Blogs The Green Room Galen Treuer

Galen Treuer grew up in Duluth, Minnesota, where he began performing at age eight. After graduating from Oberlin College with high honors in economics, he moved to Minneapolis in 2001 to pursue a dance career. He since has performed with more than 20 companies and choreographers, and presented choreography in several Twin Cities venues. In 2002, he began making theater with Noah Bremer, a collaboration that led to the creation of Live Action Set and an interest in European style clown. He has studied clown with Jon Ferguson, Pierre Byland, Ricardo Puccetti, and others.

Galen has been recognized in the Minnesota and national press for his physical performances. His artistic activities have been supported by an Artist Initiative Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, a Travel Study Grant from the Jerome Foundation, and an Emerging Artists Residency at the New York Mills Art Center.

Photo courtesy the author.

Stories Left to Tell

Last night as the lights dimmed for the beginning of Spalding Gray: Stories Left to Tell, a man in front of me turned around said “Stop kicking my seat!” and abruptly flicked me off.  I was flabbergasted.  Anger and indignation welled up my spine. Then the show began. 90 plus minutes of tales written by […]

Last night as the lights dimmed for the beginning of Spalding Gray: Stories Left to Tell, a man in front of me turned around said “Stop kicking my seat!” and abruptly flicked me off.  I was flabbergasted.  Anger and indignation welled up my spine.

Then the show began.

90 plus minutes of tales written by a genius storyteller.  It was a remembrance.  It was an honor to the spirit of the man.  It had some of the informality of a staged reading.  A few times I found myself staring at the back the head of the man who had flicked me off.  And in the end it also sent waves of emotion up my spine.

I knew Spalding killed himself in 2003.  I knew it was coming.  But when it arrived, told in the words of the man, I found it hard to breath.  My bodied tensed up.  It passed.  I released. Catharsis.  I was surprised to be so moved and forgave the man in front of me.  It wasn’t his fault.  I had been touching his chair with my foot, and he did me a favor.  He primed me for an emotional experience.

I also realized something about Spalding Gray.  He enters my body with his work.  But how?  Rhythm is a big part.  I can only imagine what it was like to see him perform live.  The added physicality would have amplified his genius writing.  I imagine it was transcendent.

Maybe I can imagine a ‘better’ Stories Left to Tell, maybe I lost focus at times, but ultimately this show has changed me.  That’s really what I ask for as an audience member and an artist.  My work will be different.  My storytelling might even improve!

Spalding Gray – Revered and Reincarnate

I’ve read reviews of Spalding Gray: Stories Left To Tell and I’m still not completely sure what to expect.  No, I’m expecting to be surprised. The affection people have for Spalding Gray is almost overwhelming.  I first heard about his work during feedback sessions at Red Eye Collaborations seven years ago.  He seemed to be […]

I’ve read reviews of Spalding Gray: Stories Left To Tell and I’m still not completely sure what to expect.  No, I’m expecting to be surprised.

The affection people have for Spalding Gray is almost overwhelming.  I first heard about his work during feedback sessions at Red Eye Collaborations seven years ago.  He seemed to be a one man institution surrounded by mystery.  Fellow artists told me his performances were extremely simple, usually seated behind a table with a glass of water, and extremely affecting.  He challenged theatrical conventions AND connected with audiences emotionally.   He was amazing.  They said it was such a tragedy when he died.

Eventually I saw some video of him (excerpt from the film of his famous show Swimming to Cambodia).  His physicality is striking:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0iyLOIsyxs&feature=fvw[/youtube]

Gray seemed to be a touch point, an inspiration, a significant person.  The reverence I hear for Spalding Gray reminds me of the way people talked about Pina Bausch before I saw her work.  When I eventually saw her company perform in 2007 it was as if my artistic lineage had been revealed.  I saw my stylistic ancestor.  It was profound and had a purity that has changed the way I look at theater.

I wonder if this show will do something similar.

And I’m really intrigued by the pre-show tour with Kathleen Russo, Gray’s wife and creator of Stories Left to Tell, on Friday the 19th at 6:30.  Looking at art through the eyes of another is interesting.  How fascinating is looking at art through the remembered eyes of a legendary artist?

Heaven: LoFi + Slowcore, part 1

A post show discussion on gchat between Kate Strathmann and Galen Treuer about Heaven. Coffee and a baguette were consumed. 10:48 AM kate: Good morning Galen galen: Good morning Kate 10:49 AM Let me begin by sharing something with you. It is from 1986 and comes up when you search Lo-Fi Dance. 10:50 AM kate: This […]

A post show discussion on gchat between Kate Strathmann and Galen Treuer about Heaven. Coffee and a baguette were consumed.

  • 10:48 AM kate: Good morning Galen
  • galen: Good morning Kate
  • 10:49 AM Let me begin by sharing something with you. It is from 1986 and comes up when you search Lo-Fi Dance.

