The Vase — cie.OFEN, in Wuppertal

The beautiful tall ones, Gala Moody and Michael Carter, are finally performing together in Germany. In Wuppertal, as in home of  Pina Bausch and Tanztheater Wuppertal, or Wuppi as the locals seem to call it (dunno if that’s a local thing or Aussie local thing. Strayans would probably call it Wuppo.). Trailer on Vimeo, and I’m debating with myself whether to bike some of the way over.

Dear friends,

Cie.OFEN is delighted to invite you to the german premier of The Vase, the latest work by Cie.OFEN which premiered at Wim Vandekeybus’ ‘Ulti’mates’ festival in Kortrijk, Belgium.

Based on the theater work Purgutorio by Ariel Dorfman, The Vase shows the clash between Medea and Jason, who are trying to repair a broken love. Condemned to their own reckoning, they find their fates are entwined.

The Vase will be performed for one night only at die börse, Wuppertal (Germany) on Friday, 2nd of June at 8pm.
Tickets:  €12,-/€8,-

For more information please click here or email:
Looking forward to seeing you at the show!

Gala Moody & Michael Carter

The Vase — cie.OFEN, in Wuppertal
The Vase — cie.OFEN, in Wuppertal


Michael & Gala: One Final Evolutionary Note

A couple of days ago we were looking at Michael’s website and saw a new video in the progression of One Final Evolutionary Note. Michael and Gala dancing. Two of my favourite people and I love seeing them dance together. Yesterday I chatted with both of them, (and had dinner with Michael’s family, doing the Grande Tour of Europe), so with little else to say, other than I’ve watched it a few times already.

Abjection Rehearsals – Brussels

Neither Gala nor Ivo are in Brussels, which makes this decidedly weird being here; eating Piadina alone, sitting on the Metro alone … Hans and Anuschka are here though, and we had an excellent dinner on Thursday, and at least three coffees in three days, and I saw what they’ve done to their studio in Renold Space: wood-fired heating! It’s really, really beautiful, and I’m very envious as well as inspired. And now I depart for the impossible Tilburg. A mere long hundred kilometres away, it still takes 3 hours to get there. But once there, I get to see Daniel for one more time on ADT’s tour (and maybe Emile, fresh off the jet-lag run from down under).

In the meantime, I’ve slipped in a couple of days rehearsing in a secret location which shall remain nameless. More of the same from me. I think my ‘warm-up’ now constitutes much of the actual rehearsing, and it seems to be useful. It’s very methodical, and honestly if I turned up to a class of this, I’d probably hate it (unless it was perhaps Benoît or it was what I expected). I’m still turning up strange, lingering habits from when I mashed my knee last year, something to do on one side with whimpering meniscus not wanting to go into certain positions, so Gluteals don’t work and Psoas takes over, and a straight line between wonky Achilles tendon and Piriformis really not knowing what it’s doing.

The interesting thing is that all of this is quite small and built up from years of habits, but the process of finding these peculiarities and minimising them requires this methodical, patient workflow – spending an hour just working out what happens in my hips when I’m in child pose and would be about to roll from one side to the other.

And it’s never absolute either. What works in one situation at one speed isn’t entirely applicable to another, or even a different rhythm at the same speed, or different initiation of movement or attention. What is possible though is a phase space for particular movements, for example if I’m walking, there’s a variety of possibilities in how the movement happens, and through repetition I can build up a general representation of this, and subsequently which ones tend towards aberrance.

As for what constitutes aberrant movement for me at the moment, I just keep thinking of walking, which is more or less uncomplicated for anyone to do, whereas dancing is complicated, and so keeping in mind the uncomplicated physical feeling or perception of walking (which is not to say walking is simple or easy), I try and find what this is in any dance movement. Which leads me to lie on the floor for an hour analysing whatever is going on when I roll, or endless combinations of arm-swinging, leg-swings, or embarrassingly simple movement patterns.

