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WHAT IS CHOREOGRAPHY PART 7
– Gerald Siegmund – Jan Lauwers – Alain Platel –
Why do I not find this question intriguing at all?
I consider choreography to be most of all a shadow. The shadow will follow what has already happened. Choreography is what will be the summary or a generalization of what is now.
We can only capture our past, thus certain things will be referred to as choreography, agreements will be made on everything.
But choreography does not exist at the moment that we see something. All that which is happening now, is and should be something still nameless. And the namelessness is intriguing, because it leaves a chance to think. And think of more than choreography.
The questions of media, discipline, categorization seem to have no power over the future, they are only shadows in the past that too often get projected into the future. The answer to the question "what is choreography" will certainly not tell us where we are. What will tell us where we are then? Letting choreography stay behind us may at least clean the future from choreography as we imagine it.
Therefore I do not know what choreography is and refuse to spend any effort to find out.
Krõõt Juurak (choreographer)
"‘A return to something real in movement, which others later called dance,' is Wim Vandekeybus' succinct and somewhat provocative definition of his own basic principle. Provocative because he rejects the most obvious word to describe his work. More than once in interviews he questions concepts such as ‘dance' or ‘choreography' and prefers using words which refer to theatre: he calls himself a ‘director' and speaks about his performances as ‘pieces'. With reference to 7 for a Secret never to be told (1997) he remarked in an interview with a German newspaper ‘… dass ich am reinen Tanz nicht so sehr interessiert bin. Mich interessiert die Aussage im Tanz.' What interests me is not so much pure dance as what can be expressed in dance. (…) The body is a platform for tension, threat, chance, impulsivity, suppleness and calculation, all at the same time. ‘We don't play tragedy, but pure movement,' says Vandekeybus." [Erwin Jans: Wim Vandekeybus. Kritisch Theater Lexicon, Flemish Theatre Institute, 1997, pp.10 & 16] "I believe dance should always have a theatrical starting point, a theatrical argument, to be able to exist." [Wim Vandekeybus on the relationship between dance and theatre in "Inasmuch as Life is borrowed…", quoted in Tijd Cultuur, 26/04/00)
Choreography is artificially staged action(s) and / or situation(s).
Choreography is the created tension in the opening of space beween one step and the next one, between one gesture and the next one, between one glance and the next one. The more common the movement, the more clearly a fixed sequence builds on the performer's consciousness, on his feeling for the moment. And on the audience's perception. Choreography or choreographic design today more than ever is a process of communication between choreographer, performer and audience, after a repeatable pattern. And in this sense could be understood as inscription of movement in a temporal space.
And while I'm writing these lines I have to think of my cat. How it daily retraces the same paths. Steps down from the chair, stretches, trundles to her feeding bowl in the kitchen, slowly slinks back through the hall to the livingroom, jumps onto the windowsill. The doors are always open so that I can watch her repeated loops with fascination – and sometimes catch myself unintentionally tracing the same paths.
Choreography is a structure which doesn't result only from the organisation of movements in time and space. Rather, choreography consists of the organisation of heterogeneous materials, of movement, bodies, language, texts, images, light, space, and objects. Therefore, choreography is something general which includes the dancing body. Bodies fit into the general, superindividual structure and so become significant bodies, i.e., subjects. Choreography subjugates. One has to follow its rules and renege on one's individual requirements. But at the same time choreography brings forth, makes visible, speakable and experience-able. Choreography produces. Subjects do not become freer if there is no more choreography. There always is (a) choreography as long as there are rules for the improvisation or, more generally, for the design of movement. If we give up the idea of choreography, we give up society. Choreography is the place of subjectivation, the symbolic castration, and thus of the integration of the individual in society, which in the theatre is represented and part/ially produced by the audience's presence. It is the place where the individual with its wishes is crossed out, and at the same time it is the place where the subject receives a desire. A consolation prize, as it were, for us to be able to communicate with it in the part/ed theatre space. So that it may dance and say itself – as a subject fundamentally dependent on the Other and its answer.
It was John Cage who said that for good theatre you need 5 different sources of energy at the same time.
In my work I try to destroy the conventional theatre's idea of the centre. My stage work always has several ‘off-centres' at work at the same time.
Art is energy. Theatre is synergetic. My work is often considered as dance, but it is not. I'm not a choreographer. I'm not a repertory director. But I am an artist who works with several media at the same time. So dance is a form of communication that is energetic and it is one (or more) of the ‘off-centres', but at the same time it glues together the individual ‘off-centres'. And so in my work choreography (the house of dance) is also very important on a dramaturgical level since it has a great influence on the psychology of the storytelling. And that's what I am: a storyteller.
"Choreography" is an ugly word.
Some words are just ugly,
But then … it comes from "chorea"
which is the name of an illness
that affects the nervous system.
The symptoms are:
movements of the body.
Strange to realize
that in my work
I seem to touch the core
and deep sense of this word
more and more.
So, after all
it's a very beautiful word.