symposium: Crisis? What Crisis?!

symposium: Crisis? What Crisis?!

What is at work in our works

Dance & Aesthetics – Dance & Labour – Dance & Politics

The symposium will take place in the art nouveau building of a former post and telegraph office, built in 1909/10 in one of the most popular and central neighbourhoods in Vienna. Throughout a century, it has been a place for getting in contact and thus creating something new. Nowadays there are only a few traces of telecommunication left in the building; empty spaces on two floors wait to be filled with thoughts and feelings, words and expressions – the fruitful outcome of any moment of encounter.

The three pillars that support the symposium Dance & Aesthetics – Dance & Labour – Dance & Politics can be understood as an offer to circle around the present situation of performative arts and dance in Europe and the world. Different formats try to catch distinct ways of expression and exchange. Speakers, participants and hosts from various backgrounds reflect upon art in a globalized world.

Taking place during the last days of the ImPulsTanz Festival 2017, the symposium is by space and time embedded in a lively surrounding of performances, workshops, research projects, an award ceremony, parties and concerts. Performance Situation House, the final phase of the innovative research and knowledge-sharing model Performance Situation Room, will take place in close proximity to the symposium and prepare a common ground for discourse and discussion.


Friday, 11 August 2017
20:00-22:00 kickoff-panel

Saturday and Sunday, 12 and 13 August 2017
10:00–11.00 warm up session
11:00–13:00 talk back sessions and input lectures
14:00–17:30 afternoon sessions: workshop and discourse formats 17:30–18:00 wrap up session

The symposium is taking place in English language.

The symposium is hosted by the Life Long Burning network in the frame of ImPulsTanz Festival.

Attendance upon registration (fee €30,–) at danceWEB office: Constant updates at and


Crisis? What Crisis?!

What is at work in our works

Dance & Aesthetics – Dance & Labour – Dance & Politics
A symposium hosted by the Life Long Burning network (LLB) in the frame of ImPulsTanz – Vienna International Dance Festival


The Host
Life Long Burning is a network of 12 European partners funded by the Culture Programme of the European Union. It has developed various activities, from coproducing works to research and writing formats and the development of new production and education models, a huge scholarship programme (danceWEB in the frame of ImPulsTanz, with yearly changing mentors like Tino Sehgal in 2016), an important award for emerging choreographers etc. Its members and partners are Cullberg Ballet from Stockholm, Veem – House for Performance, Amsterdam, workspacebrussels and Ultima Vez in Brussels, Uferstudios Berlin, danceWEB Vienna and I.C.I-CCN de Montpellier as well as Workshop Foundation in Budapest, 4Culture from Bucharest, and the platform Nomad Dance Academy with its partners in Zagreb, Ljubljana, Sofia, Skopje, Belgrade and Sarajevo.

The symposium at the end of the ImPulsTanz festival 2017 is on the one hand inspired by MDT Stockholm’s Postdance conference in 20151 – on the other hand by actual issues and questions which are burning in the field of dance and choreography today. It sets out to assemble the multitude of artists, students, writers, curators, scholars and makers present at the festival, to invite guest speakers from various fields, and to address an interested public and further local and international guests.

We propose three (intermingled) topics, addressed via keynote dialogues, input panels and diverse formats in afternoon sessions:


Dance & Aesthetics

What is at work in our works? Seen that within the recent past the discourse in dance and performance was dominated by questions around the ethics of practice, togetherness and collaboration, we want to shift the debate towards questioning our aesthetics of extended choreography: Where are we now? How do we deal with the seemingly complete randomness of form(s) as well as of places, venues, contexts of/for choreography? Do we experience a “comeback” of dance theatre, of narrative based, “message oriented” pieces, and does “the political” become overt and explicit again? In this case, might a tendency towards a new “virtuosity” be read as an instrument of legitimation, as a “popular” means to transport a specific content (often marked as queer or post-colonial)? Or, and maybe on the contrary: What about the strong tendencies towards shamanism in choreographic practice and all the different aspects of healing and sensorial participation? And last but not least: how can we develop a language in order to negotiate or confront issues of representation and criticality when it comes to racism and colonialism?

