Artistic production is a place where humans meet. For emancipation, of forms and of relationships. For elevating the belly/the needs, the heart/the fabric of relations and the mind/the belonging to mystery. Of self and of the collective. The pre-conditions are hosting a container, where a legacy is called in, many ghosts, recalled through archive, storytelling and kept alive through continuous learning of those movement forms that they had cared to develop.
No to the genius artist. No to labour bodies. No to representing collectivity. Yes to healing, yes to age, yes to moving the margins, yes to kindness, yes to no to yes to love, as in turbulent times of irrational landlordism and pictures of pictures, to do it again and saying it again, since we forget so fast:
‘’Love, despite its toxicity and violence, can bring us closer to the possibility of expressing human tenderness. If one is ambitious enough to want to create a shared history, then one must be willing to risk an impossible dance, one that pivots on a desire to outmuscle exhaustion, a desire alive to our wavering capacities to bestow and receive responses, and an apparently insatiable desire to question these capacities and what motivates and blocks them, repeatedly.’’ (Peggy Phelan)
When Cranky Bodies Dance Reset proclaims the Return to big choreography!, an expanded understanding of choreography follows. A multinational and diverse ensemble of nine dancers develops complex choreographic structures that, with the support of stage design and music, articulate and differentiate themselves through a common practice.
The project refers to a choreographic practice of the Post-Judson era that goes beyond learning steps and dancing in unison – improvisation and choreography are not (or no longer) claimed to be opposites. Cranky Bodies Dance Reset emphasizes the complex, the ambiguous, the unpredictable and the eclectic in the choreographic practice.
CRANKY* BODIES* DANCE* RESET* (BUILT TO LAST)*
Five works by the choreographers Trisha Brown, Lucinda Childs, Stephanie Skura, Meg Stuart and Sasha Waltz serve as inspiration for the dance research, devoid of becoming the object of reconstruction or quotation. Cranky Bodies Dance Reset understands itself as a living, changeable memory/archive, which refuses a clearly reconstructible derivation, alternates between remembering and forgetting, appropriation and demarcation and always renegotiates its updating.
LUCINDA CHILDS DANCE 1982
After the experiments of the 1960s and 70s, a piece with complex structures that was creating through the collaboration of various art forms – Phil Glass, Sol LeWitt, Lucinda Childs – was presented. In the end, Childs simply called it Dance.
TRISHA BROWN SET AND RESET 1984
Set and Reset, a collaboration between Trisha Brown, Robert Rauschenberg and Laurie Anderson, was one of the first pieces with which Brown established her own company. This was enabled by the common training basis in release-based techniques, which united the dancers and allowed them to cope with highly complex choreographic structures.
STEPHANIE SKURA CRANKY DESTROYERS 1988
To the music of Beethoven, Skura developed a choreography based on improvisation. After the formal experiments of the Judson Church, the piece was above all a reference to what Skura herself claims as Politics of Method: those pieces are political because of the way in which they are made.
SASHA WALTZ KÖRPER 1999
After years of making thoroughly narrative dance-theater pieces and when starting to work at Schaubühne, Sasha Waltz created within the context of Körper a form of choreography that is fundamentally inspired by her studies at the SNDO as well as her work with Lisa Kraus (Trisha Brown Dance Company), Yoshiko Chuma and Mark Tompkins.
MEG STUART BUILD TO LAST 2014
Within this work, Meg Stuart explores various possibilities of choreography – dancing to music, energy work and transformation, new forms of shamanism as well as playing with historical references – and the compositional linking of the layers of stage design and costume.
As human beings we reflexively and successfully sort tons of information on a daily basis, formulating a living ongoing story. By acknowledging that we are natural and obsessive sleuths (What was that sound?; Why is that person looking at me that way? […]) we can grasp this essential component of the creative process. (Standing In Space. The Six Viewpoints Theory & Practice, Billings. Montana, 2016)
A CHOREOGRAPHER’S BODY MIND
Oh, that’s the mind of a choreographer. The mind that had a kind of spatial emotional map of situation, the emotional psychological reading of places and of people in relation to that place and each other. (A Choreographic Mind. Autobiographical Writings. Helsinki, 2015)
Allowance is not a luxury, as in extra time to fool around before getting serious. Allowance is the road to setting ideas made manifest – to experiencing how you’r making can inform you, not you it. […] Allowance is crucial because of what it brings in its wake – the possibility of action. (A Choreographic Mind. Autobiographical Writings. Helsinki, 2015)
Dance is political not only because of its subject matter but because of the way dances are made, how they are structured, and what they show about people relating to each other. […] It is important to me to show people who are independent, strong, self-revealed and autonomous, yet deeply connected to and aware of each other. […]
With dance, my basic desire has been that it is more like life: multilayered, complex, sometimes interrupted, frequently ambiguous, filled with feeling, filled with thought, awkward at times, occasionally confused and even hesitant, showing attempts and failures as well as accomplishments. (The Politics of Method, in Reimagine America: The Arts of Social Change. Philadelphia, New Society Publishers, 1990, S.183-189)
in a letter to Peter Pleyer:
I actually am thinking about choreography in other ways now… I no longer reflect on it as form but more as ways to allow a more intuitive address to the manifestations of affect and phenomenon. The form that appears or that it may take, as a choreographic approach, has the relevance of serving an experiential purpose. I would say that i am asking questions while looking at the appearance of the choreographic activity such as: Does the choreographer always presents it-self as a human modulator or is it more that choreography is being produced by forces outside of us and we are channelling these forces with our creativities as a way to recognize the life at play? Aren’t we always being choreographed?