Reading dance critics sometimes feels like listening to a child holding a toy car in his hand, while explaining to an old mechanic, who spent a life time taking apart engins and putting them back together, how cars function. It's hilarious and ridiculous at the same time (without the sweetness of course...)   

There is no other art form happening withing the context of such poor readership, which is to a large extent the reason for the ongoing marginalization of choreography as an art form. 

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I think of choreography as a sort of natural phenomena. Something to look at and contemplate upon, like one would any other manifestation of naturally assembled elements. In that sense, a choreography has the same properties and may provide the same experience one  would have when looking at the ocean, the sky, a crowded street, a flock of birds, a mountain or a group of children playing.

Bounding choreography to specific themes or messages, reduces it into something that smells like preaching or propaganda in the best case, or gossip when at it's worse. And in both cases, it is unavoidably deeply manipulative. The thing I find most appealing about all natural phenomenas, is that there isn't the slightest shade of manipulation about them. The option doesn't even exist. 

The récurent need of both makers and audiences to handicap the choreographic medium in such ways, has more to do with fear than anything else I feel. It's a way to find reassurance by avoiding completely the act of unbiased, open observation. I think that choreography should deal with how things are made, rather than how they look or what is the story they tell, which is always bound to be a superficial discussion about appearances, rather than an examination of the THING itself.

The damages this approach to dance making produces to everyone involved, choreographers, dancers, audiences and the art form in general, are innumerable I find.

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Choreography is a sort of group consciousness. Very different from the indevidulal one, yet very transformative in the way it affects and Informs it. 

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I'm sometimes envious of sports and how easy it is to measure craftsmanship, talent and ability when referring to specific athletes, coatches or teams.. It seams as though you can't apply the same logic to the arts, as it's a matter of taste or cultural context etc, but the truth is it's actually not that different. Craftsmanship is mesurable. I can argue that I can play tennis, and that my version of playing the game is as valid as the one played by Roger Federer, but that would be ridiculous. It has to do with both an indepth understanding of the game and at the same time, being able to act upon that understanding in ways which are original, effective, creative and inspiring. Artistic craftsmanship is indeed mesurable I think, the fact though there will never be any agreed upon system to measure it, is both frustrating as it is exhilarating. 

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Degrading dancers is the easiest way to creat maximum 'effect'. It's also the lowest one.  

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The best dancers are those able to anticipate how things are going to unfold. They are basically constantly dancing and aligning themselves in relation to what will happen choreographicaly five seconds ahead of where they are at any give point in time and space. 

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Things you can do to an audience:

Provoke

Thought provoke

Overwhelm

Control

Free

Confuse

Entertain

Challenge

Reassure

Amuse

Take over

Inspire

Love

Shock

Comfort

Puzzle

Condescend

Trick

Empower

Educate

Manipulate

Lie

Close

Open

But you have to pass through the dancers for all these. As in, whatever it is you want to do to your audience, you'll have to do the exact same thing to your dancers first. No way around it. You eventually relate to your audience in the same way you do to your dancers.

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The opposite of controlling dancers (through set external parameters such as counts, a set spacing, a fixed relation to the music and each other etc.), is handing over responsibility to them. Dancers sharing an equal responsibility in relations to the whole, will produce a clearer, more intresting, coherent and surprising choreographic result. 

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I don't try to install order, I look for an order that gets installed by itself.  

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I choreograph attentions. Heightened states of attention. Layers of attentions, types of attentions, attentions spans. 

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Choreography is a group of people trying to organize a certain amount of constantly evolving ideas and shared data.

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If a system doesn't keep changing all the time, it's no system.  

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If you don't fully and transparently, share your tools and processes of creation with anyone that comes in contact with your work, (which they'll copy, or be smart enough to be inspired by and then come up with their own), you'll get stuck with them. The best way to develop new ways of working, is to constantly share and give away everything you've got.

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Giving dancers notes, is probably the most overused, misused, lazy and abused working tool. it's a simplistic way to gain and maintain authority, and it reduces dancers into execution machines. I think that if a coherent choreographic system is in place, it will naturally guid the dancers, without stripping them down from their individuality and without dismantling their power position in the situation. I find the most effective note to be ' it's not clear, try again, or try something different.

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Choreographic structures are like cars. They're just potentials waiting to be driven. I like to bring dancers to a place where they are both comfortable with driving them, and have the knowledge on how to do so, rather than remote control them.

 

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I think choreographies are either organic, self governed, self evident, autonomic entities, or they're nothing but artificially organized manifestations of their maker's ego. 

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The masters of the past are something to build upon, while moving away from.  

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Good art is all about being of service to the people involved and the art form as consequence.

I find self expression as an artistic strategy, to be self indulgent, limited and harmful to both makers and audiences.

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My choreographic process is very much like the combination of a ball and a downhill. I let go of it, and then chase it down the hill to see what happens. I think of my process as something I'm following, rather than leading. Or better, in order to lead it clearly, I need to accept following it. 

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The worst thing that could have happened to dance, and the choreographic medium as a result, was turning it into a product, thus detaching it from its qualities as a process based art form, happening over time in a way that can't really be summed up within the actual 'rules of the game'.

Contemporary choreogrphic work should consider this and think of ways to counter the 'product' culture the art form has fallen into. 

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