Dance student Charlotte writes about her experience of the Tanzkongress Duesseldorf

TanzkongressTanzkongress 2013
6th – 9th June
A 4 day conference of lectures, workshops, classes, salons, demonstrations and performances based on the idea of performing translations. The sections included; Translating Differences, Participate, Passing on/Taking over, Theory of practice/Practice of theory, Choreographic methods, Testing tools, Further movement, and Cooperation partners’ dance programme. These subjects consisted of subtitled events which were done through the different methods mentioned previous.
The talks I found most intriguing were those on dramaturgy, given in 3 sets with different choreographers and their dramaturges, which addressed the relationship between the two during the course of collaboration. Talks with William Forsythe, Sidi Larbi, and Reggie Wilson and their dramaturges gave insight into the role, how it is used or created in each different sense. Forsythe for example and his dramaturge Freya Vass-Rhee, spoke of how the dancers usually create the dramaturgy and Freya uses Forsythe’s instructions and small comments to research and find ways to unfold a dramaturgy.
Performances happened daily, and also in the evening, some of the pieces I saw were ‘Dance! Copy! Right?’ by Christoph Winkler, ‘One flute note’ by Jonatahn Burrows and Matteo Fargion, and ‘Turning 20’ by Candoco Dance Company. For me these performances stood out the most due to concept, content, and translation of idea. The ‘Dance! Copy! Right?’ piece for me was the most interesting as it followed a real life law suit based on the ideas of copying a dance and what the law protects. The use of dance, drama, singing, humour, video, and set design, re-enacted the law suit in a comic way, using contemporary dance to emphasise the issue. The characters gave dialogue to the audience as if addressing a court, pushing the boundaries of dance with a mix of styles, popular music (Let me love you by Mario) and set design. The dialogue was in both English and German, making it difficult to understand all the discussion, but this to me felt like a real step in contemporary choreography.
A also attended a salon within the Theory of practice/Practice of theory grouping called ‘Dance engaging science’. This salon gave insight into research on how to unpick collaborations through different disciplines, what principles can be used to support a collaborative research between different disciplines, and what they have discovered or achieved from these collaborations. The panel included: Maaike Bleeker, Alva Noë, Michael Steinbusch, Freya Vass-Rhee, and Scott Delahunta. These 5 gave presentations on what they discovered during the process of bringing together practitioners from dance, medicine, education, cognitive psychology, philosophy, architecture anthropology, neuroscience and cultural studies.
The idea was to have presentations from scientists, and create groups of people with similar research ideas and topics. The unpacked experiential information to the group and smaller collaborative groups opened up to complex ideas. The found that developing a structure doesn’t limit but actually expands the dance input, and having principles in a cross-disciplinary collaboration gains trust and pin points what it wants to gain.

Dance students run project at Linthorpe Primary School

Final year students Kelly Jackson and Amy McDonagh devised and delivered a workshop programme with Year 4 children at a local primary school. As part of their final year project they investigated ways of teaching a  topic from the science curriculum, plant life cycles, through creative movement. They received some fantastic feedback from the class teachers. Well done to both students.

Dance and Somatic Practices Conference

katye_image_web_DSP2013Dance lecturers Heike Salzer and Rose Payne have been inspired by their participation at this year’s Dance and Somatic practices Conference. The conference is a three-day event of C-DaRE (Centre for Dance Research) presented in collaboration with Independent Dance (London). It invites somatic practitioners, dance artists and scholars from a range of subject domains to transverse discipline borders and investigate the approaches that embodied thinking and action can afford to philosophical and socio-cultural inquiry.

BA Dance student engaging in research


Second year BA Dance student Rachel Ashford has secured a position as a Student researcher. She is investigating together with lecturers Heike Salzer and Sarah O’Brien, the perception of feedback that is provided during the Performing Arts studies. She held several focus groups and will analyse the outcomes. The resulting report might change the way feedback is provided in the future.