In an email on Tue, Apr 29, 2014 at 8:32 PM, Elizabeth Waterhouse wrote
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
This May I will present a lecture series on dance at Künstlerhaus Mousonturm in Frankfurt. I warmly welcome you! Please share this invitation with others, especially to people outside the field of dance.
DANCE | SPEAK TO ME!
Fr. 02. Th. 08. Th. 15. Th. 22. — Mai.2014
"DANCE | SPEAK to me!" is a lecture and discussion series with artist Elizabeth Waterhouse, a freelance dancer formerly with The Forsythe Company. While artists endlessly question what they do and why they do it, frequently this process happens alone, with other artists, or in a post-performance discussion with an audience and moderator. As an alternative, Elizabeth Waterhouse and Tanzlabor_21 invite the community of Frankfurt and the region to a series of talks addressing fundamental questions in the field of dance. Inspired by Foucault, each lecture will use historical and current examples from dancers' lives and work to consider the spoken and unspoken within dance, to better understand how dancing power works.
While intended as a series, the evenings can also be attended individually. The lectures will be in English, discussions in German/English. Prior knowledge of dance will not be assumed.
ONE - When is a dancer considered to be professional?
DANCE|SPEAK to me!
Friday 02.05.2014, 19h
Having recently served on audition panels for dance scholarships and Universities, I have become uneasy about bearing the decision-making responsibility shaping who may and who may not enter the profession of dance today. What values are expressed in the judgment of who can and cannot dance, and what values are unspoken? This talk will set the tone of this lecture series, by considering more generally how the professionalization of the performing arts constructs varying relations between dancers and non-dancers. A second focus is the working conditions of dancers and the systems or values that regulate these conditions. Reviewing historic documentation, census data, and conducting interviews myself, I will consider how dancers negotiate socio-economic factors such as education, health, family-status, and nationality. Is a romantic view of the past, in particular of dance in New York in the 60's, or in Paris in the 20's, or in Frankfurt in the 80's warranted?
TWO - How do dancers learn a choreography?
THREE - Where is improvisation?
DANCE|SPEAK to me!
Thursday 08.05.2014, 19h
Using the rich example of Duo, a duet choreographed by William Forsythe, this talk will draw from discourse in embodied cognition, education theory, and performance studies to address the phenomena of learning a choreography. In doing so, this lecture will draw from my recent interdisciplinary collaboration with Dr. Bettina Bläsing, of the motor cognition group at the University of Bielefeld, and colleague Riley Watts in The Forsythe Company. Borrowing the concept of "entrainment," a term emerging in the literature of cognitive neuroscience to label the coordination of rhythmic activity, I will describe how the two dancers in Duo learn to coordinate their movement, performing movement in unison and as well as in counterpoint. In doing so, I will reflect upon on how dancers learn in a professional context like The Forsythe Company, describing embodied skills that appear to be factors underlying communication at-large. Relative to the topic of dance speaking, the dancers' vocalization and sonority seems to be key; thus application of interdisciplinary discourse to think through an example will be balanced by the dancers' abilities to vocalize themselves. With the audience, I would like to consider how this dancerly way of working compares to work in non-dance environments - also to consider how entrainment maybe useful as a concept to frame pedagogical methodology. When dancers teach or learn dance, what do they do?
DANCE|SPEAK to me!
Thursday 15.05.2014, 19h
While teaching a dance workshop recently in a city that shall remain nameless, I was criticized by the studio manager for teaching improvisation: I was told, "In Italy, we don't improvise." Obviously, nothing could be farther from the truth! The stigmatization of improvisation in Western culture is a barrier to the study of improvisation; as are rigid notions of time, form, and authorship. The weak ideas that improvisation is anything goes or purely spontaneous, is challenged by the foundation of specific communities and methods, as is currently the case in contemporary dance. Through description of my personal experience improvising in The Forsythe Company and interviews with colleagues who work in other established communities or methods of improvisation (such as contact improvisation and Gaga), I will enable reflections about what dance improvisation is, how relevant improvisation is in our daily lives, and why it is so difficult or problematic to speak about in Western culture. To provide multiple entries into the topic, I will make connections to theory and analysis of improvisation in sports science, creativity studies, and music. This talk, alas, will be carefully scripted.
FOUR - How is dance notated?
DANCE|SPEAK to me!
Thursday 22.05.2014, 19h
Tracing the line from German dance notator and theorist Rudolf von Laban to the digital dance scores released in 2013 by Frankfurt-based research platform Motion Bank, this talk will address more philosophically the need to remember, consider, and think through movement. How does dance develop and or escape its own inscription? Showing examples of Laban notation, I will decode how notators use symbols to write dance down. I will also consider with the audience, what is and is not notateable in Laban's system. From this, I will spring to a general introduction to contemporary work in dance archiving in Frankfurt, namely the Motion Bank score projects. How are methods of digitally documenting and publishing dance research impacting the field? With the audience, I would like to consider how recent digital projects diverge from Laban's work, in particular the difference between the handwritten versus digital trace.