PSR Without Distance Platform 2021
In the frame of Antistatic Festival 2021, the project partner brain store project realizes two Performance Situation Rooms:
+ presentation of Magazine for Dance Vol.3/2021
+ Extended version of Without Distance Platform, including workshops, 2 performances and post-show talks:
Without Distance Platform for Dance Practices and Theories is an annual educational and discursive programme that takes place in the frame of Antistatic Festival for Contemporary Dance and Performance in Sofia. The programme was produced by Brain Store Project (Sofia) within Performance Situation Room programme line of Life Long Burning project. It was co-funded by the National Culture Fund, Bulgaria. The programme this year includes workshops, post-show talks, presentation of 2 performances and online conversation with choreographers.
Widening the Circle: Composing Somatically
Two days a dance improvisation workshop for professionals or advanced students with Megan Bridge (Fidget, Philadelphia USA)
“Widening the Circle” is an invitation into the moment, into mindfulness, and into acute awareness.
Improvisation, at its center, is a decision-making process. Tracking the movement allows the artists to make compositional choices in real time, and as their ability to track in the moment grows, they gain confidence in designing immediate somatic responsiveness.
Improvisational dance is also a shared practice of listening with one’s collaborators: music/musicians, other dancers, the space, the audience.
“We work to observe all these influences with the body, and we approach vision, and the way we use our eyes and gaze, as an extension of our movement practice. “Widening the circle” refers to our desire to expand perception, of allowing in as many collaborators as possible into our making in the moment.
In “Widening the Circle: Composing Somatically”, Megan Bridge’s teaching draws on her own decades-long investigations into dancing improvisationally and her intensive study with masters of improvised dance such as Steve Paxton, Lisa Nelson, Deborah Hay, Manfred Fischbeck, and Merian Soto.
Megan Bridge is a dancer, choreographer, producer, and dance scholar based in Philadelphia. She is the co-director of Fidget, a platform for her collaborative work with composer, designer, and musicologist Peter Price. With Fidget, Bridge has presented her work at The Philadelphia Museum of Art, FringeArts, and many other venues throughout Philadelphia and the United States, and abroad in Austria, Bulgaria, Colombia, France, Germany, Georgia, Macedonia, Poland, South Africa, & Switzerland. She has received funding support for her work from USArtists International, The Network of Ensemble Theaters, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, American Dance Abroad, and more. Bridge has worked with Jerome Bel, Lucinda Childs, David Gordon, Susan Rethorst, Willi Dorner, & Group Motion, and has studied with Steve Paxton, Lisa Nelson, & Deborah Hay. In 2020 she staged Bel’s work Gala at the Miami Institute of Contemporary Art, and in 2016 she was rehearsal assistant to David Gordon. In 2013 Bridge was named “Best of Philly” for stage performance by Philadelphia Magazine. She is also a dance writer, and has published articles in Dance Magazine, Pointe Magazine, The Dance Chronicle, and at thINKingDANCE.net, where she served as an editor and as Executive Director from 2014-2016. Bridge holds a BFA in dance from SUNY Purchase, and an MFA in dance from Temple University. Her teaching practice is particularly focused on improvisation and contemporary dance. She currently teaches in the dance department at Temple University, and regularly teaches and performs as a guest artist at Universities throughout the Philadelphia area. In recent years she has taught dance workshops in Poland, France, Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Tbilisi, Georgia.
(1, 2 & 3 June, 2021)
Workshop with Dragana Alfirević and Dejan Srhoj (Serbia/Slovenia)
Dragana Alfirević and Dejan Srhoj proposed a three day workshop, four hours each day, with the topic of Nature. After centuries of dance being beautiful and technically perfect, and after decades of contemporary performing arts serving to making society better, to further the political thought, being critical and creating distance, they have another kind of proposal:
“Let’s think of watching dance as we would watch nature – nature is indifferent to us watching it, and yet, we can instantly find our place in the woods, under the tree or at the city square and small street corner. We are interested if and how we can use this thought to reversely inform us about the way to dance. Through researching the relation between dancing and watching dance we wish to activate the potentialities of a gaze and observe the power gaze has over dancers.”
Dragana Alfirević and Dejan Srhoj brought a set of proposals and tools coming from improvisation, instant composition, feedback formats, somatic work and observational scores.
“ If we get a bit more ambitious we could think as well about the possible new functions of dance, of the very basic situation of dancer(s) being watched.”
