Barcelona, April 2018
I am sitting at home, open doors to our tiny balcony which is full of flowers, the sun is shining on my back and I let pass the last months in my memories- lots of things happened. Spring arrived here: It’s great! It brings another vibe, fills the streets with more and more people (also a lot of tourists of course) and the sun energizes my body and my mind. I feel that it’s a good moment to look for some new adventures, too.
The past months, we were traveling a lot with the collective.
Our first stop was Arnhem (1.-3. March):
Two days of workshops ‚interaction in performance‘ for the 3rd years of Bachelor Docent Dans and one open workshop ‚floorCONTACT’. As a unexpected surprise (in the first moment a bit stressy because we didn’t know about that haha) we could also work with the 1st en 2nd years (yeah!) It was great to be back in Arnhem, it still feels really as a place like home. It was an amazing opportunity to work with the students, investigate with them some of our ideas and opening this period of creation with them. As they are busy with their own creation now, we will accompany their process from afar, via Skype and video feedback…and other adaptable solutions we can think of to know what they are busy with and support them in their process of creation. (Netty van den Bosch, the head of the department, offered us this unexpected job already a while ago. It felt like a big mark of confidence to me as I just finished my studies last year and am now invited together with Johanna to work with them). And for us this is an interesting and instructive process, because we are in the middle of finishing our own work Puntos Juntos. One creation we need to shape ourselves and one creation we can guide from an outside perspective and see how it develops. I like the fact to have these two things at the same moment, because it makes me sharper to have a critical eye on what we do ourselves: Skype-dates, observing their rehearsals, analyzing movement phrases and questioning what they are doing, makes me at the same time question what we are doing. And directly after finishing one of the feedback sessions, Johanna and me talked about the same aspects and their influence in our piece: Maybe we should look again at the „Level 2 scene“ because I just thought that this is not clear enough yet, there is material which is a bit unnecessary to what we want to point out, don’t you think?
What I want to say: Sometimes, if we are in the middle of our own process it’s hard to keep on looking on everything with an objective eye…we felt this aspect a lot during this residency with Puntos Juntos. Ideas, sequences or objectives get blurry, because there are so many thoughts in my mind, and all these thoughts changed for so many times. In the end I don’t know anymore, if certain things make sense and if the audience can follow our propositions. Especially in our case the guidance of the audience is a really important factor, because the piece is for children and contains an interactive structure. If we choreograph the sequence like this, is it clear for them what we want to express and what they need to do? Can they built the bridge from this idea to the next one themselves or do we need to make it even more precise? Why do we go here, does it make more sense to end the sequence right there?
For this, we are dependent on an outside eye. We invited different people and we had an interesting and helpful Try-Out two weeks ago. We started to question lots of things again because of the feedback and questions afterwards. So last week we ended up with a plan to change a bunch of material and transitions intending to prepare the piece for its premiere on the 14th of April.
But back to our traveling:
Second stop: Bamberg, Germany (9/10 of March)
From the Netherlands, we directly took the train to Johannas’ beautiful hometown- Bamberg. Within a fair for ‚culture & family concerns‘ we were invited to offer different workshops and to perform our piece Begegnungen. I didn’t know at all what to expect from that day. How would it be? Who else would be there and how do we fit there?
It was an intense day: lots of people, faces, questions, new impressions, small talking, selling ourselves, networking, playing on the dance floor, etc. It was definitely interesting for us to get to know this kind of environment…a fair…but if I am honest, is was a bit weird, too 😉 Weird in the sense that I felt a lack of emerging artists and the artistic approach to culture/ cultural activities in general. As a collective we defend the opinion that you don’t need to be childish or too literal or flat if you want to work with children or families. Some other participants seemed like not taking much care about a more creative or artistic idea within their work. I was a bit disappointed about that actually. It would be great to be able to change that in some way in the future and involve more artists there.
But anyways, it was great to feel that we are able to change an ugly, uninspiring classroom during the workshops to a space of creativity and (self-)exploration (what a classroom actually should always be like…and so many times it’s just a dry, uninspiring place. How sad is that?). Besides that, after the performance of our duo we heard the audience talking about what they’ve just seen. Statements like „Wow, I didn’t feel like being in a school building anymore.“ or „They totally changed the atmosphere and took me with them on their journey“ popped up. I felt so grateful and I ask myself right now: Isn’t that what we want to reach as artists, or at least what I want to reach. Being able to change certain places to something completely different and offer a possibility to explore something new/ unseen?
Apart from my wish to integrate more artistic ideas and approaches in our society, there was another important reason to be on that fair: One part of our collective (Johanna Knefelkamp) is going back to Germany soon. So we are already trying to activate connections and contacts there, to let our faces see and say „Hello Bamberg, soon one part of the contweedancecollective will be based here, so keep updated because it’s worth it“ 😉 In the end of May we will be there again to perform Begegnungen during the Kontaktfestival and giving a workshop as well (letting see our faces again and again and again) —> https://kontakt-bamberg.de/
Back to Barcelona (12 of March) we were directly digging into Puntos Juntos again. It’s the hot phase- the last weeks before the premiere. I am getting already excited. It was kind of a rigorous focus- change. NOW: rehearsals…nothing else, we need to focus on that. And I had the feeling that I didn’t really have the time to digest and process everything we experienced in the weeks before, because the following project already waits to be worked on. As I said in my last blog already: I enjoy to be busy and to do lots of things, but I also felt this time that I missed that moment of reflecting and letting the experiences sink on my body sufficiently. It’s a really busy period: bam- bam- bam. From one thing into the other and you need to be able to direct your attention and your focus precisely.
There is always happening one phenomenon to me: In the moments that I have a lot of work, my pathways get in contact with ‚activities‘ to make my week even more full. Not necessarily always more workwork, this time its more about freework. Lately, I got to know many new people, who trigger me in an artistic and dancy or intellectual way (maybe this new people have to do with the spring-vibes here in Barcelona: everyone opens up, leaves the houses, life starts to be more outside). I feel that there is a lot to be explored and I try to put these moments of exploration in the gaps of my working schedule.
Specifically, I had a great meeting during a new Improv-Jam on Mondays. I was already used to go there once in a while and work on my contact improvisation skills, because it was a so called contact- impro- jam before. Now, they changed the concept to an improv-jam. So basically it’s a lot more open and free now, there is more space to explore any kind of movement or performative skills through free improvisation. This specific element of ‚contact‘ can be there but it doesn’t need to pop up. This Jam was a big playground before- now it’s even bigger!!! You dance with someone, make up a story or any kind of relation and at any moment when you feel like it, you look for another connection or someone else is joining the dance you are having. And during this playing around, I improvised with someone I never met before. This dance has blown me away- it was so energizing, pure, honest and inspiring, also challenging. This amazing dancer was not only dancing and sharing his stories with his mind and his body, but with one more element: his wheelchair. It was refreshing and a lot of fun. At the end of this dance I was totally satisfied and happy about this adventure where we were going together. It seems like a new world of possibilities opened up since that day, in every sense and I just feel fulfilled to have discovered that. Because in that same Jam, there is other people who really inspire me and active my creativity in a special way. And out of the blue there is popping up ideas to start up some kind of project together. It’s time for new adventures…and this will be hopefully one of them.
p.s.: probably there already arises a possibility to perform together with these great movers