  • 10:50 AM kate: This is Japanese.
  • and kind of amazing.
  • galen: Note the lights.
  • 10:51 AM kate: yeah, kind of like some of the lights in Heaven
  • galen: The 80′s lights that popped up towards the end?
  • kate: and now we can use the title “when slowcore meets lo-fi”
  • maybe we’re getting ahead of ourselves?
  • galen: Yes we can. Heaven: when slowcore meets lo-fi
  • 10:53 AM kate: I’m not really sure where to begin. I should say that I saw this piece in January at PS 122 in NYC.
  • and you should probably explain Lo-Fi choreography.
  • 10:54 AM galen: Or we could begin with when we first heard about this piece, what 2 years ago?
  • People after the show were talking about how long this piece has been rumbling around in the Twin Cities dance communities consciousness.
  • 10:55 AM kate: A long time; I think it’s great…there aren’t many opportunities for long rumination.
  • galen: There aren’t, but it is also a struggle to do the planning, stay focused, and produce the show.
  • 10:56 AM I felt that with My Father’s Bookshelf and that process was just over a year.
  • kate: however- since I saw the piece in January, it got better.
  • galen: A benefit of touring. I’m very excited for Morgan and crew to have multiple opportunities with this piece. Dance benefits from repetition (often not always)
  • 10:58 AM kate: I agree. And also with the Dance and Music collaboration- this is definitely one of the most successful examples I have ever seen…and I can’t imagine that success given a short development period.
  • but tell me more about LoFi choreography
  • 11:01 AM galen: LoFi Choreography – a style of movement vocabulary employed by some contemporary choreographers notable for its pedestrian derivation, specificity of movement, and technical approach that refuses to be pretty and polished.
  • There is a serious LoFi choreo crew in the Twin Cities.
  • kate: and I think allowing for a breadth of dancer-types and movement.
  • galen: Yes.
  • 11:02 AM kate: One of the things I loved about Heaven was the number of different kinds of dancers, bodies, the gender ambiguity- and the duos
  • 11:03 AM galen: It also seems to come with a focus on conceptual processes to function in the same space – something present in Heaven as well as the many bodies/genders/hair cuts.
  • 11:04 AM kate: Fresh cuts!
  • galen: Fresh and Clean!
  • 11:05 AM kate: (is part of LoFi dance that we always end up talking about the hair?)
  • (is that a Twin Cities thing?)
  • galen: (Yes! or No!)
  • (It’s a specificity of design thing!)
  • 11:06 AM Hair is political
  • kate: yes- and there was a lot of gender ambiguity in this piece
  • and you know how society uses hair all the time to denote gender
  • galen: Chris Schlichting’s hair was very short and conservative.
  • 11:07 AM kate: except that he kind of had hipster bangs or something…
  • galen: Elliott’s was amazing. I watched it a lot. I know others who did too.
  • 11:08 AM kate: There was that gorgeous moment when Elliott Durko Lynch and Karen Sherman hit the back wall, and Elliott’s hair splayed out on the wall. I loved that.
  • 11:09 AM galen: I loved the back wall. I was surprised by how hard it was. It looked soft and then BANG.
  • 11:10 AM There was a very definite sense of a White Box.
  • kate: the ripples were really striking though.
  • but not a solid box- there was a lot of movement and fluidity I felt.
  • 11:11 AM galen: Yes it was fluid but viscous.
  • kate: viscous?
  • 11:12 AM galen: It kind of flowed over me.
  • kate: the whole piece?
  • or the set?
  • galen: The aesthetic definitely.
  • 11:13 AM But it was also contained. It flowed but was in the space of the stage. I was an observer, a voyeur even.
  • I felt this voyeurism that I’ve felt in churches as a non-believer.
  • 11:14 AM kate: I was sitting in the first few rows, and felt really immersed at moments- it felt more intimate to me. But I agree with what you’re saying about churches and outsiders. Like you’re watching all this ritual and belief, but it’s a bit opaque.
  • But then I think the music is really significant.
  • 11:15 AM because often I have had the experience where music brings me in, moves me, breaks down the voyeur wall when I feel like an outsider
  • 11:16 AM And when Allan first was singing in the “Bandage section” I got shivers.
  • galen: I was sitting further back (row M) and felt outside and living in judgement. But the music pulled me in.
  • kate: I mean the “Inside your body” singing part.
  • 11:17 AM galen: Before that section when they all faced us singing and lowering their arms I was totally IN. It was a ritual that addressed me directly.
  • I could have sat in that silence for 10 mintues.
  • 11:20 AM kate: I think for me that shifted the piece- where I started to really have an emotional reaction. I felt very emotional both times I’ve seen it in the end- which also surprised me because it felt sort of distant in the beginning.
  • galen: You saw in at PS122 in January?
  • 11:21 AM kate: Yes.
  • And they didn’t have the full-on white set
  • and that space is really small and intimate
  • galen: I’d like to have seen it in a more intimate space, but the full on set seemed essential to me.
  • 11:22 AM It reinforced the costumes and the lighting – shades of white with texture (except the 80′s lights that popped up for a few minutes).
  • kate: I agree. I’m interested though: I’ve seen it really close-up both times, and it felt intimate to me…but I don’t feel like I got the “big picture” that you might have experienced.
  • I really didn’t like those eighties lights.
  • 11:23 AM I found them jarring.
  • and they pulled me out of the piece
  • galen: I really liked them at first then started thinking of this light show I saw at Sea World when I was 8.
  • kate: Exactly- pulled you away
  • galen: So I agree.
  • But Big Picture.
  • 11:24 AM I enjoyed my focus during the piece. I felt present with it for the most part. The clarity of the scenes was exquisite.
  • 11:25 AM During some of the transitions I would drop out though.
  • 11:26 AM kate: And the detail- there was exquisite detail…in the sounds, the set, the costumes. I loved that Mimi Parker did needle point for part of the piece.
  • galen: I loved the detail – including the felt invitation cards Morgan handed out for the show.
  • 11:27 AM Little white felt business cards with “heaven” embroidered on them.
  • kate: I’m going to keep mine.
  • in a memory box.
  • galen: Who are you Joseph Cornell?
  • 11:28 AM me: Anyway…
  • galen: (maybe we should cut that exchange)
  • kate: What about the movement and the dancers?
  • 11:29 AM galen: Well the movement was LoFi, really seemed to typify. It felt familiar but different from what I am used to from Ms. Thorson.
  • A little more contained.
  • Less virtuosity.
  • The pairing were very interesting.
  • 11:30 AM kate: I loved watching both Max and Justin together, and then Karen and Elliott together.
  • 11:31 AM galen: Yes I agree. I also liked the solos that were created for Hannah and Elliott (when he sang into the light).
  • kate: (I loved that solo)
  • galen: The constant pairing allowed the solos to pop out – isolation in a group.
  • kate: But I think the juxtopositions really made me pay attention to bodies
  • Corporeality
  • 11:32 AM So much of this piece is about ethereal concepts…intangibles.
  • but the pairings and much of the movement felt earthbound.
  • galen: Last night after the show, someone talked to me about how Morgan’s movement is extreme in its sensuality.
  • 11:33 AM The pairs led me to compare bodies.
  • kate: Karen has so much tightly wound energy- and Elliott seems so sensual
  • I had a lot of thoughts about passion, and containing passion
  • 11:34 AM galen: Elliott looked a little wild at times.
  • Like making out?
  • Physical passion?
  • Religious passion?
  • 11:36 AM kate: well both- I think a lot of religious structures are about containing and directing passion…and there are a lot of religions that take passion and channel it into moments of religious ecstasy- speaking in tongues, or whirling dervishes, etc…
  • Jessica had a solo at the end that seemed to be about ecstasy and losing oneself in a fervor.
  • 11:39 AM galen: Yes. I saw that. Hannah’s twitching brought me there too.
  • kate: Oh! now you have to go to rehearsal and I have to go to yoga…but there’s so much to say.  So we’ll have to chat more later…there’s so much, this is good- having too much to talk about art.

