we like lists

Shannon Bott and I first started working together in 2003. We have had a long, fruitful and sporadic working relationship (see Inert and Recovery) and it’s inspiring to spend time with her making, talking, and dreaming up new ideas: Shannon is a remarkable dancer, thinker and communicator.

We’ve been cooking up a new project for some time and it’s starting to take some shape while we working together here in Melbourne for six weeks.

The performance is called We Don’t Like Lists Because We Don’t Want to Die, a line stripped directly from an interview with the Italian author Umberto Eco:

Homer’s work hits again and again on the topos of the inexpressible. People will always do that. We have always been fascinated by infinite space, by the endless stars and by galaxies upon galaxies. How does a person feel when looking at the sky? He thinks that he doesn’t have enough tongues to describe what he sees. Nevertheless, people have never stopping describing the sky, simply listing what they see. Lovers are in the same position. They experience a deficiency of language, a lack of words to express their feelings. But do lovers ever stop trying to do so? They create lists: Your eyes are so beautiful, and so is your mouth, and your collarbone.

We have a limit, a very discouraging, humiliating limit: death. That’s why we like all the things that we assume have no limits and, therefore, no end. It’s a way of escaping thoughts about death. We like lists because we don’t want to die.

– http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/spiegel-interview-with-umberto-eco-we-like-lists-because-we-don-t-want-to-die-a-659577.html

Shannon and I are slowly working towards some public showings in Melbourne and then – with a bit of luck – we’ll première the work in London sometime in 2018. Stay tuned.

https://www.skellis.info/choreography/#/lists/

We Like Lists Because We Don’t Want to Die is in development after a residency at Centro per la Scena Contemporanea in Bassano del Grappa, Italy in 2015, at Tasdance in November 2017, and a period of practice in Melbourne from October to December 2017.

 

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copy what we want

If all people want to do is go and look at other people so that they can compare themselves to them and copy what they want – if that is the final, deepest truth about humanity and its motivations – then Facebook doesn’t really have to take too much trouble over humanity’s welfare, since all the bad things that happen to us are things we are doing to ourselves.

– John Lanchester, https://www.lrb.co.uk/v39/n16/john-lanchester/you-are-the-product

 

andante

I’ve discussed my ongoing work as a dramaturg with Igor Urzelai and Moreno Solinas in various posts on this blog here, here, here and here.

Their latest work – Andante – has its London première tomorrow on Thursday 2 November at The Place (tickets and details are here: theplace.org.uk/whats-on/igor-and-moreno–1. The work has been developed slowly over about three years and the team of people involved are smart, caring and committed: Giorgia Nardin, Eleanor Sikorski, Alberto Ruiz Soler, Kasper Hanser, Sophie Bellin Hansen, Seth Rook Williams, Sarah Maguire, Hannah Blamire, and Melanie Pappenheim.

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Image of Ellie Sikorski, Giorgia Nardin, Igor Urzelai and Moreno Solinas courtesy of Alicia Clarke Photography

Like their previous two works, Andante is brave in its vision and sense of the theatrical. It is demanding and accessible, it is patient and evocative. If you can get along to The Place, I suspect it will be well worth the effort.

 

efva lilja

I first encountered the remarkable Swedish choreographer Efva Lilja through her books Dance, For Better For Worse (2004) and Words on Dance (2003). But I’d never met her in person until late last year on a bloody freezing day in Leeds at Error and Creativity: An Interdisciplinary Symposium. She gave a keynote that day and I made a few very rough notes which I’ve included below. The notes give a sense of the breadth of her thinking and ideas, but not any sense of her drive, presence and beautiful playfulness.

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Image from http://www.culturalentrepreneur.se/
  • “I am what I do not know, I am what I lack”
  • “technologies of listening”
  • “knowledge generation” in Europe
  • what’s at stake?
  • the values: what we value
  • can’t force the outcome
  • hypothetical questions
  • “question of cliches is an urgent one”
  • “and question of contention is as well”
  • “how to create new demands on institutions and the academy”
  • training: reduces the dancer to a body
  • “ability to recognise difference has to be trained”

Efva’s website: www.efvalilja.se
Efva on wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Efva_Lilja

 

andrée

Last Wednesday the esteemed dance anthropologist Andrée Grau died suddenly. She had an inquisitive, sharp and beautiful mind, was quick witted and profoundly inspiring to her students.

Here’s a video of Andrée from 2011 talking about dance anthropology. In it she suggests that “to dance is a social duty”.

Rest and dance easily Andrée – your intellect, compassion, and beautiful wrestling with ideas will remain. Of course I’ll miss our bloody-minded arguments, but know that I will do my best to remember my social duty as a dancer.