Comments for DANSCROSS 2009 Dancing in a shaking world Wed, 18 Nov 2009 16:31:15 +0000 hourly 1 Comment on I miss you… Someone out there answer back. by Gloria McLean Gloria McLean Wed, 18 Nov 2009 16:31:15 +0000 #comment-623 Katherine – thanks for clueing me in on this conference/workshop/festival. Appreciate the dialogue you start re: abstraction vs feeling – like there is a period of the “modern” that produced that “abstraction” level that did not take place in the same way everywhere in the world. I am here teaching in Korea looking at the gaps that appear when one leaves the cultural familiar and sits for a while in a more strange place. Because we are always somewhat blind to our own cultural cliches. This all sounds really cool let’s keep going – gloria

Comment on I miss you… Someone out there answer back. by john john Wed, 11 Nov 2009 03:43:26 +0000 #comment-590 I’m back home, in Hong Kong, wearing shorts again …

I’ve been thrown into rehearsals for another work of mine that opens next weekend, so completely different from “watermark” – counts & music, arabesques & jete’s – for the dancers still a sense of freedom & choice, yet within very strict guide lines …

I wanted to write & say thank you to you all on Monday morning when I arrived back home … but unpacking & carefully placing new teacups & table clothes got in the way …

There is much I want to say & respond to … & I will, but later …
(Madam’s passionate words – during which I was afraid to leave, although my departure time was getting closer & closer … thoughts about “emotion” & “abstraction” … Western choreographers have feelings too, don’t they? … do they?? … they just show it in different ways … )

The most inspiring thing for me, as well as seeing choreographers works, was meeting people & sharing their thoughts … learning new things, hearing different stories …

I was deeply touched by many things, words & gestures & will treasure them forever …
& the thing that touches me most is knowing that I have given something to somebody … one small departing gift from a dancer let me know that I had made an impression … I think we all have & the legacy of DANSCROSS is that we have all opened doors …

As I left the BDA campus (running) I had tears in my eyes – of sadness & of the deepest joy ..

my love to you all

Comment on Card-carrying and carefree by Ursula Ursula Wed, 28 Oct 2009 17:12:04 +0000 #comment-542 So good to read your experiences. I finally managed to open that blog. The nearest way is sometimes just not visible!
Saw the half moon too last night, half a world apart…

Comment on Introductions by Janet Smith Janet Smith Tue, 27 Oct 2009 14:17:27 +0000 #comment-541 Hi Donald, Please say hello to all from me and Scottish Dance Theatre who are out in China too. It sounds fascinating work that’s going on at the Beijing Dance Academy. Wish everyone well with the project.
Strange destiny has us performing in Beijing on the same nights as you, so we won’t manage to see the outcome of your collaboration. We’re at Meilanfang Theatre on Nov 6th and 7th. However we are also performing at Peking University on Nov 4th. Maybe there’s a way we can link up and share our stories? We also have Caroline Bowditch with us in her role as Dance Agent for Change with the company. You may like to see her in action in our Interactive performance event on Nov 3rd at 1.30pm, – also at the University.
We arrive in Beijing on 2nd Nov and leave on Nov 9th. Though our schedule’s tight I’d love to squeeze time to see a bit of your work in process if it’s possible.
Love and all best wishes to Jonathon, Caroline and Chris,
Janet Smith, Artistic Director, Scottish Dance Theatre

Comment on yunlu and couples by Katherine Mezur Katherine Mezur Fri, 23 Oct 2009 17:40:00 +0000 #comment-535 Min this is beautiful, those parallel lines: I am not sure the choreographers have had a discussion with the dancers responding in conversation. Tiechun did talk about his ideas the first day. I asked the dancers, very interesting positive responses. But Jonathan does not do any kind of discussion or gathering to consider how the work is working for them. A bit top down, but his work is from their bodies so maybe there is a dialogue here and we have to tune in differently, with different senses. How does “shaking” translate into mandarin does this verb have the same sense and meaning as it does for Westerners?

Comment on yunlu and couples by Min Min Thu, 22 Oct 2009 15:25:34 +0000 #comment-533 “Have they talked over the theme with the dancers? With themselves? ”

You make me to think about the relationship between choreographers and dancers in the process of making dance, do choreographers want to know how dancers understand their instructions or real meaning what they ask them to do? They looks like two parallel lines without intersecting, untill the end, dancers realise that there already have a line to link them up, their thinking are redundant.

