A performative space has underlying pre-conditions to its existence that we all take part in – audiences watch, performers perform a pre-defined sequence of actions, all created by a choreographer. In this set-up, the act of watching a dance piece resembles the act of watching a painting, a photograph or a video – the art object was pre-made and the audiences gaze at the final outcome of the creation. And yet the uniqueness of a dance performance is its occurrence live, now, in the present. What audiences gaze at are not brush strokes, still frames or light projections – but actual living human beings existing right now, in the same actual space.
Lilach Pnina Livne’s methodology “Spirit Dance” aims to further humanize the performative space by exploring the many ways dancers and choreographers can change their roles as image creators and meaning givers – into active participants in a gathering.
With this new perspective on the performative set-up, choreographers become organizers of a discussion on a subject they wish to incite in public. Dancers become guides in leading this discussion into further depths and layers. And audiences can take part beyond being simple passive listeners.
As we act in the medium of dance, we use all the tools of expression to engage in this discussion – we dance! And we talk! We talk! And we dance! We imagine and then we act! We let our bodies express that, which words can’t express, and we let our words explain that which our bodies can’t manifest. Together or alone, in front of audiences or amongst them, holding hands or curled in a ball – dancers act in the present, according to the flow of the discussion, the energy in the space and their own personal feelings. The silenced dancer is silent no more.
This concept of a performance might feel like it somehow undermines the role of the choreographer – how can an artist express their exact intentions when its art object can so loosely change? “Spirit Dance” addresses this exact contradiction between an emancipated dancer and an absolute creator – suggesting practices for a more equal relationship, one where all parties share the same intentions full heartedly. The choreographer casts dancers who are interested in their research and subject matters. The dancers bring their own life experiences and world perspectives into the development of the work. The choreographer creates choreographed conditions for the dancers to act according to pre-built moments AND moments of complete choice for the dancers. The structure is treated as a warehouse of scenes that dancers manifest when they feel they are needed during the performance. The work does not aim to say one thing in a linear path, but is set as a landscape for discussion and experiences.
In this research project, we will take these suggested concepts and bring them into practice. During the 5 days, we will practice the creation of a performative piece that mixes bodies, thoughts, memories and imaginations from all those involved. We will discuss self-reflection during a live performance, dancing our inner-selves, using our life experiences to enhance our connection to the piece, the importance of treating our peers as friends, the artistic potential of an emancipated dancer, and why we should always witness ourselves, our dance partners, our choreographers and our audiences – as complicated human beings striving for a common goal.
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