Preparing for Dance Concert at Dansbyrån Studio
Photographer: Crowd Company

Creating Space for Miracles

The driving force for Project Manager Anna Tarschys is to create space for miracles. What makes a project successful and what do project leaders need to focus on to achieve this objective?

And then suddenly it was all there. The air is full of eager expectation, chatter and laughter of different varieties and in different languages. And then: Moments of red heat that pass imperceptibly into blue, to suddenly vibrate with either anger or love. Movements that billow up in the room until a sustained tone takes over. I shiver with delight.
Where is the real challenge in managing an international project on composition for contemporary dance? Gathering a bunch of really exciting choreographers, musicians, dancers and composers? Finding a number of great studios to work in? Or perhaps the fascination lies in the details?

To me, the answer lies in all these aspects - and can probably be summed up as creating space for creativity. Chaos generates opportunity and therefore breeds creativity, they say. And I agree. But this doesn’t apply if the framework of the artistic activities is too chaotic, though. In order to be creative with people you don’t know, certain basic needs have to be fulfilled; you need a comfortable bed, good food, and someone to ask if you can’t find your way to the studio.

This is often enough. But we wanted more. There was a clear division of responsibility between the Artistic Director, Marika Hedemyr, and myself. And happily, we have a great deal of faith in each other. This enabled me to put my energy into issues like contracts and schedules, facilities and staff, while Marika could focus on raising the artistic level of the project. Lecturers and mentors were invited, core issues were formulated and the dream of a truly immersive lab on composition came one step closer to reality every day. We had, for once, the capacity to follow through on our ideas.

With security comes courage. The magic that occurs when two, three, or thirty people who have never met before suddenly discover a new language, a new colour, a new logic… this was something that a project manager like myself could never control, or even predict. But by ensuring that artistic ideals prevail, by carefully creating the best conditions for the working atmosphere, you increase the probability of a miracle.

Anna Tarschys, April 2010

Anna Tarschys is a project manager with extensive experience in the performing arts field, for instance at the Museum of World Cultures, at the Göteborg Dance and Theatre Festival and at the Göteborg Film Festival. She has also worked as assistant director in several productions at the Gothenburg City Theatre.