Mainly I think that if walking is swinging, as in a pendulum movement, then so too must dance be, because it’s done with the same body. What’s come up so far is that it’s applicable across levels of complexity of movement; not just the ‘more things happening at once’ complexity, but the perhaps more interesting edges of movement, the ones where things get weird and awkward and usually get bashed through or otherwise cause horribleness. It also seems to allow for significantly more speed with less effort. All of which is the obsession of contemporary dance, and I don’t really want to contribute to that with some essentialist ‘natural’ movement programme, which is why I’m pointedly not reading or looking at any of the obvious similar techniques, be it release, or Klein, or whatever, even though I can’t escape them because that’s my training history and I can only ever work within what I know, or in reference to what I know.

Maybe to say it’s just me working out how I move, which is curiously something I’ve not done so much of; yes, plenty of thinking about it, but doing has largely been confined to other people’s classes and techniques. So it’s a little like messing around with a musical instrument and teaching myself to play, and it’s really not a technique or a style or a process or any other dressing up of what’s fundamentally me fucking around on my own for hours in a big room.

Which segues into my rehearsals. Which of course was most of my rehearsals. Music! From Abruptum and Gorgoroth and Mayhem to … Pulp! Jarvis Cocker. Oh Jarvis Cocker you are a dirty rocker. And the album is Different Class, which did lead to some useful reconsiderations of what I’m doing with my fingers, and also illuminated how distracting it is to work with popular music. Distracting as in it takes me out of my body, I no longer can feel moving because my ears are too busy. Black metal doesn’t suffer from this so much as it’s pretty incomprehensible and not very melodic. Which then made me think of all the classes I’ve ever done where the teacher puts on their favourite music and we dance to it, and that we’re not really dancing because we’re just doing the equivalent of Pavlov’s dogs drooling response because the music interrupts the physical process of experience of dancing. As nice as it was to dance around to Common People and Sorted for E’s & Wizz, it was unsettling to think that this habit of using music like this actually got in the way of training one’s self in moving.

All of which merits further musing, but I have a train to catch. More rehearsing next week, and quite a bit of going through videos and assembling stuff before then.

The Funeral Tree — Gabrielle Nankivell

I don’t blog so often about upcoming shows anymore, not to worry, here’s one worth going to Adelaide for. There are two different casts listed, but I’m pretty sure what arrived in my email today is the real one (otherwise I’m not sure what Gala is doing there). So, go to Adelaide, probably the one of best pieces of dance you’ll see this year.

Adelaide Festival Centre’s inSPACE:development program presents


Friday 14 September 4pm & 7pm
Rehearsal Room 2 – Adelaide Festival Centre

Be the first to experience pioneering performance freshly developed in the rehearsal room. Meet at the Dunstan Playhouse foyer entrance 15 minutes prior to performance time.

A 2nd stage creative development on the art of losing.

Previously we had fiction – thylacines, burglary and BBQ’s, from here on in, everything you see and hear is true.

Created by Gabrielle Nankivell with Luke Smiles, Gala Moody, Tobiah Booth-Remmers, Tal Graham, Chris Herzfeld and Michael Hill.

Gabrielle Nankivell — The Funeral Tree
Gabrielle Nankivell — The Funeral Tree

the n+2 dimensional space for n>1 — beginning aftermath

… Where was I?

Brussels. It took longer to get from Schönefeld airport to home than from Brussels to Berlin. Monday was a day to pass without the hectic routine of the previous weeks. No rising in a stupor, no walking the route to and from Bains, no rehearsals on green dance floor, no baguettes and coffee for lunch, nor cooking in the kitchen.

Some organising of suitcases and luggage which results in meeting the weight allowance for what goes beneath in the hold, and transferring the excess to carry-on. Hence, carry-on weighs more than suitcase.

I meet Gala in Parvais/Vorplein around lunch. We begin with a coffee, continue with another, and talk for hours. One of the results of that is she is off to PAF Riems in a week, and we have plans perhaps to be there in late January. So it seems I’ll be passing through Brussels again soon.

We amble up to the commune for the market, and I discover the delights of Piadina. That it is made with pig lard only adds to the oral splendour. Dasniya joins us after a morning finding her way through an old cemetery south of Parc Dudin.

