Alice Chauchat, Antonija Livingstone, Siegmar Zacharias · Mar-Apr 2021

Alice to Siegmar – March 5th, 2021

dear babe,
here a little retelling of what Tonija and I have being doing this week. Since the first day we’ve danced at least twice a day, sometimes 3 times, to Bartok’s 1st violin sonata, embedded in a long ongoing conversation on dance performance companionship friendship, many anecdotes, feeling out how we talk and what we like to tell each other. sometimes we record and i might transcribe some bits in order to anotate them later
I will focus now on the dance and try to describe it
starting from moving with our eyes closed and to this piece of music, we seem to be calibrating a way of dancing and not dancing in and with the music, mostly not to it. in the same way, dancing in each other’s presence, with it, rarely to it. we look at each other while sitting, sometimes taking notes, sometimes also moving. that’s a lot then, dancing + the other + the music. and its also very little. little container, little motor.
today we went and did this in the tunnel that connects the shore to an island in the lake and we filmed it for you. i’m afraid it looks terrible and i think it does because it is still trying to much to be something. i love being chatty! and it kills all magic. so here another question, about holding the mundane in the midst of the exquisite or inversely or just both there.
these are issues we deal with, i hope you understand.
i resist attaching this that we do to some other scores like the dance of companionship. it’s almost the same and yet another DoC. I think because it’s just the two of us, the face to face is much stronger than I am used to. as a result tonija keeps her eyes closed a lot and we almost never look at each other when we dance.
she said yesterday that the blush is a central thing in her work.
i send you the video of this tunnel dance in spite of what it is, please forgive!
with love,




Antonija to Siegmar March 5, 2021

Monday 13h ?

report from Alice dancing : Ballet russes

Cutting room floor

I need to see her like an animal

I need to see her like when we are in the garden

She needs this too

All of it

Move around

« Being familiar with it « 

Pattern Language breakdown

Pointer fingers


« A little bit excited »

I am seduced by the floor

I am under her feet

Dancers feet

Not any other kind of feet !!

Scanning close for heat signature


Every once in a while

Being interested in what just happened

And forgetting now

This is also a familiarity

Like ironing a shirt on the floor whilst she gets
dressed over there

PrepRing to go out

But never actually going out

Multi attentions

Hot iron


Surfaces of grass and stones in the living room

Who really was

Christopher Alexander

What makes a good leader

Is this adrag show ?

A purge

Wood energy


Step down To be able to feel free to be foolish and
at work at once

Biding times 

Build as you tread said Siegmar Z 


FRIDAY 12h30 

Recall Dialogue

B.Akomolafe / S.Chen 

Chopping wood :

I go to chop the wood because I am cold and need to
have logs and kindling for the fire. There is no point chopping only 1 hrs
worth of wood to burn : if I am going to do it I might as well do it for as
long as I physically can or until the supply of whole logs is split and

I do this together with An.

We were freezing taking coffee on the gas stove in
the garden in the morning frost.

We finish the chopping and moving and stacking from A
to B to C.

The chopping itself makes us warm.

We do not need to light the fire inside.

We stay outside and invent things or discover things
to keep us active.

A combination of urgent tasks like wood chopping also
walking arm swinging and foot moving on the path and rock moving on the path

That is in no way urgent but a leaning into to the

Silently we are together and it’s not really working
we are doing we are walking moving and prying large rocks from the earth
clearing a path with our efforts both alone and occasionally together when the
stone is clearly took heavy or big to move alone

The roots of trees are made visible.

Will we stumble on them.

The path takes a different direction through the
forest towards the brooke.

In Scotland they call this the Bourne.

The source.

We work and walk together until we are noticing it is
getting colderthe sun has changed. What time is it today ?

We work and walk together until the invented creative
task seems done for now

We go back to the house and light the fire. 

We were cold

What we did with our time with our bodies warmed us
and solved the problem

Now we are still …

Now the energy of the wood

Is burning bright flames and becoming embers. 

The ending of the 2 nd movement Adagio is the kind of

One really can fall in love with. 

I need this subtlties very much. 

I was glad to exit my practice session in time to
give Alice a private empty encounter to witness just the ending of theSonata

Sonata meaning

To be played as opposed to to be sung

Co existing with the Sonata.

In studio

Stud I o

I study myself :

The given self of situation and it’s constituents

The self of the dancer dance and companions of sound
light space and

Inner and outer

Inviting being seen. 