Comment on Day 9 Qualities by Katherine Mezur Katherine Mezur Mon, 12 Oct 2009 07:08:22 +0000 I was thinking how my noh teacher said that noh is the art of walking and then I noticed in Kabuki dance, kyogen, even bunraku, that walking was the central movement/art. “Dance” perception is “diverse.” I was also reminded that the systems of performance making, like rehearsals, are not the same in every culture. k

Comment on Wang Mei interview by Katherine Mezur Katherine Mezur Mon, 12 Oct 2009 06:52:10 +0000 I think this format of an interview works to balance the “blogger” sensibility of shorter comments. I love hearing from the inside about the East/West perceptions. best k

Comment on Wang Mei interview by petra johnson petra johnson Fri, 02 Oct 2009 07:44:45 +0000 Dear Emilyn
Fascinating reading,
and good to hear-read
you are (now part of you will always be) in China

Comment on Phase three ends by Hilary Goodall Hilary Goodall Mon, 28 Sep 2009 10:30:09 +0000 Chris,

This reminded me of the conversation we had about ‘urban’ audiences in London being possibly less able to ‘enjoy/appreciate’ the rural obsession I always wanted to bring into my work! Seems to be a similar experience in what you are saying with your Chinese colleague.

Also reminds me of the work I did on perception – that we will always try very hard to ‘make sense’ of what we see in dance or art – despite the visual image (or movement) being obscure or unfamiliar. With no aural guidance, we seem to subconsciously revert back to finding links with something we already know in our past/culture/experience. I made a possible link with our ancestors always needing to quickly make sense of what they saw – in that it could present danger.

I’m enjoying the blog. Thank you. Hilary

Comment on Day 5 Working the gaps by e.claid e.claid Sun, 02 Aug 2009 06:59:01 +0000 Hey Wayne, great to have your comments to the blog.
Yes, I apologise for getting carried away with the myth!! I certainly didnt think you left the studio as a protest!
I have to say I was very impressed with your mythical directorial stance – I was kind a hoping it was true! There is something about a working pace as a choreographer, and if collaborators (dancers and all) are in a different place it can be hard to keep the spark alight each day. Having said that, these dancers are doing a pretty good job and there is a sparkling atmosphere in the studio.
It is great to work with Kerry and to see so much of your language through her. She is doing a magnificent job here, and her quality of delivery is one to admire! Take care, Emilyn

Comment on Day 5 Working the gaps by Wayne McGregor Wayne McGregor Sat, 01 Aug 2009 14:16:26 +0000 Dear E,

Its been with great interest and enjoyment I have read your daily blogs about Kerry’s process. This ethnographic approach to understanding the creative process is endlessly fascinating and I am delighted Kerry has someone so attuned to the making process from a choreographic point of view to write about her process so eloquently.

I think that watching other choreographers work teaches you so much about your own process, your own habits, it makes you question your own inter-personal skills, your own ability to mediate, communicate and engender a group productivity that is essential to a shared (distributed) process. I have recently been lucky enough to do this during my choreographic labs at the Royal Opera House — mentoring other choreographers evolve their own work — with me watching, noticing, learning.

That said, I did read an inaccuracy in your description of my working practice that I would love to clarify if I may. I have NEVER, in almost 20 years of dance making left a studio/rehearsal, let alone left because I perceived that the dancers were not delivering the ‘required’ energy, attention for the work. This is a RANDOM myth. Of course, all choreographers want dancers to come – every day in the appropriate “state of preparedness” for the work – more often than not they absolutely do. Some days, life gets in the way. For me too. But I would never lose my ever precious rehearsal time because of someone else’s ‘mood’. Its my job to inspire a change, work with it, or as a last resort replace the dancer. Certainly, I would not leave my own rehearsal as a method of protest.

It reminds me of a notice I came across recently at a school in the East of England. ~This laminated list of rules posted on the dance studio door set out 10 pre-requisites for entering the lesson and participating. Alongside the usual: remove your trainers, no drinks etc etc there were two very extreme instructions — you will be creative at all times and you will at all times give 100% commitment. A big ask for any human being………………..

Thanks again, looking forward to the next posts and love from Melbourne

Comment on The day before. Emilyn by e.claid e.claid Tue, 28 Jul 2009 15:27:06 +0000 HI Simon, yours is the first comment I have received. thanks and good to hear from you! Hope to try and put something up every day, although might not be as extensive as time goes on. Still working on day 2. give my regards to Colin. Emilyn

Comment on The day before. Emilyn by Simon Ellis Simon Ellis Tue, 28 Jul 2009 07:57:46 +0000 Hi Emilyn

An upgrade! I dream about those.

This place of (jet)lag I understand very well… it seems to cultivate a wonderfully memorable ‘alternate’. Occasionally it reminds me of being deep within an improvisation. I am on the outside looking in at myself, beside myself whilst being deeply embodied.

It’s also great to read your notes on Kerry’s rehearsal … detailed, clear. I feel a brief understanding of being in that space with those dancers. Reading/seeing their doubts, their training, their confusion, their understanding. Perhaps the video is not necessary?

