Tools to create improvised dances
by Thomas Hauert
Progressively throughout the three weeks the participants will develop skills and practice improvising dances focusing on four chapters:
● Tools to expand movement vocabulary and to avoid habitual movement patterns.
● Creating dances for duets and small groups by interacting in touch
● Coordinate and compose the movement of a group in space
● Composing group dances while constantly and immediately connecting to others at a distance
Every joint of our body has its range of movement and there are countless combinations possible. The body possesses a great practical knowledge, that goes way beyond what the mind’s consciousness is able to process, about its anatomy and its mechanics, their actions and reactions, and their interactions with external forces (gravity, centrifugal- and centripetal force, another body etc.).
A complete picture/sense of the body rather than a list of cerebral criteria allows for far more complex movement (forms and qualities) because our conscious mind can concentrate only on a few things at one time while our body is able to combine a great amount of information in an ever changing, fluid sense of orientation, that can serve as a sensor for potential movement: physical intuition, creativity that comes into existence by mainly physical circumstances, no thought is necessarily formed between the moment of ‘inspiration’ and the execution of the movement.
In a progressive series of improvisational tasks with one or more partners, exchanging information sensorially, in touch or at a distance, the participants will take advantage of this phenomenon to create forms, rhythms, movement qualities and trajectories far more sophisticated than the ones the conscious mind could invent.
They will be guided out of their habitual tracks, patterns will be distorted or overridden.
In some of the forms the dancers will practise to isolate, multiply and disconnect actions within their own individual body to create a sense of polyphony within it. Another chapter of the work will consist of combining the mechanics and forces of two or more bodies in touch in order to become one creature and learn to co-ordinate and create as one. Bodies will be multitasking with each other, isolating one area of interaction from another, shaping and being shaped at the same time, imposing force and direction while opposing imposed force/direction, modifying it or surrendering to it. Touches can be supports or throw one off balance, bones can become levers, joints held in fixed angles can transfer force, supports turn into pivots. Several areas of the bodies in touch interact ingeniously in overlapping sequences of initiating and responding to create an unimaginable and unrepeatable dance.
Another focus will be on composing and connecting the movement of a group at a distance, the attempt to create one single organism out of a group of individual bodies moving through space: The movement of individuals within a group can be connected and united. Like the musicians of an orchestra playing together one piece of music the dancers in a space can create a unity by connecting rather than juxtaposing their movement. Shapes or positions in space can be related and given the visual equivalents of harmony or dissonance (vertical connections on the timeline) and the dancers can also create connections referring to past or future events, like melodies, rhythms and dynamics do in music (horizontal connections on timeline). It can be helpful to think about those connections in musical terms to help us find equivalents in movement, yet also here our instrument, the body, and another often underestimated agent: the group, prove to provide abilities to achieve interconnected, interactive movement structures that our individual, conscious minds could never have conceived of. We’ll be tapping into swarm intelligence/collective intelligence, swopping constantly between leading and following or doing both at the same time, taking the responsibility to initiate as well as the responsibility to play your part in the development of other people’s proposals or of unconsciously emerging
structures, keeping an overview over the group composition while assuming your role within it. The connecting group structures allow the dancers to create a shared sense of musicality emerging from the fragmented contribution of everyone involved both in silence and in relation to an audible or imagined music.
Having built a dancer career with a.o. Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, David Zambrano and Pierre Droulers, Swiss Thomas Hauert initiated Cows in Space, a piece for five dancers which was consequently awarded at the Rencontres de Seine-Saint-Denis 1998. Since then, he and his company ZOO have created more than 20 performances a.o. Jetzt (2000), Verosimile (2002), modify (2004, Swiss Dance Prize 2005), Walking Oscar (2006), Accords (2008), You’ve Changed (2010), From B to B (with Àngels Margarit, 2011), Like me more like me (with Scott Heron, 2011) the piece for young audience Danse étoffée sur musique déguisée (with Mat Voorter 2012), Mono (2013), the solo (sweet) (bitter) in 2015, Inaudible (2016), How to Proceed (2018) and his latest group creation If only in March 2020.
In 2010, director Thierry De Mey also took Accords as a base to create the film La Valse, co-produced by European television channel Arte. In addition to his work for ZOO, Thomas was also commissioned to create Hà Mais (2002) with Mozambican dancers, as well as several pieces for the school P.A.R.T.S in Brussels. In 2010, he created a new work for the Zurich Ballet, Il Giornale della necropoli, in 2013 Pond Skaters for the Toronto Dance Theatre, in 2014 the piece Notturnino for the British company of disabled and non-disabled dancers Candoco Dance Company, in 2018 Flot for 24 dancers for CCN Ballet de Lorraine in Nancy and in 2021 Symphonie Nr.29 for the Ballet of the Gärtnerplatztheater in Munich.
Presented all over the world, the work of Thomas and ZOO first develops from research on movement, with a particular interest in improvisation-based processes exploring the tension between freedom and constraint, individuals and the group, order and disorder, form and formlessness. Regularly invited to participate in improvisation events, he also has a deep interest in the relationship between dance and music. Thomas teaches regularly a.o. at P.A.R.T.S. and was Valeska-Gert-guest professor at the Freie Universität Berlin during the winter 2012-13. He was also invited to collaborate in The Forsythe Company’s “Motion Bank” project.
Thomas Hauert is the artistic director of the bachelor degree in contemporary dance that opened in 20214 at La Manufacture, Haute école des arts de la scène in Lausanne. Thomas Hauert is “artiste en compagnonnage” at Théâtre de Liège (2018-2022) and in residency at Théâtre Les Tanneurs.
More information incl. videos about ZOO-Thomas Hauert’s work: https://zoo-thomashauert.be
Mondays till Fridays
March 28th – April 15th
14:30 – 18:30
400 € Special Price
Registration fee of 150 € required (as part of the 400)