When ideas take the place of craftsmanship, know-how and expertise, art goes out the window. 


Ideas are too frail, temporary, subjective,  fluid, and inconsistent to be able to serve as the core motivation for art making. They depend on specific contexts and are the result of endless conditioning, and therefore are limited in their capacity to offer the open, uncharted space the artistic process requires. 


True craftsmanship on the other hand, is the gateway through which art can serve its purpose best, beyond ideas, concepts and agendas.


Ideas tend to accumulate, they multiply and produce more and more ideas, which then fill the space and stifle the mind. They are the result of memory, past experience and future projection, all forms of conditioning, while what art needs most, are empty unconditioned spaces and minds.


There is no art in ideas. 



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When reaching stability is the main focus of a choreographic process, choreography ceases to be. Sooner or later any form of stability becomes unsatisfactory, because no problem has an answer apart from the problem itself.


Choreography as a living phenomenon, happens in the constant movement between reaching stability and loosing it, only to strive to find it once again within a different constellation and reorganization of the different elements.


In this dynamic space, lies the core essence and drive of a choreographic work.


Whenever it stops making sense, that’s when the opportunity for renewed sense presents itself.


The question remains, why bother?

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If dancing isn’t reacting, it’s muted, nonsensical, mindless, arbitrary, limited, artificiel, mechanical, automatic.


The only way in which separate lines of dancing become choreography, is through them being a ‘reaction to’ (whatever calls for reactivity). A response to a challenge, which doesn’t leave a cumulative residue as memory. A discovery from moment to moment, an emergence of intentions beyond self projections.


Dancing (within a choreographic context) is an answer to a question. It’s the solution to a problem. An act of reciprocity between situation and (re)action.


Look, observe, process, make up your mind, move (ideally, all of these happening at the same time).


photo: [SUNNY] Julia Gat

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To understand choreography, is to understand ‘what is’. The actual thing taking place, happening, during the creative process, as well as when performed.

This alone brings about the creative emptiness in which choreography can enter, evolve and come into being.

As the answer to a problem is in the problem, so choreography is in ‘what is’. Understanding this, is understanding choreography.

Choreography can only be seen through intense attention, which is the result of observation with an empty mind.

It’s useful to remember though, that most people who come into contact with a choreographic work, don’t do so with an empty mind. Professionals and non professionals alike, watch a choreography with a conditioned mind, with expectations, acquired tastes, agendas, habits etc.

In this impossible and often frustrating gap, lies the true challenge of choreography making and the questions regarding its relevance. 

 

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Shocking your audience, as an artistic strategy, seems to be the opposite of respecting your audience and wanting them to have a meaningful experience. 

When we're shocked, we naturally pull away. If a bomb blows in front of us, we might be drawn to look at it, but we're still moving away from it. We won't come closer and engage really. When an audience is shocked, the option for a dialog with the work is being handicaped. A shocked audience might be intrigued or put under spell, but it won't be open nor feel safe to engage with the work. 

The fact that this is regarded as a central tool and a desired goal for making work, is symptomatic to the loss of artistic vision and the understanding of art’s role as a healing medium. 

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One of the most harmful phenomenas in the dance world, yet rather a very common one, is individuals who think their own specific way of moving should be turned into a generic technique, and be taught/imposed  as such to dancers. The damages, both physical and mental of this prevailing way of thinking about dance, are immeasurable. 

Imitation offers a very limited space for learning, and it’s a sure way to stifle any form of creativity in students/dancers. 

The worrying fact most dancers are attracted to those kind of ‘techniques’, has more to do with the general education system than dance in particular. ’

Paraphrasing Oscar Wild - Conversation (choreography) should touch everything, but should concentrate itself on nothing.

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Movement at its most coherent state, is usually a means to something rather than the aim. In service of, rather than the subject matter.

Running makes full physical sense when chasing, racing or running away from.

Choreography should provide dancers with immediate, clear, urgent, sensible, evident reasons to move. It should free them from the need to pretend, or come up with artificial motivations for the movements they are doing. Movement for movement sake is where dancing becomes self indulgent, muted, futile. It’s where choreography comes to a still point, stagnates and turns abusive. 

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 The more a choreography tends to be permanent, the more it tends to be lifeless.

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The way I see it, choreography is simply the act of creating a frame which enables the generation, or rather the emergence, of meaning. 

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Musicality, is by far the most revealing aspect of dancing, dance and choreography

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Changing ones mind, about everything, is an indispensable part of the artistic process. In a way, it is what learning and creating are made of. A long série of new realizations, altered perceptions, letting go of old convictions and the welcoming of new ones. The artistic process is somehow more about these constant shifts, than it is about establishing permanent truths. It is linked to the fact that the artistic process is an on going questioning act, rather than one aimed at finding answers.

What ‘works’ at any given moment, is dynamic, elusive and ever changing, deeply influenced by the context the work is being made in, and if one isn’t able to change his mind in relations to that simple question, what actually ‘works’?, the artistic process will stagnate and eventually die.

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The quality of a choreographic work, or any work of art for that matter, can’t be solely examined in relations to one specific piece. It has to be viewed in close link with one fundamental question - does the work bares potential for a future development of an original and effective artistic process?


Some pieces, when examined separately from their potential to produce that coherent future process, might be considered as good work, but if they lack the ability to generate and be part of a larger, genuine process, they remain no more than punctual anecdotes. Lucky artistic strikes.

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Choreography, just like Lego, is about assembling things, not really the things themselves. the entire point is the house/car/spaceship/tree you’re  building, not the blocks.

The blocks though, have to be well thought of in order to allow the aesmblage process to happen.

if you’re a choreographer, you should be concerned with making pasta, not growing tomatoes or pressing olive oil! 

 

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I don't creat pieces, I create an ever evolving choreographic system. The separate works, are therefore momentary glimpses at specific points along the evolution of that system. 

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structures before effects, systems before content. The first are creative forces, the second, byproducts. 

Body painting by Yifat Gat

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Choreography isn’t about the creation of content, it’s rather the process of creatively organizing content. What this content might be,, how it was generated, or where it comes from, are all secondary questions. 

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A collective mind will always be more creative than a single one. The process of putting together that creative collective though, can only be effective if it’s the fruit of the vision and guidance of a single mind. Synergies require guidelines. Collectives need leaders, to both assemble, and direct them. 

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It doesn’t matter what you do, it’s HOW you do it that makes it valuable art. 

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The dancers you choose to work with, are the ones best placed to evaluate the quality of the work you make. 

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