Conversations on Choreography
Session Three: Shaping Bodies
19-21 October 2000
Institute for Choreography and Dance (icd)
This page is quite long for ease of printing.
The Conversations on Choreography is a series of ongoing discussions of contemporary dance making with a focus on European contexts. It does not function in the traditional format of a conference or a symposium, but seeks innovative ways of organising contexts for dialogue and exchange. Keeping the practice of choreography close to the centre of the discussions and debates is essential to the aims of this extended discussion. Invited contributors are writers, educators, dramaturges, choreographers, performers, critics, organisers and researchers.
The first and second sessions of the Conversations were held in Amsterdam (March, 1999) and Barcelona (November, 1999). Information on these previous sessions is available here.
Following these two sessions, a co-written article entitled Dance Dramaturgy: speculations and reflections was published in Dance Theatre Journal, April 2000. Further writing and publication on a broader range of topics is anticipated.
CORK SESSION: SHAPING BODIES
The main theme for this third session is articulated by Mary Brady, Artistic Director of the icd at Firkin Crane, who writes:
"Firkin Crane's assigned new position in the Irish Academy for the Performing Arts, as the location proposed for the first undergraduate dance course in Ireland, has already provoked many conversations within Ireland as regards the creation of such a course. It is useful to inform this discourse with international perspectives, and the starting point for the Conversations on Choreography in Cork will be the relationship between our conceptions and perceptions of dance training and education and the processes and products of contemporary dance making."
[icd mission statement]
"The daily practical participation of a body
in any ... [discipline] ... makes it a body-of-ideas."
Susan Leigh Foster, Dancing Bodies, in Incorporations, eds. Crary & Kwinter, NYC: Zone Books, 1992, p. 482.
Shaping Bodies: ideas or instruction?
The subtitle, Shaping Bodies, implies that at the core of the learning experience of the dancer is the instruction one undergoes to develop a variety of moving, dancing and performing skills and abilities. These learning experiences take place within a matrix of institutional/ political, traditional/ historical, social/ cultural and aesthetic/ representational contexts amongst others. These instructed bodies and these contexts within which they are shaped influence and are in turn influenced by the creative process of the choreographer and the viewing experiences of the audience. It is this larger sense of the training of the dancer as it resonates across and through the practices that comprise contemporary dance that this Conversations session is intended to engage with.
Some questions to start: Where do movement training practices overlap with choreographic practices? How and under what conditions does a/ the body become an expressive and virtuosic 'instrument'? What sort of relationship between mind and body is most conducive to sustained and creative dance making? What are the generative structures and processes for enhancing this relationship? What are the implications for the development of highly sophisticated body based knowledge and are there aspects of this which go beyond the field of dance? Is mobility and migration a significant feature of contemporary movement training? How are cultural codes exchanged, adapted, reified and/ or subverted within the context of a dance technique?
Firkin Crane has only recently produced its first publication resulting from a choreographic research project called Righting Dance -- a series of choreographic
retreats for Irish choreographers to work outside of production schedules and with a mentor or dramaturge to re-examine their practice and experiment with new methods of working. The book, titled Writing Dancing, Righting Dance: articulations of a choreographic process and edited by Diana Theodores, includes contributions from Irish choreographers Mary Nunan and Paul Johnson and Canadian choreographer Tedd Senmon Robinson. This project, its process and the resulting publication may be taken as generative material for the Conversations.
Performances will be woven throughout the two days as other potential points for departure and return. These will include the work of Jérôme Bel (performing his solo Shirtologies) and Fabrik/ Do Theatre (Hopeless Games) as well as a work-in-progress by Rex Levitates that was developed within the icd's Righting Dance Programme.
As noted already, the Conversations explores innovative ways of organising contexts for dialogue and exchange. The structure in Ireland will be simple and based on small groups convening each day to begin to discuss the theme(s) followed by a session during which results from the small group discussions will be fed back into a larger forum for further distillation and elaboration.
An invitation letter has been drafted and posted to selection of choreographers, dancers, writers, critics, researchers and producers based in Ireland with a small number of individuals invited from outside the country. It is anticipated that between 25 to 30 of these invitees will be able to attend -- and this is the ideal number for the conversations structure to work productively. They will be joined and guided by the core group who have taken part in the last two Conversations [please see the background information]. Thusly, attendance at this Conversations session is primarily by invitation only.
SCHEDULE (subject to change)
Thursday - 19 October
- 12.30-18.00 first session
Friday - 20 October
- 12.30-18.00 second session
Saturday - 21 October
- 12.30-18.00 third and final session
Attn: Sharon Sheahan
Institute for Choreography and Dance
tel: +353 21 450 7487
tel: +353 21 450 1124
email: Sharon Sheehan
A fourth and final session is under discussion. For more information please contact Scott deLahunta
Go to to Conversations on Choreography Background
Go to to Dance and Dramaturgy article
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