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For two days we commit ourselves to listening and the need to speak. How to articulate expression through and with the body? Stand up tips over to lie down, into sit it out and then walk it off, towards run away or hold it down, tie it together, keep it quiet. We rant and we rave. A subterranean mode of speech ready to emerge. To speak it out, to hear it out, to move the words out. Movement as a text transcribed by our necessary, unrelenting, and unfiltered questions: What decisions were forgotten after we said yes? What is after consent and the agreement? Is commitment a gift towards another, maybe to oneself? Rant and rave—the act to act out. Moving the words while being open to the live moments of shift, with no assumptions, no pre-conceptions. What can we glean from positions of desperation, healing, and resistance? Care is a commitment. Commit to listen—again and again—to feel what we are saying, to move what is held, to catalyse, to shift, to sit it out, to stand up, to walk out if necessary, to step aside, to feel and to come back again and again to the heart of the matter.
ARTISTBIO: Meg Stuart
Meg Stuart is an American choreographer and dancer, born in New Orleans, living and working in Berlin and Brussels. A daughter of theatre directors, Stuart began dancing and acting at an early age and made her first choreographic studies at the age of 15. She moved to New York in 1983 and studied dance at New York University and at Movement Research. In these early years, she explored contact improvisation and release techniques and was actively involved in the downtown New York dance scene, working with Randy Warshaw among others.
Stuart stepped into the European art field in 1991 with the creation of her first evening-length piece Disfigure Study, on the invitation of the Klapstuk festival in Leuven. Disfigure Study and her second piece, No Longer Readymade (1994) established themes which would stay relevant throughout her career, such as the deconstruction and distortion of the body and the assimilation of physical and emotional states through movement. With her company Damaged Goods, founded in 1994, she has created over thirty productions, ranging from solos and duets such as Maybe Forever (2007), Blessed (2007) and Hunter (2014) to large-scale choreographies such as VIOLET (2011), Celestial Sorrow (2018) and CASCADE (2021). Her work also takes on the form of multi-disciplinary installations, site-specific creations such as Projecting [Space[ (2017–2019), and video works, among which a series of four videos for CC:World (2020), an online exhibition by Haus der Kulturen der Welt.
As a mediator and curator Stuart creates spaces where artists and dance professionals can share knowledge through practice. Perhaps the most radical example of this is her curatorship of the 2019 Tanzkongress in Dresden. In tandem with this event she and the choreographer Moriah Evans facilitated a series of Tanzsalons in, among other places, New York, Madrid, Bogotá, and Ouagadougou, questioning the current state of the dance field. Stuart also regularly teaches workshops and master classes. She and her collaborators have initiated trailblazing improvisation projects such as Crash Landing (1996–1999), Auf den Tisch! (2004–2011), and City Lights (2016). Since 2016, she and Mark Tompkins have been engaged in an ongoing research on real-time composition, comprising a book, workshops and performances under the title One Shot.
Stuart strives to develop a new language for every piece in collaboration with artists from different creative disciplines and navigates the tension between dance and theatre. Previous collaborations include works developed with visual artists Gary Hill and Ann Hamilton (among others) and composers such as Hahn Rowe and Brendan Dougherty. The use of theatrical devices, in addition to the dialogue between movement and narrative, are recurrent themes in her choreographies. Stuart’s choreographic work revolves around the idea of an uncertain body, one that is vulnerable and self-reflexive. Through improvisation, she explores physical and emotional states or the memories of them. Her artistic work is analogous to a constantly shifting identity. It constantly redefines itself while searching for new presentation contexts and territories for dance.
Meg Stuart/Damaged Goods has an ongoing collaboration with Kaaitheater (Brussels) and HAU Hebbel am Ufer (Berlin).
Last update: 13.04.2021