The workshop was addressed to everyone with experience in dance, choreography, but also to visual artists, dramaturgs, theoreticians, anyone with interest in this topic. The interest is central for the workshop.
Dragana Alfirević (1976) is a cultural worker in the field of contemporary performing arts. She teaches, makes performances, writes, curates festivals, and produces art events in the space between dance practice, theory, and activism. In her artistic work, Dragana works on the development of her own artistic practice, based on research of process and continuity in search for new models of production, as opposed to project-oriented work.
Dejan Srhoj (1978) is an independent performer working in contemporary dance. He is currently developing the long term project Composing Differences in which, through improvisations, the sharing of practices, and education he explores choreographic principles that deal with community.
Task-based improvisation methods
Workshop with Tomi Paasonen (Germany)
In this workshop, participants experimented with Tomi Paasonen’s task-based improvisation methods and his approach to cultivating original material. Together with the choreographer, they delved into movement principles that Paasonen has developed for his various projects over the last two decades, including kinetic coordinations based on neurological exercises, incorporating visualisation, imagination, memory, cognitive awareness, extreme states and paradoxes. These techniques are used as means to expand each dancer’s movement vocabulary, regardless of technical background.
Tomi Paasonen, born 1970 in Helsinki, Finland, is a choreographer, artistic director, dancer, curator, mentor and teacher. After dancing as a soloist at the Hamburg Ballet of John Neumeier (1989-1994), at Lines Ballet by Alonzo King in San Francisco (1994-1995) and The Joffrey Ballet in Chicago (1995-1997), his dance career was cut short because of an accident. In 2002 he moved to Berlin, where he launched PAA (Public Artistic Affairs) and worked internationally as a choreographer and stage director branching out into other genres. During the years 2013-2018 he was Artistic Director of ITAK in Finland. 2019-2020 marked the year of his return back on stage after 23 years. His autobiographical “Retrospectrum – 5 solos for 5 decades” is his first ever solo piece he has choreographed for himself. His work has been performed and produced throughout Europe, in New York, Chicago, Houston, San Francisco, Brazil, Hong Kong and Tokyo.
Morphic Resonance & Consent
(31.05.2021 at DNK – space for contemporary dance and performance)
Dancer Megan Bridge of the “Fidget” platform presented two contrasting solos in one night in Sofia.
In “Morphic Resonance”, the solo dancing body is set into resonance with the sound and space that surrounds it. Music by Peter Price creates a sonic architecture with drones and percussive loops. Megan Bridge’s movement worlds – kinesthetically expansive and minutely precise – are created improvisationally and in response to each new location that this work is performed. In “Consent”, Bridge navigates powerful and raw expressions of female sexuality that find support within the driving rhythms and delicate detail of the music: the second movement of Beethoven’s final piano sonata, Opus 111.
“Fidget” is an experimental performance company and warehouse art space in Philadelphia, directed by choreographer Megan Bridge and composer Peter Price.
Retrospectrum – 5 Solos for 5 Decades
(4.06.2021 at Derida Stage)
Tomi Paasonen’s work is characterized by always doing things he has never done before. The 50-year-old choreographer, director, and former ballet dancer realized that now it is time for his first solo piece, which he has been avoiding for decades. Thus he began working on “Retrospectrum – 5 Solos for 5 Decades”. In the performance, he steps on the stage as a performer – something that he hasn’t done before in any of his own pieces – and lets the kinetic and aesthetic archives of his own works flow through his own body.
“It’s a look back that moves forward and a retrospective that opens worlds resulting from a process of consolidation, distillation and self-embodiment.” – shares the artist.
For 9 months, before stepping into the studio, he underwent a deep archival period of his almost 70 projects created between 1991 and 2018. Creating a deeply personal piece, this is a queer autobiography that goes through the most important life stations using ideas, materials and methods drawn from his own body of work. From growing up as a queer boy in 70s Finland, to his career as a ballet dancer, to travelling the world as a choreographer, to his return to Finland to take care of the passing of his parents. Now, incorporating elements of it back onto his own body, Retrospectrum refocuses a life’s work into a new form.
There was post-show talks with the following artists: Kevin Jean, Megan Bridge, Paula Rosolen, Tomi Paasonen and Willy Prager
As part of the Without Distance educational platform at the Antistatic International Festival of Contemporary Dance and Performance, a series of online conversations with choreographers were shown in collaboration with the Tempus Fugit project.
The Tempus Fugit project is organized by the Goethe-Institut Bulgarien and the French Institute of Bulgaria, based on an idea from the Metheor artistic collective, in the frame of thе French-German Cultural Fund.
