How far is too far?

Ivo Dimchev is a name that I am only familiar with since this summer. He performed two solo’s of his own creation at Impulstanz in Vienna. I was unable to attend the performances, but colleagues of mine we did spoke very highly about it.

In fact I was so curious that I had them explain the piece, bit by bit, to me. And it sounded grotesque, over-the-top, self-indulgent, and a vile piece of theater. Still the reviewers were thrilled, the audience was enchanted, and no one seemed to mind that Dimchev went too far.

So, when his piece I-Cure came to Rotterdam, I decided to see for myself. And it was captivating! His semi-drag queen character was as real as any and his dedication to the emotional journey he traversed through the course of the evening drew me in intensely. My gaze was stuck on his image and the beautiful humanity of ‘over-the-top’.

Watch for yourself. But just think his personality, his authenticity, and his commitment is that much more powerful on stage.

Is it over the top?

His transitions and development was seamless and the trust he gained from the audience allowed him to go to these places. I feel actually that he could have gone farther…. We were prepared.

Dynamic Dialogues

This last week I found myself in a creative process again and I was thrilled and obsessed.

We were 3 girls, one choreographer and two dancers. The theme was collaboration, so we worked more as a collective: using our different inputs and strengths to work towards a common goal.

I love working on this theme. There is an utopian idea of collectives forming equality between members and the use of democratic choice-making. Something we quickly find out is that this approach is slow in getting things accomplished. Questions like “I have a suggestion, what do we think?” and “Is this ok for you?” impede the flow of creation.

What we lose with these questions is fast decision-making which is sometimes exactly what a creative process needs, especially in time sensitive processes (and being honest, which project doesn’t have a deadline to meet?).

A better way to approach collective work is to establish everyone’s roles and goals; who is the project leader? who has to make fast decisions? How much autonomy does each person have?  What’s the balance of individual vs group? How clear is the common goal? What are the unknowns?

I’m not out to explicitly answer all these questions in one go; they are usually discovered over time. A collective is a dynamic dialogue between members. And I find this relationships so interesting and fulfilling to investigate!

Functional Movement

Now that I’m a ‘freelance’ dancer one could say, it’s up to me to take my own classes each week and find the best system for myself.

There is a great initiative going on in Rotterdam for professional dancers called “Circle“. It is based on the premise that the community holds enough knowledge that they can teach each other. So one week, I offer my class, the next week you offer class. That’s the circle!

This week I took class from Chris de Feyter. His class had elements of floorwork and improvisation, exactly up my alley! He introduced his class by saying that every movement we do is functional. I greatly appreciate this approach to movement compared to movement for movement’s sake.

I loved the way he got os moving around the space, using the floor, using direction, and connecting with the other dancers in class. It felt like we were on our way to a nice movement phrase and connection that could be used on stage.

Hopefully next week’s teacher will be as inspiring!