Alice to Antonija – March 19th

dear Antonija,

it is time to thread you in again, into this weave of companionship,
dialogue, pondering and hesitation. As you were passing on the art of gentle
vandalism to the french students i transcribed the bits of conversation we’d
had on our first week together, and this week now with Siegmar we’ve been spending
a lot of time trying out ways of annotating texts by each of us, experimenting
with ways of letting our works affect each other and of letting these processes
shine through (where I pose distance as activating force she insists on
entanglement and we danced across these perspectives – this is of course a huge
simplification). So we continue the attempt at both holding companionship,
shaping it and making it perceptible without stopping its spoke to
me about the blush as a determining fact in your work and this has been staying
with me. the blush as uncontrollable expression of embarrassment for being
exposed / for exposing oneself… Siegmar works on sitting with the
uncontrollable and I would love to hear you both speaking about this

on Monday Siegmar and I moved with
our eyes closed in turns then danced to listen to the Bartók sonata. I became
impatient. I wrote: 

do I find it so difficult to dance with this music? The music is
beautiful, it opens a world, and a time long gone that can then reexist in the
contemporary situation when it is played and listened to. Dancing to
expressive music is difficult for me as I fear the danger of illustration, of
dance acting as the unnecessary illustration of a piece that doesn’t need it
the least. Dancing to or with this music I find it hard not to feel like a
nostalgic cliché. Suddenly I can’t stand averting our gazes or any other
so-called inward gaze; every little shift or accent, however hard I try to keep
it separate from the music’s logic, collides with it and their mutual
amplification feels contrived in an unpleasant way.. It seems like my only
way out is the hyper mundane, almost nothing.

do I not have this problem with litterary texts? I was educated to consider
dance and music as much closer relatives to each other. Where I hear the
parallels between the music and the dance (whatever they are), I can much more
expand the gaps between dance and text. So that the space between dance and
music tends to shrink, and I can more easily widen the space between text and
dance, a thick gluey space that connects them.

music also carries the problem of screeming out “art” so loudly. I love art but
my dance here becomes a pretention to art and I want to run away. I can’t
believe we stuck to this for the whole last week with Tonija. A mix of
commitment to whatever our situation would bring up and her famous emperor’s

think today Siegmar’s presence and our friendly interactions – not estheticized
or aligned to the music, but following their own logic – is the foot in the
door I won’t close just yet then. As she shakes her ass and tities, rolls her
head of hair around and slides onto a made-up mazurka, a twerk, a crawl across
the floor, my joy returns. Not because she’s being ironical: because she’s
actually making sure she has a good time instead of taking the music, the
situation, and thus herself, too serious. She revitalises the music by hosting
its humour, its naughtiness, its play. Not illustrating, but tuning into that
vitality. Repurposing it.

The foot is still in the door even
though we didn’t move or dance since. Yoga, talking, writing. We will dance
again for sure, and I would like to return and insist, it bears so many desires
and conflicts for me. That the choice of this piece of music was rather
arbitrary doesn’t matter. It seems we can respect it enough without needing to
be devoted to it. It seems fine to hold on a little and see which of those
desires, conflicts, paradoxes, we want to make room for. I hope you are

(Yves told me about this dream he
had yesterday, where these 2 guys presented themselves as “jumeaux de faire”;
they had each made a sort of convoluted, ornate needle, that was meant to
attach to a horse saddle, and those two needles were exactly identical… Yves
offered this to the collection of figures, didn’t say if those were figures in
the dance of companionship or the scores as figures, like the doubles in
parallel lives and the non-formal unison)

About the Bartók – Siegmar asked if
other choreographers had worked with his music, that I knew of, and I
remembered Anne Teresa de Keersmaker had and the score to this is actually in a
book in the library here. We didn’t watch it yet but might

…I just remembered that I had
recorded the score as I told it to Siegmar. my score nerd self is getting all
excited as I see the formulation finding itself

Alice: We’re going to play
this piece of music, it’s a sonata for violin and piano by Bela Bartok. And
we’re going to dance, and also watch and take notes when we want to. The idea
is to dance with this music. It’s a bit of a cousin to the dancing as
a way of listening except, what’s not in there is the focus on helping the
other listen. And one thing that we are suspending or interrogating or maybe
leaving aside is dancing to the music. Can we dance with the music, listen
to it and listen to ourselves and to each other and everything around, even
though maybe not in a very responsive way…
Siegmar : So we’re not using each other to listen, and we’re not dancing
to the music. But we’re dancing as listening to the music and everything else?
Alice: …maybe I should have completely left out the dancing as
listening; maybe this one is called dancing and listening. 

and now reading this it seems
like a dance of companionship with the music, and I understand the possibility
to wake up the dance, to sustain and expand it by using the same technique of
calling in all the imaginable companions like bones sounds breaths thoughts
etc. (I guess this is all one is supposed to do when dancing, but for
me it takes efforts and tricks to actually do it)

