abjection — night 2

A shorter night by one hour. Last week I found four hours almost too long, so decided for only three this week. I was scrabbling to get out the door on time, so next week shall return (on a proper dance floor even) for another four hours.

I’d mentioned to Daniel that I was going to have to find a crash mat to remember how to do all the boot camp stuff from ADT. He wrote back, “honey, crash mats for bootcamp is not so necessary if you don’t have them heres some handys.”, followed by a list of things I can’t really do. So I tried to do some of it tonight.

Mainly I have a feeling that the section I am working on, while being improvised, has a highly coherent structure and progression, and while certain things I have a feeling will happen equally might not happen, the two nights of rehearsals have resulted in some fairly consistent ideas. So I spent some time remembering physically how to roll on the floor, how to slide, how to keep low and move.

After boot camp, I spent a bit of time doing some of the Emio Greco technique I could remember from the Double Skin/Double Mind workshops, thinking about this pushing myself to exhaustion and having a very specific movement dynamic that comes from the flicking and shaking of limbs.

Last week was a bit of exuberance; the unknown as I’d seen it behind my eyes becoming real. This week … well not to repeat myself for one, was more methodical. A good half an hour altogether spent analysing at first very slowly, and then with all the assistance of gravity, what happens when I release from a high relevé, stretching up with tension, dropping to a squat, one let turned in, the inside edge of my foot, shin and knee on the floor, the other standing flat on my foot, bum to heel. And from that, what is the action of undropping? If I can go down so fast with gravity, how can I go up just as fast?

It feels like — and is — years since I did this stuff, but even then, never on my own.

This dropping/undropping, some large flicks of elbow and arm, and something incoherently black metal are small things that seem to be coalescing in this section — which for the moment is all I’m working on. The other parts are churning around me, though they don’t feel so critical to solve just yet. As with last week, I videoed it all, and shall have to find some time to cut things out and find in the unaware instances the pieces that are this piece.

Music was again Gorgoroth — this week I had Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam. I also tried some Burzum and various things Attila Csihar, Tormentor, Mayhem … also Wagner’s Tannhäuser overture (which Daniel will remember). It’s something in the music certainly, but something more in the voice. Gaahl and Attila both have this, as well as a visual terror.

I’m not sure if this section will have music though. To have loud black metal blasting from a set of room-filling speakers, or even Tannhäuser, gives an unavoidable colour to the movement and work. Yet in silence it reads as inscrutable, opaque — that thing I hate most in contemporary dance, where the audience is supposed to believe something really important is going on. I’d sooner kill this part than have it become such a worthless thing as that.

Now to wait another week until I do this again. It’s not enough. I’m thinking about it every day, and the curious thing is I have no idea where or when it might get performed.

goat snake witch dance theatre blackness

The last couple of days I’ve been working on a side-project, cleaning up my dance/performance/choreography website, francesdath.info. I decided a while ago I wanted to move it into WordPress, change the font to Anonymous Pro, and try and make everything I would do by hand-coding possible through the WordPress browser editor.

Success! (Mostly). The design hasn’t changed, except it’s been cleaned up a bit, and a more structured layout used. The video took the longest and was a rather intense learning process, which is going to fall over into some other projects I’m working on at the moment. The words I edited a bit, but mostly left alone. Some time I’ll clean that up also.

As for ‘goat snake witch dance theatre blackness’, I couldn’t decide which word I liked the least and somehow they all sit together quite nicely, like an excess of baroque.


the second act

Already almost 1am and still long before I find sleep. Today was another long one, with a running of the second act to finish. (Cleaning ropes and talking meant leaving happened around 19h – daylight is largely absent from our lives.)

The morning was spent working things out again. More suspensions. I’ve reverted to the side suspension because I can move better in it, and the multiple ropes – takatekote, hip, knee and foot give me much more to push off from, to twist and writhe in.

I fall asleep watching Dr Who.)


I am in no way doing justice to the rehearsal process in writing here; there’s simply too much going on and so much to think about, talk over, and watch, and that’s just as an audience of the rehearsal. The actual physical rehearsal has all that again. Maybe to say that in the two and an half weeks we’ve been rehearsing, we’ve done more with Shibari than in the last year. Not to belittle the last year, that too has been a subtly intense process also, it’s just an application of all that and then going further with it in a compressed time period.

