawing. There is a lot of work there to be done. So we’ll keep on diving, digging and trying to make sense or give body to what is scary, frightening but also ô so absurd: a disease.
What the hell it is, to have a body?
I leave you there with few of the quotes I found at the Wellcome Collection, but most of all, with Thomas Stern’s essay The Human and the Octopus >> HERE
Thank you to everyone who joined our discussions, our workshop, our work in progress showcases and who have been sharing references/books/thoughts with us!
Thank you to Hattie, Rosie, Joachim, Jennifer, Lewis, Ali, Danilo, Eva, Annie, Ruth, Karin and Guillaume; Adeola Olaitan, Thomas Stern, The Place, Arts Council England, Valerie Brown, the Wellcome Collection, TROIS C-L Luxembourg and Kinneksbond Mamer.
To the next phase!
Photo of events at the Wellcome Collection: Danilo Moroni
Currently touring The Ephemeral life of an octopus.
...New project soon...