Tools to create improvised dances
Week 1, Tools for Dance Improvisation
is intended to introduce or refresh some of the basic tools (exercises, practices, scores, games, concepts) of ZOO/Thomas Hauert’s work.
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. Our 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 conscious thought is necessarily formed in order to invent movement.
In a progressive series of improvisational tasks with one or more partners, exchanging information sensorially, in touch or at a distance, we will take advantage of this phenomenon to create forms, rhythms, movement qualities and trajectories far more complex and sophisticated than the ones our conscious mind could invent. We will be guided out of our habitual tracks and patterns will be distorted or overridden.
While we will practice to multiply and disconnect actions within our own individual body, another chapter of the work will be on connecting the movement of individuals in a group, the attempt to create one single organism out of a group of individual bodies. We’ll be tapping into the intelligence of the collective, swooping 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.
Week 2, Composing Individual- and Group-Improvisations
is meant to be a development of the experiences of week 1. Intended for people who have followed week 1 or participated at one of Thomas’ workshops before. Concentrating on composing while improvising, shaping the dance as it’s being invented.
A special focus in this part of workshop will be on the analogy between movement and music. The connection between music and dance is ancient and seems obvious. It’s as if the two are different embodyments of our desire to give an order to our experience of time and space and there lies an infinite creative potential in the analogies as well as in the specificities and interactions of the two forms. We can learn a lot about movement from musicians – composers and performers – for our use of rhythm, timing, tension and release, counterpoint etc.
While working solo, we will complexify and coordinate the movement of our own individual body to create a sense of polyphony within it. As a group, 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. 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.
Thomas Hauert’s biography:
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 2021 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
Dates and times:
April 29 – May 3 and May 6-10
14:30 – 18:30
100 € registration fee
400 € total
In the same two weeks Motoya Kondo is teaching in the mornings. You get a 15% discount for registering to both workshops.