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A Choreographer’s Handbook


How do artists work today? How do they speak about their method? The question of new artistic practices and discourses is at stake in a series of monthly salons, organized by Sarma in Brussels. We open with a presentation of Jonathan Burrows’ A Choreographer’s Handbook. Researcher Scott deLahunta discusses the heterogeneous forms the “publishing of choreographic ideas” takes today. Choreographer and philosopher Noé Soulier demonstrates how a new generation works with these documents.

Publishing Choreographic Ideas – Scott deLahunta

Choreographers are publishing a growing collection of self-determined reflections on dance practice in a variety of formats. Often created in collaboration with researchers, editors and designers, these heterogeneous publication projects make use of text, moving image and more open-ended digital tools and platforms. In addition to offering practice led contributions to the discourse on dance, they point towards the artist’s role in developing alternative forms of documenting, analyzing, notating and archiving contemporary dance. Through a brief survey of existing projects, this talk will sketch out the intellectual and practical context in which also Jonathan Burrows’ A Choreographer’s Handbook can be placed.

Dr. Scott deLahunta has worked as writer, researcher and organiser on a range of international projects bringing performing arts with a focus on choreography into conjunction with other disciplines and practices. He is currently Senior Research Fellow Coventry University/ R-Research Director, Wayne McGregor|Random Dance and Program and Research Coordinator Motion Bank/ The Forsythe Company. He serves on the editorial boards of Performance Research, Dance Theatre Journal and the International Journal of Performance and Digital Media.

The Politics of Practical Discourse – Noé Soulier

A handbook has a practical function: it provides tools and strategies to achieve specific goals. It is more prescriptive than denotative: it tells us what to do and not what things are. Thus, writing A Choreographer's Handbook, Jonathan Burrows would avoid the contradictions one encounters when trying to define dance or composition. When he actually proposes definitions, he doesn't claim to hold the truth, but to open fruitful perspectives. From that point of view, it might be difficult to talk about Burrows’ book from a theoretical perspective since it finds its root and its purpose in practice itself. Yet, I'll try to analyze what are the implicit positions that appear through this practical discourse and question their political implications.

Noé Soulier, Paris 1987, studied at the Paris Conservatoire, the National Ballet School of Canada, and at PARTS – Brussels, where he graduated from the research cycle in 2010. The same year he received a bachelor degree in philosophy at Nanterre University (Paris X). He is currently doing a master at La Sorbonne (Paris IV). He also studied harpsichord with Elisabeth Joyé. In 2009, he presents the solo The Kingdom of Shades in Beursschouwburg (Brussels). In 2010, he is laureate of the first prize of the Danse Élargie competition, organized by Le Théâtre de la Ville (Paris) and Le Musée de la Danse (Rennes), with the pièce Little Perceptions. In 2011-12, he'll take part in the residency program of Le Palais de Tokyo (Paris): Le Pavillon.

Jonathan Burrows
started his career as a soloist with the Royal Ballet in London but formed the Jonathan Burrows Group in 1988 to present his own work. The company travelled widely and gained an international reputation with pieces such as Stoics (1991), Very (1992), Our (1994), The Stop Quartet (1996) and Things I Don't Know (1997). In 2001 he presented Weak Dance Strong Questions, a collaboration with Dutch theatre director Jan Ritsema. Since 2002 he has collaborated with the composer Matteo Fargion on a series of duets: Both Sitting Duet (2002), The Quiet Dance (2005), Speaking Dance (2006), Cheap Lecture (2009) and The Cow Piece (2009). In collaboration with Chrysa Parkinson he created Dog/Heart in 2010. Burrows has made commissioned work for many companies, including William Forsythe’s Ballett Frankfurt, Sylvie Guillem and The Royal Ballet. He has been Visiting Professor at P.A.R.T.S. in Brussels, the Royal Holloway University of London, the University of Hamburg and the Freie Universität Berlin. His book A Choreographer’s Handbook was published in 2010 (Routledge).

concept and moderation Jeroen Peeters | production Sarma | co-production Kaaitheater | support WorkSpaceBrussels, VGC

LANGUAGE : English