Next week, on Thursday, 4 February 2016, at 6 pm (Old Brewery, Słodownia + 3 Studio, ul Półwiejska 42, Poznań), the Art Stations Foundation will inaugurate the Alternative Dance Academy 2016, holding a meeting with Prof. Rudi Laermans, a sociologist of culture and arts, and a contemporary dance critic. The event will offer an opportunity to discuss creative strategies in contemporary choreography and to talk about his recently published book Moving Together. Theorizing and Making Contemporary Dance (Amsterdam, Valiz, 2015).
Rudi Laermans is professor of Social Theory at the University of Leuven (Belgium) and a regular guest teacher at P.A.R.T.S., the Brussels-based international school for contemporary dance headed by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, since the school?s founding in 1995. As an academic, he has published widely in both national and international journals and books within the areas of social theory, cultural sociology and the sociology of the arts. For several years, he was the director of the Centre for Cultural Sociology at the University of Leuven and was involved in empirical studies on cultural and arts policy, cultural participation and the fields of performing arts, cultural heritage and the visual arts. Also active as a critic and essayist, he has published numerous articles on contemporary dance and is one of the leading voices on, and partly also within, the Flemish dance field. His recent book provides a broad perspective on contemporary dance.
Moderator: Joanna Leśnierowska
On 1-5 February 2016 Rudi Laermans will offer coaching sessionsThe contemporaneity of contemporary dance:
What makes dance contemporary when we address this issue not from a purely temporal point of view (which comes down to the rather tautological assertion that contemporary dance is present dance or newly produced dance)? Different answers will be put forward, which all have the status of hypotheses and imply divergent points of reference. From a genealogical point of view, the basic contours of much present dance can be traced back to ?the moment of Judson?. The by-now legendary Judson collective systematically questioned for the first time the various parameters informing the common sense understanding of dance, such as the idea that dance is bodily movement or the assumption that daily gestures fall outside the scope of legitimate choreography. Judson?s deconstructive moves and their many echo?s in the past or the present suggest that dance becomes contemporary each time a work raises the question if it is, or is not, a work of dance. A more general genealogy thus comes to the fore, one that loops back to Duchamp?s iconoclastic Fountain, which opened up ? in the words of Thierry de Duve ? the era of ?art in general?. Parallel to the latter, the notion of ?dance/choreography in general? may be put forward in order to grasp the contemporaneity of contemporary dance.
The live character of theatre dance offers a quite different angle to delineate that very same contemporaneity. Insofar as dance works are publicly shown, their presentness per definition implies the co-presence of a spectator. Spectatorship actually creates a doubling of what happens live, ?now, here?, into a stage presence and its unavoidable transformation into an audio-visual representation. Hence liveness equals re/presentation, a split reality that can never be completely superseded. Dance becomes contemporary when it highlights this at once evident and uncanny nature of the contemporaneity of stage and spectator, which evidently involves the self-referential succession of countless events producing a durational time.
Yet a different perspective follows from the possible relationship between dance and its wider socio-cultural environment. Once again, dance is not contemporary but becomes so through whatever kind of reference(s) to cultural meanings or social issues. Seen in this light, contemporary dance first and foremost re/articulates with more or less critical intentions the dominant forms of self-understanding through a choreographically informed ?redistribution of the sensible? (Jacques Ranci?re).
In order to elucidate and unfold these three possible views on dance?s contemporaneity, different formats will be used: short introductory lectures, collective text readings, analyses of particular works, and group discussions during which the participants may link the debated topics to their own work(s) or present artistic concerns. A collaborative assemblage is indeed aspired, one that encourages both mutual exchange and ?though experiments? going beyond the evident.