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CoachingProject: 14.7.-18.7. 2008
Guy Cools & Lin SnellingRepeating Distance
Montreal-based choreographer Lin Snelling and Belgian dance dramaturge Guy Cools met when Lin participated in the improvisation project "Blind" by Flemish choreographer Alexander Baervoets which was produced and presented for the even Vooruit Danse en Avant, curated byGuy Cools.
Out of fascination for each other’s city - Antwerpen and Montréal - they went into the studio in both cities to find a meeting ground between movement and text; between body and external eye.
Repeating Distance, the improvised dialogue which resulted from this, was developed and presented during residencies in Arts Centre Monty in Antwerpen, the Fondation Jean-Pierre Perrault and Studio 303 in Montreal. In May 2005 it was presented 15 times in only 3 days to a large audience, as part of the project Body Walks in Brugges. During workshops given in Toronto and Montréal, the educational potential of the project, for both choreographers and performers, was researched.
As an artistic project Repeating Distance investigates:
- new ways to edit language and movement;
- the translation process between the presence and fluidity of the articulated and highly trained body of the performer and the verbally articulated consciousness and
physical economy of the dramaturge;
- how to use a local, urban landscape and an actual performance space as a source
for a non-linear form of contemporary story-telling;
- how to develop a collective repertoire and memory of movements, images, stories to be used within an improvised performance form;
- performance time and space as a balance between the deep structure of the rehearsal practice and the surface structure of the actual performance.
We are paying attention to how the body moves and writes. It is a slow process that involves the experience of “going for a walk” and then “remembering the walk.” What are we choosing to remember? And why? And how does this recall become present in real time? As we walk and remember we discover the most overwhelming activity... that of slowing down and opening up.
We are writing the body and moving the word.
In our work as dance artists, the body is the word. Each one at its most essential is poetic by nature, full of paradox, mystery and practicalities; a kind of intelligence that poetry captures and movement evokes. This intelligence demands an articulate way of repeating movement so as to refine and edit... a method involving subtraction... so the words and the movements become charged with energy and can carry the memory of the viewer back into a sentient dialogue with place.
We are repeating distance so that the imagination of all watching can emerge. We become guides into the myriad fluid connections held and carried inside the body, inside the spirit, and inside the soul of a city as it transforms itself endlessly under the influence of the time of day, season, and age. The timing of a city is the chance crossing of millions of lives... all weaving into the amazing texture of a day. The threads are so fine and so dependent on routine, necessity, livelihood, occasion and accident. Just like the human body; also a miracle of timing and accident; a fluid reality with a beating heart; something we take for granted and marvel at; a conscious and unconscious paradox.
As an educational process, Repeating Distance can teach:
- to integrate voice and movement;
- to improvise with language and movement in non-linear, narrative ways;
- the develop a higher awareness of performance time and space;
- to use their own daily reality as a source to create material;
- to use improvisation both as a tool to create choreographic material and a way to keep their performances alive and present;
- to work with both trained and non-trained bodies and performers;
- to include the act of ‘watching’ as a meaningful theatrical device;
- to discover their body and memory as creative sources for both physical
and verbal expression.
Trained as a dramaturge for the theatre, Guy Cools became involved at an early
age with the new developments in dance in Flanders since the 1980’s. First as a dance critic and from 1990 onwards, as the theatre and dance director of Arts Centre Vooruit in Gent, Belgium. There he has co-produced and collaborated with choreographers such as Alain Platel & Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui (Les Ballets C de la B), Michèle Anne De Mey, Karin Ponties, Cesc Gelabert, Angels Margarit, Marie Chouinard, Lynda Gaudreau, Jonathan Burrows, Akram Khan, Iztok Kovac, Caterina Sagna, and many others. As vice-president of the Dance Council he was involved in designing the cultural policy towards dance of the Flemish Community. He also curated dance events in Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, Venice and Montréal. Recently he returned to his old passion of teaching and writing, giving workshops and lectures and publishing in Belgium, Canada, Great Britain, Germany and Greece.
Since September 2005 he lives in Montréal where he focuses mainly on his work as a dance dramaturge with artists such as Koen Augustijnen and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui (Les Ballets C de la B), Danièle Desnoyers, Akram Khan, Sara Wookey, amongst others. Repeating Distance is his dance début.
Lin Snelling continues to investigate, perform and teach improvisation which has cultivated an exploration into body work in relation to dance and the spoken and written word. Lin has performed with Carbone 14 (1989-2001) touring extensively, both nationally and internationally. An interest in multidisciplinary art and re-invention fuels her nearly two dozen choreographies; such as Woman as Landscape (1999) and Circle (2002) with collaborators Michael Reinhart and Josée Gagnon, Words Will Be Spoken/Echo with Hetty King (2000) and IAMMYOWNRAIN (2001) with Chantal Lamirande. In addition, she has worked with several other choreographers and directors in Toronto, Montréal, Vancouver and Europe.
In the spring of 2003 she shared the stage at l’Agora de la Danse with Andrew Harwood and Alexander Baervoets, in Blind, a Baervoets creation and part of the event Vooruit Danse en Avant. Her two most recent creations, Limbes/Limbo a collaboration with Nathalie Claude and Momentum, and extinction, a collaboration with Michael Reinhart, were performed in 2004 at Usine C.
Her most recent collaboration with Guy Cools, called ‘repeating distance’, involves walking, talking and the architecture of cities... as models of vulnerability and hope.
ArtistBio: Guy Cools
ArtistBio: Lin Snelling