Last night talking with Dasniya, we both agreed what we have done so far has reached a good point. It’s solid, coherent, starting to feel right … but to go further, to take this in both hands and to somehow twist and fold and rotate it on itself, to go further, a qualitative difference is now what we’re looking for.

She bought Dreyfus’ Wagner and the Erotic Impulse, and we’ve been talking about this, the sensuality and perversity in both Wagner and his characters, Parsifal, Kundry, Klingsor, the leitmotifs in the libretto and how they might be used to create some change.

Yesterday afternoon’s run felt the best so far. The morning of going up and down, talking and trying mostly carried through, though for Jorgos, everyone wants something from him and he was running around like a delivery boy immediately before as everyone dumped last-second instructions on him. For a scene that is bedded on a neutrality and even pace, it gets quite hectic for him.

We added the magic and brilliant idea of a layer of fabric taped to our skin on the pressure points, in my case left hip where the skin was getting mangled. Yes, Shibari is about pain, but you can’t do pain if your skin comes off with the ropes. A little under beneath and hanging pleasure was resumed.

Another discovery while watching Gala was the toes. This is going back to Butoh for me, the counter-flexing and extending of digits, not pointing, sickling and grotesquery. As I found when I played with this, it makes moving in the ropes much easier, as if starting from the toes and fingers somehow makes me slippery.

The Blumen Mädchens were there also, and uuuhhhh!!!! when they started to sing the room rang and vibrated, it was quite overwhelming, beautiful and somehow also barbaric; you could destroy worlds with such a force. And Anna … I have this memory of her, from side stage as I was raking myself of ropes, head back slightly, mouth wide like the snake she had in hand when it would devour whole something much bigger than its head, letting out this blast. I’m not sure it even came from within her, more like it came through her.

Oh, but snakes! Today the snakes arrived for rehearsal, being the sneaky eavesdropper I am, I overheard that 14h would be the time, and oh are they beautiful. Yellow and white, with red eyes, and that completely unanthropomorphic intelligence, tongue flickering tasting the air, I could have spent the whole day with them. Of course the whole time I was thinking of Daniel and how much he’d love these beautiful ones. He said in Malaysia they believe if you touch one from head to tail it will bring luck for a year.

Photos! (There’s a lot more I really like but trying to balance maintaining the mystery with documenting.)

Daniel Jaber in Kuala Lumpur

Daniel has been on an AsiaLink Performing Arts Residency in Malaysia for the last some months. Snakes? Yes! He has a double bill this weekend, of WG-Spiel (which I love) and Poetic Structure (which is new, I think). I had a strange idea he was also performing degradation, which would have been hilarious, though he probably would be put on the next plane out of the country…

Anyway, probably worth flying there if flying wasn’t so rotten for the world. (I’ll stay in Berlin and pretend I’m there, eating noodles from a street stall in the warm rain…)

Poetic Structure

a double bill of new works by Daniel Jaber

Where:The Fonteyn Studio Theatre, Level 5, Wisma FAB, 1-3 Jalan 14/22, 46200 Petaling Jaya KUALA LUMPUR
When:Friday 19 & Saturday 20 November @ 7:30pm

Tickets:RM 15 available at the door OR contact Bilqis bilqis@rimbundahan.org

WG Spiel is a ferociously physical dance work from award-winning Australian choreographer Daniel Jaber. The work examines the lives and living habits of 3 housemates as they coexist in close living quarters. Set to a vibrant and energetic electronic soundtrack, the work charges forth through images and choreographic scenarios regarding domestic duties, working life and relationships.

Poetic structure redefines traditional choreography in the context of a modern world. Cyberspace, chartrooms and MSN form the communicative dialogues of the performers as they engage in wickedly abstract choreography created by CSS and HTML coding formulas. Commenting on communication, technology and digital engulfment – Poetic Structure is a sophisticatedly structured short dance work featuring 4 outstanding Malay dancers and created by Daniel Jaber.

