Dansbar at Dansbyrån Studio
Photographer: Jonas Frid

Run-up questions at Dansbaren April 2009

As part of the preparation for Choreosound 09 we wanted to get the discussions going on related issues. Therefore we arranged a run-up, inviting experienced people as a panel, and opening up for the general audience. It took place on April 2, 2009 at the Dansbyrån Studio in Gothenburg. The evening started with a live performance, an excerpt from the improvisational piece Dance and Bass with Anna Westberg, dance, and Nina de Heney, bass. Then we moved on to a panel discussion, in which the audience also engaged.

The panel:
Marika Hedemyr - choreographer and moderator of the evening
Johannes Öhman - ballet director of the Gothenburg Ballet
Paul Bothén – composer, sound artist & music producer
Anna Westberg – dancer
Nina de Heney – musician

The panel prepared by reviewing a number of questions to reflect upon. The evening explored these issues, and there was an intense dialogue and discussion going on. I will not sum up everything said, but instead give you the questions we worked from:

Which role/function/importance does music play in your creation process as a dancer / choreographer?

What has it meant to you as a composer/musician to work with dance?

What kind of collaboration is taking place between composers and choreographers, how does it work? Concrete examples? How adaptable are you in a collaboration? What do you long for?

What kind of relationship does dance and music have to each other in a performance? Are any  aspects subordinate or overriding? Where is the focus of a performance?

Which working methods have you used when collaborating as choreographer – composer? For example:

  • A mix of improvised and set material.
  • Workshop format where you work separately, then show each other and relate to the creation
  • Formalised working methods, manifesto or score that both choreographer and composer uses. For example working individually 1 hour per day for five days, only allowed to use two components.
  • More examples of methods?

What music is easier or harder to work with as a choreographer? Can you see some commonalities in the music that choreographers and dancers are choosing to work with? What makes some music easy, and others difficult to work with?

Is there a conflict between the personal artistic intent and the incorporation of it into the whole of a performance?

Which importance does the economy have in choosing how to allocate resources and determine the number of dancers and/or musicians? A lack of money for the number of dancers and musicians you want - how often is it true? How has it affected the quality, standards and aesthetics?

How do the practicalities regarding playability influence touring? Often a tour version of the piece is created with recorded music, even when the original was with live music. An artistic or practical choice?

Today you can work live with laptops, mixing recorded music with acoustic, set material with improvised materials. (Previously, the music was either live or recorded.) Is the laptop today only one in the band of possible instruments? Why choose to play that instrument?

What happens in the field of dance - music? What is contemporary and cutting edge, what trends have you seen?

I hope these questions will inspire you to get into new discussions with new people.

Marika Hedemyr, May 2009

Marika Hedemyr, choreographer educated  at Laban Centre, London (1999). She creates dance theatre for stages and public locations. She finds inspiration in pedestrian movements, non verbal communication and challenges the borders as well as places for dance performances. She is often engaged in international projects on artistic practice.