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ABOUT DANCE VOL. 2 — Work & Play

May 29th 2021 May 30th 2021

Click HERE for a written review of Vol. 2

Trailer for Work & Play

Contemporary dance is an art form in which we practice different ways of being (post-)human. This practice occurs both on and off-stage, during rehearsals and performances, in conversations and in improvisations. For most professionals, only a fraction of this practice is remunerated, yet most of it can be considered as a deeply necessary to our work. This forum considers the notions of labour, relating, virtuosity, ethics, exchange, and interdependency that go into the construction of a body of work—and of bodies who work. The forum will be processed by a small group of socially distanced people present at LAKE Studios and freely available to a larger audience via livestream.

With co-hosts Kareth Schaffer and Olympia Bukkakis (both live and online) and contributions from Madalina Dan, Annelies van Assche, Marcela Giesche and surprise guests.

ONLINE Schedule
May 29th
13.30 Kareth Schaffer & Olympia Bukkakis
16.00 Marcela Giesche
17.30: Madalina Dan in dialogue with Kasia Wolinska

May 30th
14.00 Intro with Kareth & Olympia
14:15. Annelies van Assche
15:30 – 18h BREAK
18.00 Final Discussion

ABOUT the artists’ contributions :

Annelies van Assche: A Thin Line. Balancing Autonomy and Precarity in the Symbolic Economy of the Arts 

In 2016, five Slovenian performing artists and cultural workers published a two-page ironic handbook on how to ‘Become the ideal cultural worker in 86 steps’, a performance-text that was part of Choreographing Calculation (2012) that premiered at the CoFestival in Ljublijana, Slovenia. As a starting point of their performance, Arhar, Brezavšček, Čičigoj, Rakef and Založnik were involved in an experiment to calculate their work activities to find a precise measure for the value of their work. Unpacking what work goes into artistic and cultural work is also the point of departure within Annelies van Assch’s ongoing research as a performing arts scholar who works at the intersection of dance and performance studies and cultural and labor sociology. Many performing artists have developed a comparable habitus within the European contemporary dance scene. Much in line with neoliberal ideology, their life and labor acutely depend on one another. Within this contribution, I explore how socio-economic precarity is micro-managed by my sample of project-based contemporary dance artists in Brussels and Berlin. For this purpose, I single out a few of the 86 steps that are listed in the performance text as a no-nonsense directive to success in the cultural sector. Engaging with the steps will provide insights into why project workers do what they do and keep doing it despite the lingering precarity, and as such expose the very thin line that exists between autonomy and precarity. 

Madalina Dan interviews Kasia Wolinska

In “What (still) moves us?” Mădălina Dan, Berlin and Bucharest based choreographer meets and interviews choreographers, dancers, performers, and artists from the local dance community in Bucharest. For the Lake Studios forum no. 2, WORK, she will be meeting – in a dancing/talking conversation- the Berlin and Gdansk-based choreographer Kasia Wolinska in an adapted version of the format “What (still) moves us?”. The format will facilitate their first dancing encounter but also an opportunity to share thoughts on: ways of working, notions, aesthetics, education, discipline of work engaged in by the two artists, collaboration, dialogue with other arts and humanities fields and the socio-political relevance of their artistic approach. 

Marcela Giesche: Marcela will speak about the founding of LAKE Studios and the continued interweaving of artistic and working processes involved in the maintainance of a space for dance and performance. 

Artist Bios

Kareth Schaffer is a choreographer and dramaturg in Berlin, Germany. She makes dance pieces about the things that interest her, most recently Balinese dance, the language of bees, and the demons that attacked the early Christian desert fathers. She is in the midst of founding a dance company, Construction Company.   www.karethschaffer.com

Kasia Wolinska is choreographer, dancer, and writer born in Gdańsk and living in Berlin. In the years 2013-2018, she ran a performative project named Hi Mary. Since 2018, she has been writing a blog on dance and politics www.danceisaweapon.com. Together with Faerieda Sandstrom she founded The Future Body At Work. She is a board member of ZTB e.V., the organization representing the interests of the free scene of dance in Berlin.

Mădălina Dan studied choreography and play-writing at the National University of Theater and Film in Bucharest. She was a member of “Oleg Danovski” Ballet Company from 1998 till 2003. In 2008 she received the danceWEB scholarship in Vienna. She was guest artist to the Herberger Institute, School of Dance (Arizona State University) in 2009 and was associated artists at the National Dance Centre in Bucharest in 2016. Her works have been shown at Springdance Festival Utrecht, Tanzquartier Wien, eXplore Dance Festival Bukarest and DTW New York, among others. In 2021 she will continue to develop her ongoing exploration into “The Agency of Touch.”

Annelies van Assche obtained a joint doctoral degree in Art Studies and Social Sciences in 2018 at Ghent University and KU Leuven, on the working and living conditions of contemporary dance artists in Brussels and Berlin. She was production manager at contemporary dance school P.A.R.T.S. from 2011 until 2014. In 2019, she started a postdoctoral research on labor and aesthetics in contemporary dance in Europe’s (Eastern) periphery at Ghent University. 

Queen of the Heavens and of the Earth, Empress of Despair, and Architect of Your Eternal Suffering, Olympia Bukkakis is a drag performer, choreographer, and event organiser living in Berlin. Her practice is situated within, and inspired by, the tensions and intersections between queer nightlife and contemporary dance and performance.

Marcela Giesche: www.marcelagiesche.com

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