Excuses for gathering is a meeting, not a workshop but a dance laboratory,
because everyone in the group is allow to experiment,
discover and create, but also is allow to fail.
As a dance educator I have been also facilitating dance laboratories connecting artists in that process. I’m interested in the meeting point between theory and practice, blurring the boundaries between the classroom and dance studio. By so doing, I intend to reflect on co-imagination, collaboration practices (from everyday life to dance practices), horizontality as a significative tool to overcome exile, separation and diaspora.
In this meeting, we ask participants to explore case study, and object, a word, through different means (from histories, interviews, testimonials, field work, memoir, documentary and journalist documents, to embodied experiments that can be used to inform creative material) in order to create a performance. We thoroughly think on the body-subject as an open form, an active becoming, as both subject and object simultaneously.
Through texts, video excerpts, and group discussion, supplemented by short reading assignments, class participants will encounter writers and artists who experiment by inserting themselves into their own work. Our research will focus on the meeting point of texts and body, shifting between text- based, field work and movement-based exercises to approach new modes of analysis and expression. To this end, each meeting will include discussions, physical improvisation, body exploration and generative performance assignments that consider performance to be a form of research. Our last meetings will focus more heavily on creative/artistic responses, giving participants the opportunity to develop a final project in the medium of their choice.
Participants with any level of writing and performance experience are welcome. The course is designed for an interdisciplinary group, representative of a wide range of backgrounds and experiences.
Since this project started in 2015, we have been gathering students and professionals, dancers, performers, artists from different mediums, around Latin America, EEUU and Europe, connecting their practices and experiences, creating new process in this encounters.
As a teenager, I started MY career as a contemporary dancer and developed my professional skills at the Fundación Escuela de Danza de Caracas, led by Yuri Cavalieri and José Ledezma –the contemporary dance pioneer in Venezuela, who studied under the tutelage of Merce Cunningham in New York City in the 60’s-. I was member of the third cohort of graduates of this institution in 2002 (with honors). Since then, I developed my teaching and artistic work as a member of the permanent cast of the Taller de Danza de Caracas Company, broadening my experience as an interpretive dancer participating in numerous workshops –Release, Graham, Limón, contact-improvisation- in Venezuela as in other countries, including Cuba, Costa Rica and the United States. Being a member of the permanent cast of the Taller de Danza de Caracas Company, I participated in more than twenty sessions -one per year- of improvisation, choreographic composition techniques and physical work with Dutch choreographer Mirjam Berns, whose work is based on several dynamic and interpretive elements -such as the notions of space, energy, rhythm, and silence as choreographic proposals, the relation amongst dancers, motivation, commitment and sensitivity in motion- rather than plain technical skills. This approach to dance defined my profile as a contemporary dancer and dance educator.
The contemporary multilevel dance technique classes derives from both the Taller de Danza de Caracas, and Mirjam Berns Technique inspired training.The class starts explaining the aforementioned five elements of improvisation through exercise and movement research. Students will explore each element separately and then include them in a serie of movements which later will be transformed into a choreography of collective creation. The class begins with slow exercises aimed to engage and strengthen core muscles, as well as to lubricate supporting joints and awaken the senses. Then, we keep on exploring notions of space, energy, rhythm, and silence as proposals of movement through different phrases in the center. Class culminates in phrase work, putting together these elements while embracing the idea of the relation amongst dancers, motivation, commitment and sensitivity in motion, rather than plain technical skills.
Mirjam Berns was born in the Nederlands (Holland) in 1944. Has been working internationally for more than 30 years. For seven years she danced in the Netherlands Opera. In 1964 she traveled to New York, and spent five years teaching at the Merce Cunningham Studio, while dancing in Dan Wagone's company, and also with Viola Farbe, while developing her own artistic projects. Since 1972 she has been teaching in Venezuela, as a collaborator for Caracas' Dance Workshop. She also worked with Jean Claude Gallota and Emile Dubois in France, and choreographed 3 works for the Coline in Istres company. Her work is based on a particular understanding of time, rhythm, space, silence and the human sense that she believes to be of capital importance, as they are the foundations in which the relationship between the dancer and dance is built upon. After working for more than a decade with Berns in Caracas, I am bringing this experience to New York City on a multilevel workshop addressed to dancers and actors who want to explore different notions of the body in movement, as a celebration of life itself.