I’m having a stroll through the
first week transcripts and remember that we spoke of cinema, “faire son
cinema” and the necessity to balance between making room for imagination and
the invention of narratives around present situations, and the attention to
what is there that resists those, that exists in the matter as well as the
imaginations we do not share in and which are also there. I find myself
doing this while conversing. I tend to attend those a bit like movies or novel,
I revel in the hesitations, the moves towards and away, the avoidances and the
shifts. Could this film/novel be called Rougeur or Rougissement?

triangulation: Siegmar remarked
yesterday on the role of triangulation in our respective works. It’s a useful
tool, and I want to try to sketch the triangulation each of the scores I work
with engage. (What) does the term evoke when you think of what you do? As
a trio that hardly ever gathers we also have something like this, asymmetrical
of course and starting with the material fact of you and Siegmar not spending
time together without me, anyways the 3 is in the room when 2  of us are
here at the lakeI remembered also a text I had wanted to read about the role of
the Third in Levinas’ thinking and how it might take us out of the ethical/political
separation that is often understood as his. Maybe the 3 of us can read this
next week.

dear Anton I hope you arrived
back home well and happy from your journey. And I look forward to monday.

warmly yours


Siegmar to Antonija, March 20th

Dear Anton, 

I want to offer you a bunch of words that we have collected and foregrounded
in each others texts Alice and I. I’m not doing it as algorithm but following
my own interested attention.  I guess they are traces of what we were
doing individually and alone and threads reaching out towards you. i would love
to pick at them with you. or to start expanding the list with annotations,
thought bubbles, and reaction

I would love to dive into your stuff
with you whatever that stuff is. I brought another listening session and texts
and stories and plans for a dying and living well together garden, grief and
pleasure or is it joy or love or regeneration  … the other thing as
collective practice in any case.wanna talk about processes of soil and manure
and time.

Also I thought that maybe each day
another one of us could host the mornings, so warm up and work proposal till
lunch. my wish would be to start form each of our own work/practice/research to
propose how to work from that. It could be a way to introduce each other to
each others practices and to offer myself to experimenting with your research
approach. or offering myself for you to experiment with/on me.

and also i attach the Ensembling
text, which is a text that i wrote for the piece that we did with alice, we
started annotating that one too, but i think i prefer to send you that text as
it was first. would be curious to hear what comes up for you.

i can’t wait to get togetherlove to
you into the sunny day


here are some words so here we go.

habits of narration

sudden jumps


triangulation with a possible

entanglement of distances


compassionate witness

non-verifiable difference

doubles in parallel lives

interdependent distance

vague recognisability

re-emerging out of the chaos of
the world (or form under the table)

what makes it bareable enough to
keep going – the soothers

letting pleasure arrive in one’s
body where it normally doesn’t

imagining is inserting some
unknown, (re)(con)figuring

naming as non-taxonomy but

practice listening to what is, was, will be, and never again will be

the pleasure of responsivity



adaptability towards material

holding on to the plant for

training to sit with change

paying attention to the limits
of your own perception

re-membering more

we have swallowed for too long

the alienating forces of intimacy

we are connected in a cloud of


the uncontrollable imposes itself

sitting with the uncontrollable

grief work as performance work –
performance work as grief work

the alchemy of loss

mutual gravitational field

my bodies are part of collective

vital and necessary pleasure

learning from grief

regenerative praxis with
earth/soil humus


Antonija to Siegmar, March 19th

The Black Triangle
: a west village lesbian bar : a method for an applied polyphony

Dear Alice,  Dear Siegmar, 

My time away threadbare…

Missing strong lady minds and
looking forward to leaning in …

Meanwhile, a little mess …

The blush holds many kin in her
hot embrace 

embarrassment is just the common
name for the loudest stinkiest child, 

there is also outrage, shy, lost,
found, aroused, all terribly too close relatives 

A political blunder blush 

A un documented blush 

A watching the train wreck blush 

A missing the train blush that
then has all the colour drain out of it …

So so many …

trying to count them just brings
the colour right back up 

the unwelcome  

Some definitely entangled
counterfeiting and renegade and serious stuff in a dubious mix 

Refined methods next to dumb

propped up queerly in a dusty

Called on 

Ms.Thang to the dance floor
please !

The whole room ablush…

The music is blushing. 

She is definitely not being
listened to 

These well dressed emperors are
talking all over her. 


abitrary song ?

She is loved by other Emperors

She brings all manner of ethics
 one couldn’t notice so painfully clearly without it

Now they are some noticed
 does the song need to be there ? 

Certainly another song surely
sets up  another set of organizing principles 

to resist 

to be guided by 

to do things to us we can’t

Testing the lie of what one
presumes to be worth attending to 


A dream  

The twins ride hard on needled harnesses 

A dusty trail before us and
bareback back there 

says something along the lines of improvisation

Is a conversation with the

This is helpful 

This is happening but…

It’s the damned call to order
dance to dance 

Bye bye Bartok ! 

Levinas Lecture Lundis