curated by Eylül Fidan Akıncı
As the entire world is getting back to or searching for a renewed sense of collectivity, we in the dance world are asking how we can reconnect our bodies, motions, and expressions in an equitable way. What does “togetherness” mean today, especially for our craft that involves multiple collaborators, stages, audiences? We invite you to reflect on and discuss around the themes of the biennale “Encounter, Solidarity, Sustainability”. In this symposium we will bridge theory and practice by bringing together trailblazing artists and researchers in our field to highlight the concerns of dance and performance today:
1) How do we carry on together? Expanding the “canon” and de-colonial encounters,
2) How do we work together? Sustainable co-laborations in dance,
3) How do we live together? Choreographies of non-human solidarity.
After the presentations, provocations, and discussions by Dr. Sevi Bayraktar, Jee-Ae Lim, Ilse Ghekiere, Diana Thielen, and Eiko Otake, the panels will culminate in conversations and activations between the students and the presenters. The symposium will close off with the participatory performance Choreographic Games by Laurent Pichaud and Rémy Heritier.
Sevi Bayraktar: Dancing Solidarities: Negotiating Tradition in Dance Theory and Practice
The concept of tradition has been crucial for the historical development of dance. The Western dance traditions are typically conceived as universal “high art” as opposed to the non-Western dances that are seen as the representation of their cultures. This dichotomy continues to dominate our dance institutions. In this talk, Dr. Sevi Bayraktar will reflect on the role of non-Western dance traditions in dance education in Germany. How can the cultural specificity of dance recognize power dynamics and enable dancers to relate to, learn from, and move together with other dancers and dancing communities? Drawing on her study on folk dance styles and political protests in Turkey, Bayraktar suggests that negotiating different bodily knowledges in dance is a social and political commitment towards establishing new forms of solidarity.
Jee-Ae Lim: Moving across borders and reimagining tradition
How is a trajectory of dance and its history readjusted when we link what cannot be linked? How should our relationships be formed when a trajectory intervenes in another, when borders are no longer clear? In this presentation, Jee-Ae Lim will explore the diasporic body and dance as a contact surface and a new form for understanding the complex relationship between insider and outsider, center and periphery, locality and foreignness, tradition and contemporaneity all entangled together. By reflecting on her research “Migration of Dance”, Lim will invite us to meditate on the dance that is moving between bodies, places, times, languages, and stories to ask how to settle, dwell, neighbor, support, associate, move together, and care for each other.
Ilse Ghekiere: #Wetoo: What Dancers Talk About When They Talk About Sexism
Ilse Ghekiere spoke about sexism in the Belgium dance field and how it started a movement called Engagement Arts in a widely-discussed 2017 article. In this talk, Ghekiere will expand on her findings and the question of ethics in our field: What do we do when we experience sexual harassment or abuse of power in the dance? Ghekiere will discuss different practices and actions that address these issues both on an individual and structural level.
In her talk, Diana Thielen asks how one’s own gender identity influences the dance and movement material. Through an intersectional, queer feminist approach and practical examples, Thielen will illustrate that bodies are effects of discourse onto which social conventions, power relations, and understandings are inscribed. Thielen argues that reflective methods can provide us with places of resistance and empowerment.
Eiko Otake: Delicious Movement: Time is not Even Space is not Empty
“Move to experience a body as part of a landscape and landscape as a body; both breathe and move.” In her video lecture, Eiko Otake will share how she teaches as a working artist and how her teaching has affected her art making. Since 2005, she has taught her semester-long class “Delicious Movement: Time is Not even Space is Not Empty” in three liberal colleges. She does not teach “dance” or “choreography” but rather “self-curation” and “collective learning.” Otake’s curriculum combines the study of history, nuclear matters, and environmental research with that of movement. Otake asks how becoming a mover affects each person’s understanding of the world and articulation of her thoughts.
Choreographic Games situates itself right at the heart of what we conceive as the discourses of and about “contemporary dance“, playfully exploring its vocabulary and testing the very grammar it is constructed upon. Questioning existing master narratives of art and dance history, anticipated patterns, styles or aesthetics within an excerpt of a dance piece or text, a group of “experts“ Rémy Héritier and Laurent Pichaud have asked Anne Juren to join them for an evening of choreographic games. The idea is not so much to “hit the nail on the head“ but to expose processes of memory and (inbound as well as outbound) discourse production as we all find ourselves re-orienting and re-locating, relating us to what we see and/or already know.