all the things that we can do

Part of the work I do as a dancer, choreographer and teacher involves running a Masters programme at the University of Roehampton that is called MRes Choreography and Performance. It is, as it says on the lid, a Masters by Research.

I’m skeptical about the word research in the arts; it feels like a buzz word or something that is used rather arbitrarily to project depth onto a project. At the same time, I have little time for the idea that the Academy owns quality in research. Here’s Donald Schon:

[There is] a radical separation of the world of the academy from the world of practice, according to which the academy holds a monopoly on research.

– Schön, cited in Brook 2012, p.4[1]

Nevertheless, there are circumstances in which artists deeply test the nature and role of the arts in culture. There is a sense of falling into the unknown, of seeking to understand the ways in which choreographic practice might skew or alter our perspective(s) on the ways we live, make and dance.

There are four students currently finishing the MRes Choreography and Performance and each of them – in very different ways – is attempting to ask and even address complex questions through the practice of choreography. I thought I’d advertise their work on this blog, and to kick things off, here’s a link to Hamish MacPherson’s ambitious, multi-limbed project that delves into politics, choreography and citizenship. It’s called All The Things That We Can Do:

hamishmacpherson.co.uk

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  1. Brook, Scott. 2012. “Introduction. Part 2: the Critiques of Practice-Led Research.” Edited by Scott Brook and Paul Magee. Text. October 1. http://www.textjournal.com.au/speciss/issue14/Brook%20(Intro%202).pdf.  ↩

dramaturgy and idiot-syncrasy

What doesn’t play a role shouldn’t exist. What necessity requires does not need to exist. That’s what you call dramaturgy. Logic, morals or meaning don’t have anything to do with it. It’s all a question of relationality.

– Murakami, Haruki. 2006. Kafka on the Shore. London: Vintage, p.309

Nearly two years ago, Igor Urzelai and Moreno Solinas approached me to be involved in their new project (which had the working title of Idiot-Syncrasy).

My role was to be a funny mixture of things: videoing materials, asking questions of what they were doing, and generally being the person who was all care and no responsibility.

It was clear, however, that I needed to find a way to support Igor and Moreno make the work they wanted to make – to ask difficult questions of their interests, their practice(s), and the various choreographic images and structures they were developing. In many respects, this involved questioning ideas of necessity. That is, given what they hoped to achieve with the project, what was needed for the work, and what was not?

This week is the London première of Idiot-syncrasy at The Place. It’s a remarkable work and I suspect this has to do with Igor and Moreno’s commitment to their ideas and their dancing more than any other thing.

Oh, I also made a kind of trailer for them. Here it is:

Idiot-Syncrasy (teaser) from Igor and Moreno on Vimeo.