00:01:44 00:01:54

A gesture is an event between language and movement.

00:01:55 00:02:04

The thing is, I actually decided to no longer speak on stage.

00:02:15 00:02:46

Language had kind of become an easy way out of choreographic problems, dance questions… sort of fencing my body in, taming it, always making it part of an explicit concept or narrative.

00:02:51 00:02:56

So, tonight back to language.

00:02:57 00:03:22

In a talk once, Myriam Van Imschoot said that the talking artist could be called an oracle. Kind of an art fortune teller, maybe foreseeing the future.

00:03:31 00:03:45

So what I will try tonight is to only talk about the future. Or to be more precise, to only talk in future tense.

00:03:46 00:04:09

I will move through two things at the same time. First, a solo that I made in collaboration with Lilia Mestre and Boris Hauf. And second, Body Mind Centering…

00:04:09 00:04:32

A practice that will be practiced by quite a few people, at least in Berlin, to make dances. And a praxis that I will no longer practice. Although I have, will have practiced it quite a bit during my studies at the School for New Dance Development.

00:04:32 00:04:43

Studying body systems, like the skeleton, the nervous system, the organs.

00:04:43 00:05:01

And learning about developmental movement patterns: crawling, navel radiation, homologous push, homolateral and crosslateral patterns. And…

00:05:15 00:05:18

… and mouthing.

00:05:43 00:05:50

Babies will do it when they’re looking for their mother’s breast.

00:06:24 00:06:43

It feels quite good to do. Although, I’m not sure how it feels to watch.

00:06:58 00:07:59

Anyways, it’s time to open my eyes. Slowly, so that I will not lose the sensation I’ve just gathered in my body. I will tell myself to not look at the thing that I see, but to let the image in front of me fall into my eyes. Trying to make vision yet another sensation in the body.

00:08:18 00:08:38

Point fixe.

00:08:38 00:08:59

A mime exercise. A lot of people will hate mime. I will have studied it. In the beginning of my dancing and then later during my Master studies, again in Amsterdam.

00:08:59 00:09:29

Together with some colleagues, we will ask ourselves: how can the body become gesture? And we will take mime as one of the gestural theatre techniques in Europe and put it together with what we know about dance and then we will try to look at one thing.

00:09:29 00:09:40

And what we will come up with is something we will call ‘miming the body’.

00:11:29 00:11:44

Some people will find it very inspiring. Other people will find it quite confusing.

00:11:44 00:12:05

And it’s a strange mix-up, suggested narratives that are not all mixed up again and fully away of abstracting those narratives.

00:12:32 00:12:55

And it does leave a lot of imaginary movement traces that are not all picked up again. Placing the body strangely between meaning or suggesting something and feeling something.

00:13:36 00:13:50

With the body ideally becoming a gesture itself, sort of placed between language and movement.

00:13:50 00:14:00

Floating, floating, floating.

00:14:08 00:15:22

And sometimes managing to relate things. Things such as body parts, bodies, people, thoughts, movements, practices, habits, imaginations, feelings, idiosyncrasies, aesthetics, ethics, memories, energies, energy lines, forces, vectors, lines of attention.

00:15:22 00:15:33

Like this one here, from my right thumb, across my arm through my shoulders across the other arm to my left thumb.

00:15:33 00:15:53

I learned this tension line from my father, which makes my body the archive of his habits.

00:15:53 00:16:15

The question is: how will my father’s habit travel from his body into mine?

00:16:16 00:16:52

I imagine moulds in space, movement tunnels that people leave when they move and that I can enter and exit, changing them around, while they can change me. Sometimes being aware of what’s happening, but mostly not.

00:17:04 00:17:22

It’s a bit like putting on clothes. Some are a bit wide and big, others are a bit tight.

00:17:22 00:17:56

And then others again are very old, hanging in your wardrobe for years and years and then you find them again and try them on and see what it feels like to put them on and you go out onto the street or onto the stage. Like this one here.

00:17:56 00:18:12


00:18:12 00:18:22

A dance by Dore Hoyer from 1962. A German choreographer who’s not very known, but did quite interesting stuff.

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I’ve been practicing her dances for more than ten years and some people identify me with this.

00:18:55 00:18:58

But I’m not only an archivist.

00:19:09 00:19:12

I’m also a magician.

00:19:30 00:19:45

In a discussion I had once with Thomas Lehmen, I asserted that contemporary dance could also be regarded as a form of entertainment.

00:19:45 00:20:02

As some of you might imagine, Thomas strongly disagreed. He wouldn’t accept my rather etymological understanding of the word ‘entretenir’: to hold what is in between.