This would be some of the questions we feel the need to address between artists, cultural workers, critics, scholars and an interested public – in order to gather strength, to revive a debate we want to share within a field which is more and more overtaken by populism and commerce.

1 For further information:


Dance & Labour

Who is at work in our works? Dance & Labour deals with questions starting from a somehow unionist type such as what do working conditions look like, where does the money come from, how is it distributed (if there is any at all) and what mechanisms, structures and evaluation markers determine its distribution? On the other side, we want to discuss the fact that we all also work and live beyond these financial limitations: what about the traps of working for free – just to make oneself visible, just to do, just to feel, just to follow needs and phantasies and urges and pleasures and thoughts...?! At what point do we come to the conclusion that this has to end! How to act around and against it, how to dismantle the powers/constructions that be...
Questions stemming from basic notions of neoliberalism, racial and patriarchal capitalism, and precarity. But then again, what’s wrong with basic?
Nevertheless, unionist approaches usually lack the subject of the body. Or, let’s call it: matter. To question relationships between dance and labour implies to simultaneously question its impact on the body; as regards to the somatic, the aesthetic and the imaginary, as regards to human capital and labour force, to disciplines and orders of pleasures, expression, love. How do we subvert or augment the unionist approach with our own perspective, action, discourse?

One of the recent examples that stands out in this discussion would be the relation between choreography and fine arts. How does the increasing influence of the fine arts (market) on dance and performance re-shape not only aesthetics and practices, but also the relationship between dance and labour – how do performers shift their practice to fit in, to exhaust their physicality, materiality, spirituality?

All in all, we need to ask: Within such a precarious work and life condition, where are the structures, means, friendships, places, to re-create? To develop new things, to follow the needs of the dance(r)s...? Or to put it more blankly: How to not (only) reproduce and re-create this singular creativity (always bound to turn into a sort of post-contemporary exoticism), which is still substantially linked to the concept of individuality, in order to invest it anew in works of arts or to invest it over and over again to turn and shape oneself into a piece of an art work?

So let’s assume the “re” is the problem; presupposing and accepting power structures, hierarchies, the very grammar of a societal and political order, which is bound to the concept of labour and its link to money, while at the same time this link is a fake, a murderous globalised political fairy tale... Maybe we should finally strip down the veils and rewrite the UNhappy ending?

Dance & Politics

Is it still us at work in our work? A spectre is haunting Europe, but this time one of assumed fear, nationalism and protectionism. Some of the LLB network partners already have to react to governmental decisions and reformulated funding schemes, limiting their direction and freedom of artistic production or increasingly fulfil evaluation markers in funding that do not lie in artistic value and societal impact, but on economic usability and market-connection capability. Under these circumstances how can we, as European and worldwide acting artistic community really stay with our partners, artists and colleagues and advocate for change – confronting and subverting the hidden demands of focusing the national, the solely representational character or the pure economic side effects of art? How does the work of the dance community and a European Network at this point still contribute to a Europe (and a world) of ideas, rather than one of commerce shaded by economic and cultural protectionism and austerity? In a time that continues imperializing and exploiting countries within and outside the fortress Europe, we might also ask whether our artistic practices and exchanges effectively revisit and deconstruct Europe’s colonial past and its racist imprints and how far funding bodies en- or discourage a real exchange between different cultures, rather than being a mere vehicle for their own countries’ agenda.

Regardless the circumstances and traps art sometimes finds itself in, we must also ask ourselves: what are the artistic values, the political, the knowledge and shared practices that are already experimented with in dance and might function as small nuclei for a pluralistic democracy and a broader understanding of political participation. And how can they be adapted, transposed and used as practices of change – as hidden, implicit and pluri-spectral they might be - to be embodied and experimented with by societies in general. And why not complicate thoughts and acts by using our multifaceted and heterogeneous practices and outputs to continue disturbing and blurring these brain-numbing attempts of simplifications and homogenizations within the official political discourse and societies’ output? Under these circumstances is there still any believe and understanding for the role and impact art can have on societies? 

11.08.17 - 13.08.17

Ehem. k.u.k. Post- und Telegrafenamt Zollergasse Vienna (AT)

supported/organized by Danceweb