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.
My work navigates the tension between dance and theatre, thought and action, remembering and forgetting. Scripts are written on our bodies: they contain unfinished histories of ourselves and others. - Meg Stuart
In this workshop, improvisation will be used as a strategy to explore body memory and physical and emotional states. We will investigate the borders between knowing and not knowing, abstraction and intention, image and action. Extending our understanding of movement vocabulary and possibilities, we will travel through energetic worlds, memory spaces and emotional landscapes. We will explore charged single actions to create collective kinetic sculptures. Moving fictions combined with physical work will be shaped into scenarios that transform and shift as we interact with others. In the various improvised scores, we will search for moments of intimacy, transgression and risk. Meg will be joined each afternoon by sound artist and composer Kaffe Matthews.
Moving the archive
“A memory is a lonely, complicated and fleeting place. To revisit it, is to change it, even if preservation is every memory’s purpose.” - Tine Van Aerschot in Are we here yet?
Extracting from the research from her solo Hunter (2014), Meg Stuart’s workshop invites us to investigate our own personal archive of movement in the broadest sense. This can include personal memories from daily life, dances you might have learned, movements and gestures you hardly notice, or fictional selves and experiences as well as cultural and external influences. Extending our understanding of remembrance and its possibilities, we will travel through our memory spaces and emotional landscapes and move between the borders of knowing and not knowing, of remembering and forgetting. Where is the physical memory located in our body? How do we move from a memory and still be present in the here and now? How to articulate trauma and dead zones? As we improvise together, our personal archive evolves and is reshaped into a transpersonal and collective experience, articulating unfinished histories of ourselves and others.
The workshop took place in ROSET, Arnhem, as part of the Festival 'The Great Memory Show' by ArtEZ Studium Generale.
Arkadi Zaides/Moves Without Borders in cooperation with the Goethe-Institute Israel and with the support of the German Foreign Office in the framework of Berlin Dayz.
Together with the Department of Arts and Culture of the City of Munich, every year since 1991 JOINT ADVENTURES has organized TANZWERKSTATT EUROPA – workshops in the fields of contemporary dance. This time Meg Stuart holds the workshop "Borderbodies".
"My work navigates the tension between dance and theatre, thought and action, remembering and forgetting. Scripts are written on our bodies: they contain unfinished histories of ourselves and others." (Meg Stuart)
In this workshop improvisation will be used as a strategy to explore body memory and physical and emotional states. We will investigate the borders between knowing and not knowing, abstraction and intention, image and action. Stretching our understanding of how we can play with others and ourselves on stage, we will move through energetic worlds, memory spaces and emotional landscapes. Moving fictions will be shaped into physical scenarios that transform and shift as we interact with others. Travelling through improvised scores, we will search for moments of intimacy, friction and risk.
Together with Stephanie Maher, Lexa Rosean and their guests, Meg Stuart is teaching and performing the first week of Ponderosa's Witchcamp. The Witchcamp is a 2 weeks research meeting with intensive workshops, rituals and performances for improvisers, performers and artists interested in questions about alchemy, ritual space, clear energetic transgression, the magic of the performance moment and Pagan basics. For more information and subscription, please check Ponderosa's webite.
From June 11 to 15 Meg Stuart teaches a workshop at PONDEROSA's Summerschool 2012 in the P.O.R.C.H. / Alternative Conservatory (A.C.) programme. The Training module is collaboratively created and curated by Stephanie Maher (Ponderosa) & Kathleen Hermesdorf (La Alternativa). Together they combine and channel their forces into an immersive and intensive month. The focus is on the body and contemporary movement forms, as well as the individual co-existing with others and in nature. Co-teachers are Stephanie Maher, Kathleen Hermesdorf, Peter Pleyer, Maria F. Scaroni, Hanna Hegenscheidt. For more information and subscription, please check Ponderosa's webite.
Along with Felipa Martorell, Nelson Guerreiro, Teresa Silva and others Meg Stuart is invited by Forum Dança (Lisbon) to teach in the frame of the PEPCC programme which is an intensive and advance course in international contemporary dance. The programme focusses on contents such as contemporary dance technique, yoga, chi kung, improvisation, composition and creation among other topics.
workshop at eXplore dance festival
National Museum of Contemporary Art (MNAC), Bucharest, Rumanien
“My work navigates the tension between dance and theatre, thought and action, remembering and forgetting. Scripts are written on our bodies: they contain unfinished histories of ourselves and others.” (Meg Stuart)