And then to finish packing, to airport, to sleep on the flight, to arrive.

the n+2 dimensional space
the n+2 dimensional space
n+2 dimensional space – Dasniya
n+2 dimensional space – Dasniya
n+2 Lab Out Chalkboard
n+2 Lab Out Chalkboard

the n+2 dimensional space for n>1 — day 10 & 11

It’s already over. We performed last night and today is Saturday, the residency finished. In-between now and Thursday morning, we spent most of our time in the studio, walking to and from, or asleep.

To Thursday then. A day for technical sortings out, with Silvano calmly attending to our needs, and the mess we had been accruing getting shifted to one side to be replaced with lights and other equipment. We worked out a couple more sections before, after, around this, and got through most of the list piled up before ‘tech run’.

After six o’clock, on our own, we prepared for our own run, which fell apart right where I begin tying Dasniya. This messy tying breeds uncertainty. Will the ropes hold or slip? Cinch in a bad place or begin sliding apart until all previous efforts are rendered null? It’s so unpredictable for me and the anxiety of it was making it impossible to even consider why I might be doing this, to concentrate on performing and directorial issues.

To make a performance in which the audience sees suffering or experiences it personally is one thing, and a thing which I’ve always had an attraction for. Against that, the last thing I want to do is cause the performers I work with to suffer, for the performance to be an unpleasant endurance. It’s easy enough when one is outside and observing something not working and causing pain to stop it, take a pause, try it in another way. When I’m inside it myself though, this ability vanishes. And so I became quite overwrought because of lengths of recalcitrant rope.

After much experimenting, failing, trying other approaches, we had something that worked, and commenced the run again. Alas what worked for me did not for Dasniya, and sliding the ropes off thwarted her.

Thursday finished around eleven in the evening, and Friday began twelve hours later.

Warming up three times, rehearsing some parts, getting through a dress run with Silvano, taking pauses, rummaging through the checklist, it starts, we wait, Jolivet begins, Ligeti, we progress through the scenes (five or seven depending on how you count), and it becomes over.

We have the videos, and some time next week photos from Silvano, so these shall make it here and elsewhere in due course. Today and Sunday we are still at Bains with a Yoga and Shibari workshop (which fortuitously has led to some China and South-East Asia connections), and Monday afternoon the flight (would that it were the train) t0 Berlin.

Some thank yous:

Bains Connective have made these two weeks possible and a joy in many ways. Dasniya and I would like to thank both Lilia and Diana for inviting us and our ropes. A particular mention must be for Silvano, for numerous things, not the least for operating sound, lights, filming with two cameras, taking photos, drilling suspension points, and keeping everything running smoothly. Also to Gala, who came in on Tuesday, watched through our first attempt at a run, gave an hour of of very appreciated notes, and cooked us dinner.

the n+2 dimensional space for n>1 — day 8

… which was yesterday and last night.

A day of running through what we have up till now and making it all slightly more coherent, also finding one more idea come clear just before dinner, and assembling something of an order. So we have around half an hour of stuff at the moment, which will condense once we’ve sorted out how to get through it and added/subtracted things.

Gala came in around 1930 to watch this, us on green dance floor, lit through the glass back door from outside, and we tried to work our way through everything. Fairly obvious what needs attention, but nothing felt from the inside that it needed to be excised. An hour or so pre-dinner conversation between us three after going through the piece scene by scene, has given us plenty to work on.

We have a skeleton now, and what needs to be given attention today and tomorrow in the small time we have is clarifying what we’re doing, and how this shapes differences across each scene.

Dasniya thought the last scene in almost darkness should continue for half an hour or so, which could be beautiful depending on what happens before. Not for this week though, but hopefully we’ll have time to see where that might go once we find our way to Guangzhou.

It’s already morning and past time when we would be warming up.

temperance at cinedans

On a whim in May, because it landed in my maiming lists inbox, I decided to send temperance to Cinedans, promptly forgetting all about it in the whirl between then and a month or so ago. Then I find out it’s been accepted into the Festival and promptly forget to blog about it. So: temperance will be at the 2011 Cinedans Festival in Amsterdam from December 1st-4th. I’ll be in Brussels then, and shall try to find one of those €14.50 tickets from there to (the other) there, for a day/weekend of dance film, visiting Lewis if he’s in town, and canals.

temperance 16mm film
temperance 16mm film