Made possible through an Asialink Performing Arts Residency and supported by the Government of South Australia through Arts SA, the Australian Government through the Australia – Malaysia Institute, Rimbun Dahan, Carclew Youth Arts.

two… zwei

Two years now. And it was yesterday.

I arrived in Berlin after some hours from Frankfurt on the train, easier to pass this way than on another flight after days of moving across hemispheres. And then on to Vienna and circling Central Europe.

And now, two years on, I find myself… well, much has happened and it seems to be my home. I met someone that first jetlagged week in north Berlin, watching her hang, and in yoga. Later, in the first destitute winter, terrified I’d have to go back to Adelaide because I had no money, helping with computer things, a website and other assistances, coming to class in early spring to learn to tie another or self in ropes.

Now just finished three days of Yoga and Shibari in Brussels with her, Dasniya, and saw her off to the airport, staying with Gala, somehow returning to dance and managing to have a livable life here.

I suppose I should celebrate. Two years in Europe—currently one of the better decisions I’ve made.

Shifting Daniel Jaber into WordPress

Daniel Jaber is the second choreographer and dancer I’ve done a website for. Coming from Dasniya Sommer, I was intent on messing around with jQuery again, and finding something distinctive to build his site around. The initial site, as with Dasniya, was hand-coded, relying on jQueryTools, which I discovered through Flowplayer for much of the interactivity.

Two big problems emerged. Firstly was the pain of updating static HTML. Even though I write my blog posts in this way, and have no difficulty screening out code from in front of my eyes, this way of managing a site is painful. The second big problem was the conflicts between how the content on the page was loaded and both video and images. The plan had always been to put the site into WordPress, and so I did.

The idea for using Daniel as his own background image was a fairly inevitable one, remembering when I first saw him, all piercings, blue mohawk, tattoos. I first tried supersized for this, but found it slightly heavy for just a single image. Lucky then CSS-Tricks had the perfect, all-css answer, which has become one of my favourite bits of code, being fond as I am of huge background images.

First though, I had an idea for the menu, coming from jQueryTools’ accordion tabs, with much eviscerating of CSS and some slowing down of the slide effect. This though, I could never get to work in WordPress. Much messing around in jQuery, dynamically adding classes and divs and removing them from elsewhere, I could even get it to work using an identical sidebar HTML structure to WordPress, but when I tried to use it in WordPress, weirdness ensued. I really wanted to use this though, because it’s the only accordion I’d seen with different times for the sliding effect.

But WordPress has almost everything, and I fell upon jQuery Accordion Menu for WordPress, which has very similar code, taking a couple of hours at the most to get the CSS right and working rather nice.

Of course when I added the page crossfade eyecandy, it broke again. My fault for using redirectPage.

supernaut still uses the Flash-based sIFR method for using nice fonts, but the last couple of sites I’ve been rather enjoying the combination of open-source fonts and @font-face. Not one of those beautiful new CSS3 adventure like opacity or rounded corners, even Internet Explorer 5 supported this, and lately with a deluge of options for pretty typography, it has become increasingly popular. And far easier to implement that sIFR also. Oh, the title font is Anonymous Pro, which I think is one of the most elegant monospace fonts around (also important that is has Unicode-based character set, important for things like ü and ß).

Being dance, video was always going to be lurking. I wrote about my fun with Flowplayer and WordPress earlier, and still finishing this, with bandwidth check, pseudostreaming and the inevitable full-screen option shuffling this way. I’d rather be doing this all in HTML5 though, and shall come up with a graceful degradation from that to this in my next project.

A bunch of small plugins helped me along the way also. Add From Server let me add video to the WordPress Media Libary after I’d uploaded via FTP – perfect for large file sizes, and modifying allowable upload file types meant I could get the f4v there also.

pageMash made structuring the site and reordering projects as they move from ‘soon’ to ‘now’ to ‘then’ so much nicer than blah-ing around editing the pages themselves, and PHP Execution made it possible to do the Flowplayer video cludge.

