When did you start teaching?
My first teaching was as a dancer for SNDO students, a technique class. Then my first workshop was at movement research, where I taught choreographic anarchy. I had all the students write their personal manifestos in choreography to question their own assumptions and preconceived ideas about making dance. I continued to teach improvisation or choreography in intensive workshop settings at Impulstanz Vienna, Forum Danca Lisbon, PARTS Brussels etc.
Which aspects of dance do you consider important to be taught?
All aspects from technique to theory to production. I think I am particularly good and interested in teaching improvisation, creating score tasks and situations for the dancer to discover their own movement language, interests, capabilities and choices. Improvisation is used as a strategy to explore body memory and physical and emotional states. There are workshops, for instance, that concentrate on how images unconsciously affect the way we move. The images used come from existing sources mixed with images we create for ourselves and images we have for our own body. Integrating these images in the work, the dancer can explore how they expand his or her imagination and physical range. With these entrances for improvisation, strategies could be discussed for their development into choreographic ideas.
How could an artist pass on his or her knowledge?
Teaching repertory is one option but I prefer to teach the particular questions behind each choreographic work, what I am interested in at the moment, what I am investigating currently, to share these questions and allow the students to discover the work for themselves without copying the choreographic material from the repertory.
What methods are you using?
I just realized when I did the book “Are we here yet?” with Jeroen Peeters that I actually had developed a whole series of exercises that I haven’t even realized they are exercises, a method that I developed during workshops and rehearsals. They are most image-based and they are for expanding people’s imaginary sphere and ways of thinking about their own body or the space. I think it is related to this fictional world primarily. Some are more technical like there is an exercise called “Ghosting yourself” where you start movements that are very intense and physical, then you keep the action but you just have the trace of emotions and situations. It is an attempt to become empty, absent, detached, a body becoming mere surface. So I give imagery scores to explore and I dance with the students knowing that physical transmission is an important one.
What do you experience while teaching new generations of dancers?
They are comfortable to improvise and open for movement processes, practices and scores and looking for their own movement language. They principally don’t need a single ideology, don’t need steps, they are thinking and curious. They consider their informed dancing bodies are meeting the work and see the workshops as a sharing of knowledge.