Learning to (re)use dance: necessity versus waste
Liz Kinoshita is a Canadian artist based in Brussels. After ‘VOLCANO’, a fresh and frantic experience where self-composed songs and dances inspired from the “musical” genre from the 30’s 40’s and 50’s waved for a universe of velocity, hectic lives and globetrotting lifestyles of today, ‘You can’t take it with you’ proposes a radical counter-experience of reduction: taking out the unnecessary and learn to live with less.
The [DNA]Departures and Arrivals network, a collaboration between several European institutions in the field of contemporary dance made possible by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union, has been supporting Liz Kinoshita as a Focus Artist since the beginning of 2016, promoting the engagement of other dance houses and partners to present and support her work over a period of two years. Both works ‘VOLCANO’ and now ‘You can’t take it with you’ are co-produced and presented by Vooruit through this context of [DNA] network, promoting a close dialogue with the artist and other [DNA] partners like MDT in Stockholm/Sweden and PACT in Zollverein/Germany. The collaboration between these institutions aims for tailored forms of support to this artist.
‘You can’t take it with you’, which will premiere in November 2017 in Vooruit, involves a group of dancers (Justin F. Kennedy and Clinton Stringer, who were already dancing in ‘VOLCANO’, and Bryana Fritz). The first part of the creation process will happen in a space in Rosazza, Italy, in the space of Roberta Mosca, a space known by the organisation of “primitive skills” workshops, which are tools to survive in extreme harsh conditions. Another important aspect of the research is to learn more about garbage or how, historically, materials like paper were used and reused over and over again, demanding a finer intelligence to work around the lack of high-productive technology. “Having done a little bit of research in the history of garbage, it is fascinating to see how we use to deal with gleaning materials in the past, the importance of scavengers and other recycling processes”, says Liz on a Skype interview with us.
This specific interest of the artist in ecology, necessity and waste, is open to transform the work and the daily practice of rehearsals. Nevertheless, the resonance between thematic discursive points and the practice of dance is not only “referential”, and one can see this in the expressed desire for a piece where improvisation is guaranteed and taken care. “I am interested in how do you transform materials. In my personal history, having worked with Thomas Hauert in ‘ZOO’ for 10 years, which is fundamentally improvised, and with other people with absolutely set material, or with Tino Sehgal who proposes something in between, I really had the opportunity to reflect on the optimal balance between the set and the improvised. And I love when things fell more electric.”
Improvisation was already a desire in ‘VOLCANO’ even if the piece is quite set and there were only few moments open for improvised material. But now this wish comes combined with a reflection about political agency, specially after the North American election, and a certain need to stimulate a “radical empathy” with the audience (which was the title of a recent project with students in Danish National School of Performing Arts). Furthermore, it is interesting to point out that the use, reuse and recycling of materials can play an important part on the physical research. When we talk about improvisation, specially if we consider it a plateau of practices that were historically charged with unprecedented political radicalism (ie. American postmodern dance), the connection between dance, ecology and politics becomes more evident. Thus, Liz Kinoshita ends up joining these apparent separate worlds: a certain sense of learning to live with less in her own field of dance, a certain appetite for ecology and its specific and concrete practices in politics.
The intersection between worlds meets the need for a dance entailed in the “shared bio- and necropolitical” system, a claim that André Lepecki makes in the introduction to his most recent book “Singularities - dance in the age of performance” (2016): “So, the question then becomes, for contemporary dance and performance: what are the conditions of the situation we find ourselves in today, in the extremely expanded West, and its even more expanded warzones, making art, choreographing, dancing, writing books, creating work, teaching and learning and gathering and fighting and despairing and studying the situation and then returning for more fighting and more despairing, more working and more art making, and more theory and more love making, and usually more death and more sadness than joy?”.
One can say that ‘You can’t take it with you’ is a step backwards in a literal sense: to promote deceleration, to cultivate an ecological perspective of the dance, to scavenge and learn to live with waste. Nothing should be left behind.
[DNA] is een initiatief van het Brusselse PARTS, en is actief van oktober 2014 tot september 2018.
text: Rita Natálio - image © Bokan