Am in the studio with Colin Poole at the moment:

You’ll see we’ve brought Matthew Goulish into the space as well (but not Proust).



Comment on End of week #2… by john john Tue, 07 Jul 2009 11:20:12 +0000 eating, drinking & shopping essential after weeks in the studio !!!

Comment on Day #7 by John John Thu, 04 Jun 2009 16:36:31 +0000 Although not many people came to see the showing, it was very good to do. It made it clear as to what needs to stay & what needs to go … a great process now to be 1992 km away with time to ponder …


Comment on Over to you, Jay by John John Mon, 01 Jun 2009 11:28:10 +0000 I have worked on a principle of “less is more” within all my work for many years. I do think that choreographers are always faced with obstacles but often do not see them or take advantage of them … where is the work to be performed? (a theatre or a warehouse) By whom? (young dancers or experienced / male or female) Who will see the work? How much time do you have? (to make the work & to perform it) Is there music? The list goes on …

I like to find a way to merge these aspects into a works conceptual framework … that the building (the process even before one sets foot into a rehearsal studio) reflects the outcomes … the directions & choices one makes are informed by the parameters of the situation.

Robert Wilson once told me: “John, there is a freedom within boundaries …” Well, actually he didn’t really say it to me, i read it in a book somewhere. But I hear his voice the moment I begin a work.

Imagine standing in a huge vast space & being told to move. What do you do? Where do you start? Given one instruction – move slowly for example … & one can begin to dance …

“Oh just talk about anything” & one is often left speechless …

Comment on Over to you, Jay by MuYu-Moon MuYu-Moon Sun, 24 May 2009 07:13:52 +0000 Our DANSCROSS project has lots of limitations: theme, time, dancers etc. Do the two choreographers really think about the following?

My freedom will be so much the greater and more meaningful the more narrowly I limit my field of action and the more I surround myself with obstacles. Whatever diminishes constraint diminishes strength. The more constraints one imposes, the more one frees one’s self of the chains that shackle the spirit.

Igor Stravinsky, Poetics of Music
Russian composer in US (1882 – 1971)

Comment on Notes on not not observing: 18 May – 11.33am by MuYu-Moon MuYu-Moon Tue, 19 May 2009 12:53:43 +0000 You are very quiet and deliberate man. Wish u have a happy stay here in Beijing.

Comment on Notes on not not observing: 18 May – 11.33am by Paul Paul Tue, 19 May 2009 06:14:38 +0000 I was sitting at Starbucks in the Hua Yu Fashion and Shopping Centre, thinking – this could be Singapore. Then I looked up and saw these roses on the cantilevered entrance to the mall, and thought a) oh no it couldn’t and b) even when I’m not observing, I’m observing – my attention is drawn to those fragments of even generic environments that are specific to the place, or, at least, anomalous to me.

Comment on Notes on not not observing: 18 May – 11.33am by MuYu MuYu Mon, 18 May 2009 12:28:24 +0000 Paul,

Where r u? haha

Comment on Welcome by muyu muyu Fri, 15 May 2009 15:08:13 +0000 Paul, feeling better now? Hi, best wishes to you!

Frankly speaking, I have been wondering what kind of role I can play in the DANSCROSS project during the past few days. So far, I am not quite sure. Perhaps there are many many aspects in the whole process.

Are the two choreographers representative for a case study? How can I (or the result) exceed the case study?

The work of the two choreographers is completely different. I’m interested in the relationship between the two choreographers and the two groups of dancers. Also the influence and impact of the two choreographers’ backgrounds on their choreography as a whole, and their sense of social responsibility.

In addition, how to gain the cooperation of scholars from abroad.

Comment on Welcome by Paul Paul Mon, 11 May 2009 12:20:52 +0000 Correction: I of course meant H1N1 – I got my birds and pigs mixed up.

Comment on Welcome by Bingxi Wang Bingxi Wang Mon, 11 May 2009 07:02:43 +0000 Shocks and shakes are in chains. The chain of swine flu can also make up of the context of the ‘Dancing in a shaking world’ project. Our world is in flux and the thing that never changes is the change. Best wishes to Paul and our project.

Comment on Welcome by Paul Paul Sat, 09 May 2009 04:56:19 +0000 Checking in.

Hello there! I’m checking in to the blog as a kind of substitute for checking in to my flight. That’s been delayed because of the H5N1 virus; the Chinese Embassy is taking longer than usual to process visa applications, so instead of flying tomorrow (Sun 10 May), I will fly on Tuesday.

In one regard, this is trivia. But, given the context of the ‘Dance in a Shaking World’ project, I can’t help but also see it as being apt. The circulation of bodies and ideas; contagion; the ‘species barrier’; geopolitics. All these are in play, and provide an instructive and salutary introduction to the project, before I’ve even left home.