Elsewhere, Lightbox Plus for a not-overpowering image gallery, though I am still working on this. DB Cache Reloaded and Hyper Cache for the necessary site caching, as long as I don’t forget to disable them when I’m busy working. PHPEnkoder, based on my favourite Hivelogic anti-spam email encoder. And WordPress File Monitor, which is about the most useful anti-hacking plugins I’ve found.

Oh, and page crossfade! I know it’s a bit Flash 20001, but I really did want to recreate the page fade-out/-in from the original site. (Not so good if JavaScript is turned off though.)

too far again, not far enough…

Daniel is performing in the Adelaide Fringe this year. I think it will be rather good. Some photos to enjoy also…

Too far again, not far enough…
New dance performance in development by Daniel Jaber.
Adelaide Fringe Festival 2010.

March 6, 7 and 13, 14
Tickets $10 from FringeTIX 1300FRINGE | 1300 374 642 | tix.adelaidefringe.com.au Or at the door. Limited Seating!

Venue: Gravity Studios | 41 Gilles St, Adelaide | 8:30pm.
Contains Nudity. 18+. regrettably no wheelchair access. Duration: 50 min.

Concept | Choreography | Costume Performance: Daniel Jaber (AU)
Original Sound: Thomas Jeker (BE)
Original Animation | Graphic Design: Matthias Waldt (DE)

TO DOWNLOAD THE POSTER CLICK HERE: too far again not far enough.pdf
FOR MORE DETAILS VISIT: www.danieljaber.com


one… eins

A year ago.

A train from Frankfurt lulling me out of the delirium and endurance of 30 hours or more, I can remember out the window seeing ice bergs perhaps this was the Barents sea? Arriving at the vast Hauptbahnhof of a city I wondered if it might be the one, a home. I found a phone. Daniel said, “You won’t be needing that”.

I remember rightly, he said that. Taxi to Moabit where I am staying, more rain. Then walk? I think, back to the Bahnhof and S-Bahn to Hackescher Markt. Through the slowness as I reeled myself in across continents I fell in love with Berlin. One week here, then off to Vienna, circling Europe, till a return here, early August.

I stayed at Schwelle7. I told Bonnie how her telling me of Secret Service had led me to there, led me to someone quite a special one. Across the oceans also this… unknowing, incomprehensible inevitability. I ended here, for the moment because of a few words and thoughts that led me to… Berlin.

One year today. And much to think on. I followed Daniel somewhat also. Here or Brussels. Now a reason to go there also. Gala arrived, left, arrived. Lives. I did ballet this morning, after a night of eating, a vast Chinese banquet, lucky my table is round, it suited the abundance and eating until beyond, far beyond sated. Daniel, Matti and Dasniya, who made my adventures these last couple of months… something I can’t image how I thought I might push through on my own.

I did ballet this morning and in this last month with time for thoughts and Berlin, Berlin causing new thoughts because the old ones have no use in this city, I return to dance, performance, art, thoughts, of which without I have little meaning. I came here for dance. For life. I left dance, for a time, and return.

Daniel Jaber, Class at Marameo. July 6 – 17!


(which reminds me, I never saw the sequel)

And I’ll miss this sequel also. Poo. Fliegen, fliegen, fliegen… splat!

JULY 6 – 17TH!!!
COST: 5.50€
TIME: 12:00 – 14:00

Part one: technique
Part two: matt work
Part three: choreographic material!

AWESOME friends, with over 20 attendees per class last week, lets rock out in the following weeks like we should!!!!!

Would love to see you back! and forward this to anyone who might be interested!


Daniel Jaber, Tumbling at Marameo! June 22-26

Not that I shall be doing it, which sucks…

Excellent fun!!! (more details on the flier…)

Daniel Jaber – Tumbling class for dancers.

WHEN: JUNE 22 – 26!!!!
AT: Marameo
Wallstraße 32
D – 10179 Berlin
TIME: 12:00 – 14:00
PRICE: 5.50€ per class

Tumbling skills for dancers is a 2 hour training workshop lead by Daniel Jaber where participants actively practice and learn skills associated with tumbling in contemporary dance. Those partaking in the class also learn repertoire from Australian Dance Theatre works and in turn think about how to safely apply gymnastics/tumbling and acrobatics in a dance movement context.