00:20:30 00:20:50

It’s strange that the ‘in-between’ has become so important for my choreographic and dancing practice, because it was exactly an in-between situation in my life that made me go dance.

00:20:50 00:21:05

I was about to finish high school, I didn’t know what to do or what to study, my parents were fighting and about to separate, and I was trying to find a way out.

00:21:10 00:21:22

Now, I’m not sure whether it has actually been a way out.

00:21:27 00:21:47

But anyways. A short summary of tonight: lots of ends, holding, miming, gesturing.

00:21:48 00:22:02

And the thing is: what about the legs? It’s a question I once asked Jeroen Peeters and he wrote it down in one of his notebooks.

00:22:19 00:22:27

I guess that’s a question to explore in the future.

00:22:40 00:22:43

Now let’s stay in the present.

00:22:43 00:22:04

I don’t know about you, but when I read the news this morning and the past week, I thought: okay, this performance needs a… something, a postscriptum that puts it back into the world somehow.

00:23:06 00:23:38

So I thought, what I do is, I show you now the version of a scene from Covert Investigation. That’s a piece I made together with Joséphine Evrard and Florian Feigl. And it will show you how I dealt with language and movement in 2004. Besides hopefully putting this back into the world.

00:23:40 00:23:51

Now, let’s imagine an event. And not a gesture event, but a real event, something big. And it breaks into the space here.

00:23:51 00:24:28

Let’s say, from there it flies, through the ceiling, and then lands right here on stage, bounces up, and hits this lamp here. The moment that the event hits this lamp, the event evaporates, it’s gone. But the lamp, it undoes itself from the grid, it starts spinning down to the ground, to fall into the ground, but there it doesn’t shatter into pieces, instead it keeps spinning so that it drills into the ground, to make a really, really, really, really deep hole and out of this: a volcano.

00:24:28 00:24:48

Now this vulcano starts spitting little events. And three of those little events, they hit three other lamps. This one here, this one and this one. And they all come spinning down, spinning into the ground, and three more volcanoes.

00:24:48 00:25:05

Now all these four vulcanoes spit events. Bouncing off the walls, the ceiling, the ground and you guys have to tuck away because it’s quite painful when you get hit by an event.

00:25:05 00:25:21

And the moment when it’s really full of energy in the space here, suddenly all these events… sort of take a break on this level here.

00:25:21 00:25:27

Kind of discussing what to do next.

00:25:30 00:26:01

And what they do is, they fly up and attach to the grid, to those metal pipes here. And what they do is, because they are full of energy, the events, they start to heat up those pipes and they start to glow, it’s like a toaster. And then the heat comes down and it gets really, really hot in this space, actually it’s too hot to stay, but some of you survive and stay, and it gets hotter, and hotter, and hotter, so that this wall, in the back, this wall starts to catch fire. It’s so hot that it starts to catch fire. Like this firewall.

00:26:01 00:26:18

Now, this firewall and the toaster up there, they inspire the heaters to actually turn on, here, and the energy also comes into space. And you guys and I must start to undress because it’s so unbearably hot.

00:26:18 00:26:36

And here, there’s sticky tape here, the grey tape, it undoes itself and starts rolling on the stage, like this. And all the animals and people that are here on stage, they get stuck to the tape, like flies on that sticky tape in the kitchen.

00:26:36 00:27:05

And then this thing flies out through the firewall and they’re gone. The moment they fly out, these two cameras they melt down. This one is so hot that it melts fully down, and this one is a little bit cooler and falls onto the ground and leaves this stinking, little pile of metal and electronic parts and plastic.

00:27:05 00:27:08

And then this pile starts to shoot flashes.

00:27:13 00:27:23

And the fifth one hits this one here, at the wall… And all the animals and humans that are left are buried under this wall.

00:27:23 00:27:35

A huge cloud of dust going this way, all of you start to cough like crazy. And the moment you start to cough, the events that are attached to the grid come down.

00:27:38 00:28:07

And they slowly come together to assemble themselves again to the big event from the beginning. And that big event is thinking about where to break in next, which reality to disturb, and then… flies out through this window.

00:28:26 00:28:39

And then, there are these voices from outside. People wondering about what has happened inside.

00:28:42 00:28:53

Is it true? Could it actually have happened like this? What can we do to help?

00:28:53 00:28:58

They are worrying about us.

00:28:58 00:29:04

And they’re worrying also about the equipment, the mobile phones, things of value.

00:29:08 00:29:14

Some of them are wondering if they can learn something from it.

00:29:20 00:29:35

And then all these questions, they come floating in, through this broken window here.

00:29:35 00:30:00

And very slowly, they are settling down, leaving this very, very thin layer of questions on everything. And on everybody.