A performance reenactment research of dance reviews
Dance and Writing
Throughout history, writers have written about dance in many forms trying to grasp the essence of what dance is, feels like and how it’s experienced – essentially translating physical experience into words. The dance-review genre, however, is more layered. Initially, this genre attempts to communicate the experience of watching dance with the aim to document the experience of performance. Nowadays, the dance review is used as a means to communicate the experience of the performance to the general public who was not present. The review, therefore becomes an evaluation and critique on the quality of the dance which ends up recommending it (or not) to the general public.
A love/hate relationship
As a choreographer who wishes to share my work as a live experience, I have a love/hate relationship with dance reviews. They are often useful and necessary to bring public awareness to my work but can also be misleading and even harmful. At this point, I wish to further understand and define this relationship through artistic research.
Inspired by translation, I am curious in flipping the process around. What if we could perform the dance review? In this research I collect existing dance reviews of performances I have never seen and develop a practice of staging a reenactment based only on the information in the text. In other words; to perform a physical translation of the writing. What would this performance look like? What would be missing? What will it reveal?
To help frame this research, I engage with authors, journalists and dance critics who have experience with writing dance reviews. Together we look into where the struggles are with writing about dance? What are the goals of reviews? How much do personal opinions go into the writing? Is there a neutral perspective? What do writers think readers envision? And what can be gained from witnessing a performance reenactment of reviews?
In Heidelberg, I have access to the Building-Actions community outreach program at Inter-Actions. This program allows citizens to actively participate in research and development of artistic processes. As part of my research, I experiment with these participants as public viewers. With their feedback, I can define and evaluate their impressions and response to this practice of performing dance reviews.
Whether positive or negative, It is a valuable experience to read reviews of my work. I wish the same for writers. I would like them to witness how their writing is perceived. A goal of this research is to develop a workshop format for writers and dance critics together with dancers and choreographers to collectively analyze reviews through dance reenactment. The goal of the workshop is to try to improve the practice of reviewing dance in an artistic collaborative manner.
01.03.23 – presentation with Amy Josh @Unpolished Wednesdays organised by FLUX e.V. at EinTanzHaus Mannheim
07.03.23 – presentation with Lorenzo Ponteprimo at Inter-Actions Heidelberg
14.03.23 – presentation with Sade Mamedova at Inter-Actions Heidelberg
21.03.23 – presentation with Catherine Guerin at Inter-Actions Heidelberg
28.03.23 – presentation with Lisa Bless at Inter-Actions Heidelberg
04.04.23 – presentation with Malika Ali at Inter-Actions Heidelberg
11.04.23 – presentation with Pascal Sangl at Inter-Actions Heidelberg
18.04.23 – presentation with Martina Martin at Inter-Actions Heidelberg
25.04.23 – presentation with Anika Bendel at Inter-Actions Heidelberg