Tour through Tanztage Berlin for Isabela Santana
Tour through Tanztage brought together 3 young Berlin artists and 2 of the partnering artists
(sent by ICI Montpellier, Tala Zagreb) plus 1 guest send by Konstnärsnämndens, Elise Brewer. The opportunity was aimed at "young" choreographers who had already been creating 2-3 productions, who could priorly gain first experiences in their artistic practice and who can reflect and articulate aesthetic viewpoints, with an already established Network of contacts in the countries of origin. The participants were invited over an open call. Already in advance of the visited festival, under the guidance of the dramaturg Inge Koks, we identified common concerns and created a questionnaire of discussion topics.
The artists chosen were: Judith Förster (based in Berlin), Akseli Aittomäki (based in Berlin), Maque Pereyra (based in Berlin), Martina Tomic (Zagreb based -through Tala), Isabela Santana (Paris based - through ICI - CCN Montpellier). In Berlin, six performances and six rehearsals of selected productions were visited during the Tanztage Berlin, which offered an ideal exchange of illustrative material and examples of the aesthetic discussions and curatorial issues in the local dance scene.
In addition, the group also proved strongly interested in very pragmatic issues, and developed a mutual consultation platform on public and private funding opportunities, production possibilities and database of cooperation partners. Interesting was here in particular the reconciliation and exchange of different conditions and frameworks of working conditions in the respective countries as well as the importance and possible strategies of self-organization. This thematic unit was also fortified by an input from Jan Rozman and Simone Willeit; Jan Rozman described his personal path through the development and promotion of cooperation landscapes, including all emotional and pragmatic pitfalls, and emphasized, in particular, how important and useful the networking in "all" countries where you already have been working is, instead of relying solely on the "one Hometown "- especially in questions of cooperation partners and funding opportunities. Simone Willeit described various contact points, information portals, interlocutors and cultural policy organizations to which one could turn in Berlin/Germany and in the partner countries, with a particular stress on those agencies that promote exchange, touring and networking. One of the responses by the young artists towards this topic was the discussion on how little Universities prepare their students within this aspects, and how much there was still to discover and catch up with.
Another topic included methods and formats of mediation, outreach and audience formats, especially the self-responsibility of the performer / choreographer to think over the role of the audience. In particular, the visits to the "Let's Talk About Dance" - a feedback format, developed in the previous edition of Life Long Burning, at Sophiensaele was evaluated and supplemented by the presentation and explanation of Inge Koks on the genesis "history" of these formats and the possibilities of adopting and applying these open source formats within their own particular practice. The approach to think their practice from scratch on also in regard to the audience and make mediation work part of the creative process was quite new to the young artists, but well received. Especially the vision of developing and experimenting with some new formats engaged the them quite intensively. Isabela Santana (participant): One quite unexpected topic I brought home with me, hoping to develop further in my own city and work, is how to invite the audience to reflect and engage in the work more than just through an artist talk. During Tour Through Tanztage I got introduced to the extended work that has been developing and creating new formats to engage with the audience. Taking part in one of the "after talks" where the artist was not even present (great!), hearing the people engage in discussion and receiving one of the conversation cards used as a medium, inspired me to create similar formats in my own city. "
In aesthetic terms, it was also intensively discussed, to what extent the impression of a supposed homogeneous art / dance discourse "in the various practices of individual artists” stem from institutions and curatorial profiles, that shape the formation of a "discourse" with force, losing the actual connection to the artistic practice. The discussion ran along the observation of the dance days, but especially after a visit by Anna Mülter, curator of dance at Sophiensaele; she gave an insight into her daily work and showed how much curatorial decision-making and design space remains beyond structural framework conditions - from programming, overall profile, financial conditions, funding decisions; The input conveyed to the young artists, why specific discourses in artistic practice often receive more attention than others. Here, too, the question of the state of decolonization in contemporary Dance in Berlin and across Europe, became a constant in reflection and the majority of the participants urged to continue this research even further. A statement von Maria Eugenia Pereyra on this topic: “Rethinking the politics of inclusion of the current European scene is something quite urgent due to the high level of convocation of an international community of artists in Europe. Is the scene really inclusive? To which extent do European schools, that are open to an international community, offer tools and politics for decolonization?”
Overall, the participants confirmed the need for exchange, even beyond production-related questions. The lack of collective, professional gathering(s) becomes very tangible - especially in the transition from study to entry into the professional dance field. The need to allow reflected expression of process making on a continuous and professional level seems an utter urge to young artists. Most of the participants have not been more than 2 years outside of a school context. While during studies the exchange, mutual observation and feedback are on the daily agenda, many feel in the open field very quickly "lonely" with their artistic issues, uncertainties, confrontations and ideas. How could one organize such a collective moment - explicitly directed to artistic and aesthetic issues - for freelance Artists, became a part of the question "self-organization".
Summing up through Martina Tomic: “I had an opportunity to be part of an international group of six amazing people with Inge Koks as our curator. Within twelve inspirational days we had a chance to see very exciting performances and participate in some powerful and vivid conversations. ... I find this program a great opportunity for developing personal verbal and listening skills. Regarding to this I have also learned how to clarify and clearly articulate some ideas for myself as an artist and also I had some powerful suggestions for developing and continuing further listening practice that I am interested in.”
View the experience report of Isabel Santana in the upper right column.
12.12.18 - 19.01.19
Uferstudios Berlin, DE