Within the Tempus Fugit project, the dance and theatre researcher Mira Todorova curates a series of conversations, lectures and screenings under the header “Dance and Age”. She focuses on age as a flow of time and a notion of normalcy, in contrast to its usual understanding as a drawback, stagnation, decay, helplessness, illness, deficiency, that have to be overcome for the sake of beauty, youth and perfection.
The team of Tempus Fugit makes an attempt to examine the many intersections of time, age and dance: the flow of time and its impact on life and body of the dancer; the arrow of time and concepts of history and past (personal history, history of dance); the perception of time, age and dance in different cultures; age as a field for (casting) a critical reflection on the obsessions of modernity – one of the big (political) ideas of contemporary dance.
Celebrating the moment
May 31, 17.00h, online
A conversation with Mark Tompkins, choreographer (USA/France)
Moderator: Mira Todorova
Mark Tompkins is a choreographer, performer, teacher, singer, who since 1973 lives and works in France. His work was introduced live to the dance community of Sofia in 2018, when Antistatic Festival hosted the solos Hommages – A tribute to Vaslav Nijinski, Valeska Gert, Josephine Baker, and Harry Sheppard.
In 1983 Mark Tompkins founded his company I.D.A. His manner of fabricating unidentified performance objects, mixing dance, music, song, text and video has become his signature. Since the 70’s he makes solo and group pieces, concerts and improvised performances, and since 1988 he works in close collaboration with the set and costume designer Jean-Louis Badet. His passion for real time composition meets him with many choreographers, dancers, musicians, light designers and video artists from around the world.
In 2008 Mark Tompkins receives the SACD choreography award for all his work. Fascinated by the frictions and resonances between high and low entertainment, his performances are often inspired by popular forms like cabaret, music-hall, musicals and burlesque: “American Trilogy (2010-13): Black’n’Blues; Opening Night”; “Showtime” and the gender ambivalence: “Hommages” (1998);” Le Printemps” (2015). Since 2013 he is colaborating with the Portuguese choreographer Mariana Tengner Barros, and since 2015 takes part in the concerts of Sarah Murcia. In 2018 he creates the solo “Staying Alive”, and in 2020 with two other performers and musicians makes the piece “Celebration”.
A dialogue between generations through the language of dance
June 2, 17.00h, online
A conversation with Silke Z., choreographer (Germany)
Moderator: Angelina Georgieva
Silke Z. lives and works as an independent choreographer in Cologne. She is the artistic director of the company for intergenerational dance “Silke Z./resistdance” and a director of “Ehrenfeldstudios”, a space for rehearsals and presentations for pieces in the interdisciplinary and intergenerational dance and performance field in Cologne. In 2011, together with seven European partners, she founded the “studiotrade” network for choreographers, producers and dance organizations.
Since 2020 she is working on the multi-year project “The Empathic Body”, realized with the help of “Fokus Tanz Munchen”, “Junges Schauspielhaus Bochum” and “Theatre Bielefeld”, in the field of artistic research, mediation and performance production. The project involves youth, students and elderly into questions of empathy, proximity and distance.
Dance On – the value of age
June 4, 17.00h, online
A conversation with Madeline Ritter, culture manager and producer (Germany)
with the participation of philosopher Boyan Manchev (Bulgaria)
Moderator: Mira Todorova
Madeline Ritter is a lawyer, art manager and curator in the field of dance. She has initiated many European networks, is the director of interdisciplinary festivals and a producer of international coproductions in performance art and media. From 1989 to 2004 she was the artistic director of “Tanz Performance” Köln, an international production and festival platform for contemporary dance and new media. In 2004, she was called to the German Federal Cultural Foundation as a project director for her concept “Tanzplan Deutschland” – a partnership-based strategy that generated over 21 Million Euro for dance in Germany and became a model for similar initiatives worldwide.
Since 2011 she has been the director of the new “Tanzfonds” of the German Federal Cultural Foundation. In 2014, she launched the company “Dance On”, which strives to promote artistic achievements in the context of “dance and age” through various ideas, projects, initiatives and practices.
Madeline Ritter is a certified coach and facilitator of processes of change and teaches cultural management at various European universities. She is Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of “Pina Bausch” Foundation, member of the Supervisory Board of “Kulturfabrik Kampnagel” in Hamburg, the Advisory Board of “Deutsches Tanzarchiv”, the “Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain” and the company “Meg Stuart/Damaged Goods”.
Gallery pics by Teodora Simova