The dancer, the unknown being. It still seems clear
that hardly anyone knows how dancing today works and what is hiding behind
these curious doings which amazingly many people like to watch. But one thing is
clear: Dance is less of a mystery but rather an open question which evades the
danger of getting a valid answer by constantly re-formulating itself. "I think
of dance as a constant transformation of life itself," Merce Cunningham once
said, making it clear that fixation on a static formula is out of the question
for dancers in practice and reception.
corpus with MINDS IN MOTION, the focus on hand, try to determine the question
what is going to happen when material starts to dance, when it dis-joints and
attains an unstable state. Even more so if this material is the human body
which is easiest to administrate when it submits to certain orders. But are
dancers then entangled in a "permanent revolution"? Even if this is hard to
understand: Yes – if "revolution" means a movement in which stabilising orders
continuously get changed. In dance today, the cataclysm is so much sine qua
non that it is simply called dynamics.
Plentiful field of research
wanted to know how the system behind this dynamics works, and it was
no satisfying materials would turn up by simple analyses of the results
artistic processes. Structures leading to these processes yet unknown
general public had to be observed – the systems of learning in dance.
thirst for knowledge now sprang a thematic focus which with its 50
taken on the dimensions of a whole book. Owing to circumstances: For
harvested a more than plentiful field of research: the ImPlusTanz
Festival on the Arsenal area in Vienna. 25 years ago, the format which
counted among the most important dance festivals had begun as a
initiative. Today it organises the largest temporary dance academy in
the world – with 200 courses which during four weeks in summer 2008
were visited by more
than 5,500 participants.
has ever before ventured into this extensive terrain full of imponderabilities
and paradoxes, in which curious formations bearing sobering or fantastic names
are dwelling: Composition, Flying Low, Pilates, Dynamic Geometry or Poetics of
the Political Body. Into an area containing all the contradictions which keep
contemporary dance in commotion, and in which dancers are entering a big
marketplace of possibilities where they do their material and immaterial
business. We found a place of enormous exchange values, one component of which
is the relation of money and knowledge acquisition; the more important one,
though, is the recoining of functional corporeality into performative
significance in the course of hard work.
Heavy workers’ revolutions
heavy workers with the reputation of paradise birds. And that's where the
utopia begins which deals with the revolutions in dance: The pathway into a
better society leads through the jungle of body questions. Nothing less can be
seen in such a large gathering of knowledge mediators like in this workshop
zone which doesn't pretend to be a paradise but presents a Mecca for
experiences which implement something corpus tries to capture with this focus.
In order to trace this highly differentiated implementation, corpus has
researched in its apparatuses with publicistic and artistic methods. In a
many-faceted course market with workshops, research and coaching projects,
choreographic ventures as well as the extensive stipendiary programme DanceWeb.
steps, we questioned Rio Rutzinger, the director of the workshop festival, and invited
some of the most important tutors to a "sWARM UP", asking them to write about
their concepts knowledge mediation for us: Alito Alessi on his work with
challenged and non-challenged people, Elizabeth Corbett about William
Forsythe's methods and Damien Jalet on his conception of "contemporary
technique". Eva Hager-Forstenlechner writes about her yoga practice with young
and elderly people, Nicole Haitzinger invites to a reflection of theory in
dance, Claudia Mader provides an insight into her Feldenkrais classes, Mårten
Spångberg interviews himself as film-producing "International Festival", and
Sri Louise opens the book of her yoga philosophy.
Artists, theoreticians, and teachers writing
of investigators invited by corpus into the Arsenal to co-operate in the main
part "SWARM>IN" was composed so that it could illuminate the whole complex
from inside and outside alike. Here there mostly were young artists who did
on-site research, conducted conversations, took part in courses and wrote down
their impressions of what can be learned today in order to be able to work in
contemporary dance. Prospective as well as practising dancers or choreographers
like Andreas Dyrdal, Lieve De Pourcq, the DanceWeb stipendiary Agnieszka Ryszkiewicz,
Martina Ruhsam (who also interviewed Louise Lecavalier as an extra) and Heidi
Wilm penetrated to the inner core of the tuition offers to deliver exeptional
and idiosyncratic reports.
theoreticians with practical artistic experience like Katherina Zakravsky and
Peter Stamer (who also discussed with Zvi Gotheiner and Sascha Krausneker), as
well as the reception technicians Norma Jean Sedlmayr and Luce Yfaire
participated observantly and provided their analyses. Sabina Holzer,
artist, author, and member of the corpusCollective, held a conversation with
Ismael Ivo & Koffi Kôkô and worked about selected tuition units with
special textual methods. The author and paedagogue Diane Shooman moderated a
dialogue between Mamadou M'Baye and Jonathan Burrows. Katrin Roschangar, head
of the training department at Tanzquartier Wien, met Niels "Storm" Robitzky.
Pictorial essay and video level
and corpus staff member Helmut Ploebst talked with David Zambrano and
den Broeck. Moreover, he enjoyed Mårten Spångberg's and Tor Lindstrand's
"SWEAT – the movie". The well-known artificial intelligence scientist
wrote about his life as a dancer from the viewpoint of a passionate
Jack Hauser, through the eyes of John Cage, observed a class by Bruno
together with the photographer David Bergé took care of a fine
pictorial essay. And finally, the Slovenian artist Vlado G. Repnik
Ljubljana) worked out an exquisite video level for MINDS IN MOTION with
eye for special details.
25 authors, 20 of them artists and/or paedagogues, contributed to the
development of a structure which with its interviews and moderated talks,
inside reports and observations, images and videos presents an account about
learning to dance which probably is unique in the history of dance journalism
up to now. Conforming to the international dance community, all texts were
published in English; translations and corrections were done by David Ender and
Harald Weiler. The core editing team, consisting of Helmut Ploebst, Sabina
Holzer and Katrin Roschangar, worked with the support of Jack Hauser and David
Ender, and communications was taken care of by skyunlimited/Vienna.
its completion, MINDS IN MOTION counted more than 8,000 visitors. It was made
possible in this large form by a financial co-operation of corpus and
ImPulsTanz as well as the ongoing basic financing by the MA7 – Cultural Office of the
City of Vienna.
(corpusRed, September 1, 2008)