Out There 2010!

I don’t when I saw my first Out There performance, but I know that I’ve been attending regularly for the past five years – since seeing Cynthia Hopkins and a bunch of musicians from New York stunned me with a beautiful song made by ripping paper.  As an artist making “contemporary” theater and dance, Out […]

I don’t when I saw my first Out There performance, but I know that I’ve been attending regularly for the past five years – since seeing Cynthia Hopkins and a bunch of musicians from New York stunned me with a beautiful song made by ripping paper.  As an artist making “contemporary” theater and dance, Out There is great.  It brings the best of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, TBA,  and the NYC downtown theater scene to the Twin Cities.  I get to place my work in direct comparison to their work.  It’s humbling and inspiring.

But I really attend Out There as an audience member.  And as an audience member, I’ve started playing a game with the series called “What’s My Theme?”  In 2006, the theme was explicitly Performance Meets Moving Image – every piece had live performance and filmed performance.  Since then I’ve made up my own.

This year, for Out There 2010 my pre-show theme is QUATRO: four audiences experience perspective. The four pieces come from different types of performers, are vastly different experiences designed to raise questions within the audience.

Rimini Protokoll’s Call Cutta in a Box is clearly this.  It is calling a person in India from the IDS tower.  I will be doing this later today.  It is two new experiences – calling India and being in the IDS tower.  It raises questions about my role as an American in a global economy – a play by Germans with Indian call agent actors presented in an American tower of commerce.  NOT in a theater, it is an apt way to start the series (or end it actually it runs until January 31st).

