Daniel and Düsseldorf

Return to Berlin. Six hours in a mini-van tooling along the autobahn at 140kmh or so, on the nod for the last 2 hours after I finished my book, and lack of other entertainment (tinted windows shaded in road dirt) led me to running a competition for what brand of truck trailer was most preferred (the white, rectangular, steel bullbar of Schmitz beating the field by 2:1; anonymous was disqualified). And previous to that, three nights in Düsseldorf with sweet Daniel, one for each year I haven’t seen him (and at least two drinks per night for each, also).

I’d intended to arrive cutting it fine just before ADT’s Proximity started – the reason why Daniel and the score of others are in Europe the coming months in the first place. Almost blizzard dragged me into the Hauptbahnhof late enough that I arrived at the theatre just as they were finishing. Not to worry! I accosted the darling Jaber and continued to do so until the awful hour we had to depart this morning (awful early as well as awful to have to depart). Kimball was also there, along with Jessica, all in an apartment around the corner from Tanzhaus NRW, in Flingern Sud. (Erkrather Str, I thought a good name for a black metal group, Erkrath. Probably with upside-down cross for the ‘t’.)

A late start the next day, so I dragged Daniel off to some place I’d never been where it seemed there might be a good café for breakfast. Yes! Yum müsli and coffee and talktalktalk until he had to go off to rehearsal so I twiddled my thumbs till the evening when he returned and off we go again in the same approximate direction in search of Chinese (food, that is), and success! And infinite multiplication of success! Handmade fucking Lanzhou noodles! I have never seen anyone anywhere outside of China beat out proper Lamian, and oh how I have looked. We got ours in a sort of spicy pork sauce plus naturally Qingdao beer, and I was just wondering how to kidnap the guy or at least would it be possible to buy a bag of the noodles to take away. Out into the snow a couple of hours later and more wandering, talking, on dance, family, everyone I knew in Adelaide and Daniel in Berlin – it’s a lot to try and encapsulate in less than 72 hours.

Breakfast again the next day (that would be yesterday), and much talking about two things we will be doing together (oh yes, we will be doing together), in the coming months. Then me alone for the day while they all got to dancing in the theatre. And then me going to see.

I’m not going to write about it, har, no! Maybe just to say I forgot how much dancing goes on in ADT (even ignoring coming from conceptual Berlin), and how fucking amazing they are. And Garry was there, and Libby, and Paul lately of Wuppertal, at least a couple of Scotts. More eating, more beer, more of me kidnapping Daniel (it would be kind of possessive if we hadn’t seen each other for so long), more back in the apartment, with a YouTube party consisting largely of Jiz! (I’ll let you discover that for yourself). And finally plonking into bed to get up horribly early and find myself in that mini-van.

I even got a little sad when I got back to Berlin (grey, cold, sunless), and have partly remedied that by writing this, but know I shall have to head southwards to find the beautiful Daniel once more, in Bregenz, in six weeks or so.

everything that has been said before about dance

Lining the walls of Chunky Move’s foyer are vast placards of performances, and above the sofas, those shows are the Live Acts series from 1999. I was sitting there staring at them one day after class and noticed they serve as something of an epitaph of Melbourne’s dance scene. In eight years, the names of Melbourne’s choreographers haven’t changed. I was a student then, and since then … where are the new choreographers? And the dancers, it’s a trickle over close to a decade. Altogether, no great new explosions or earth-shattering debuts, a void of arrivistes and demi-mondes, just an absence we all pretend isn’t happening.

I was really hoping for a complete slamming of federal and state governments attitudes to supporting dance in Australia, and the title of the interview with Expressions Dance Company founder and current Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts dean of dance, Maggi Sietsma had me all gooey in expectation of the utter blasting Australia needs that everyone talks about in private but seem to come over all coy when the media is pointed in their direction.

Oh disappointment, how I adore you.

There are two things Australian dance – and generally all the arts – needs: One elegantly summarised on one sentence by John McCallum is “Any crisis the Australian theatre might be facing now is entirely a matter of money”. The other is for Australian artists to look at how a handful of Tasmanian loggers managed to hold state and federal governments in their thrall and behave accordingly.

“In theory I am supposed to come back to Expressions towards the end of the year, but having read the State’s development strategy for dance, I am not sure that I am wanted,” she says with a wry smile.

“I still have to check things out but it seems to be advising companies not to hang on to top talent for too long, which to me again demonstrates a lack of respect for quality artists.”

— The Courier Mail

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