Two ideas: on slippage and ways of considering transmission between dance cultures.

Missing Beijing. After seeing DV8, a ”Diaspora” dance series at Counterpulse, a stunning play performed by the Druid Theatre of Ireland and listening to Yvonne Rainer: new dance makes demands. Before I start reflecting and analyzing as I do with new works that were made under observation, I wanted to explain a process of live research that has always been exciting to me: watching the slippages of transmission between choreographer and dancers, dancers and dancers, and improvisation and setting movement. The point here may be obvious to dance makers and dramaturgs and dancers, but the shifts of gesture in time, space, and energy between bodies in different stages of dance making, is the progressive performance that one rarely sees. “Researchers” or academics, who have been dancer makers, probably tune to this right away. I even experience the sadness of loss when I see a choreographer move away from or skip something I thought was brilliant in an earlier edition. Also exciting is the brilliance of dancers who press their own signatures into new gestures, even when, minutely, exactly, taking on, the choreographer’s direction and energy (or another dancer’s). But this can only be seen if one has the time, privilege, and invitation to see and observe a dance in progress over time, and time again.

That said, I keep thinking of two important outcomes from the Danscross observation of process-in-process: on an uneconomic side: choreographers should repeat some of their dances, try them out on other dancers, see what happens, and perhaps make the audiences deeper observers? I see so much the second time. Further, why not invite a dance critic or researcher into your process?

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