Radiohole’s new work, opening on January 14th, looks like what first made me an Out There regular – an avant-guard New York troupe raises questions about America, being American, and what the hell is happening with our collective culture.  Funny, self aware, theatrically innovative, made to entertain and challenge assumptions.  A solid perspective – predictably unpredictable (to be a bit trite and hopeful for surprise).

Following the New Yorkers’ eclectic American pop History is a piece by an artist of color that looks like it will be a smooth multi-media performance addressing race and perceptions between different Americas through a specific experience. Roger Guenveur Smith’s Watts Towers Project is a solo work by a proven artist.  Solos are difficult to do, and when done well are stunning.  I’m looking forward to this perspective.

The series closes out with a visual extravaganza, Hotel Modern’s The Great War.  The Dutch company takes perspective as its subject, making a live film about World War I on stage with a miniature set constructed from every day objects.  I like this press quote “It seems so real. This is the only way to make the unimaginable bearable.”  My imagination is piqued!

This is my preliminary theme.  Now I get to go out see if four shows can be folded into Audiences Experience Perspective.

I also get to do play the fun game of picking favorites.  What’s yours?

‘Walworth Farce’ is affecting

First off, The Walworth Farce is a great piece of theater.  What I experienced was specific, surprising, complex, and affecting.  For at least two hours after I left the theater I was on edge, slightly jumpy and uncomfortable, even with objects I found near me.  I’ve been trying to understand what it is in the […]

Walworth_Farce_01_PPFirst off, The Walworth Farce is a great piece of theater.  What I experienced was specific, surprising, complex, and affecting.  For at least two hours after I left the theater I was on edge, slightly jumpy and uncomfortable, even with objects I found near me.  I’ve been trying to understand what it is in the show that did this to me.  During the performance I laughed and watched.  It was a typical theater experience.  The difference I think was in the physicality of the actors.  I was particularly taken with Tadhg Murphy’s Sean.  But they all moved extremely well, rapidly shifting positions/characters/physicalities.  Following the transitions took a lot of attention: mental and physical.  (Neuroscientists have demonstrated that when watching a person do a movement “mirror neurons” fire in the brain of the observer as if he/she were actually moving.)  When the play ended I felt like my body had been through the wringer.  I was stimulated from the effort of watching and exhausted.

Secondly, The Walworth Farce is an Irish piece of theater.  I’ve seen movies and read books about the plight of the Irish under the oppressive thumb of the English.  The Walworth  Farce advanced this story of colonization.  The way Dennis’ sons struggle underneath him and become him is about learning their Irish heritage, but they learn it in a Council Flat in England.  The sons are trapped in a tiny apartment in a country that is not their own without any real knowledge of Ireland.  It’s a transcultural story.

The Irish have been going to England to make their fortune for over a hundred years.  It’s an old story and it’s still happening today.  More than ever people are traveling to rich world cities, leaving their youth, home and family to make money in a foreign culture.   This isn’t always pretty.  It reveals and reinforces unsavory power dynamics – in families and in society.  For the past day, I’ve been wondering about metaphors in The Walworth Farce.  I keep coming back to the metaphor of the transcultural experience.  It’s is surprising.  We certainly have these problems in America.  Look at the recent news surrounding the Somali population here in Minnesota.

I felt and enjoyed the skill of The Walworth Farce’s actors, director, and designers.  For me, what makes the play great is that I also felt the consequence in the play Edna Walsh wrote.

The Walworth Farce: “a blend of the hilarious and horrifying”

Next week we’ll be treated to The Walworth Farce by Ireland’s Druid Theater. Minneapolis is on the front end of a 209-performance, 22-city, 6-country tour of the world of a new play that is apparently “a blend of the hilarious and horrifying.” It has received all kinds of great press and maybe more importantly played […]

Next week we’ll be treated to The Walworth Farce by Ireland’s Druid Theater. Minneapolis is on the front end of a 209-performance, 22-city, 6-country tour of the world of a new play that is apparently “a blend of the hilarious and horrifying.” It has received all kinds of great press and maybe more importantly played to sold out houses since coming onto the international scene at the 2007 Edinburgh Festival.

I’m excited to see this show for a number of reasons, but I’m also intrigued to see a what a new play that has been broadly successful. It’s no secret that live performance is having a little trouble competing in a super-saturated entertainment market and a troubled economy.

Why am I excited? For starters last spring the Walker presented three fantastic British performances that appeared at the 2007 Edinburgh Fringe Festival: England, Ape, and Story of a Rabbit. I missed England and was chastised for it by my friends. Ape and Story of a Rabbit were delightfully funny as an audience member and challenging as an artist. They challenged me to continue pushing for humanity and clarity of communication even as my work pushes against theatrical assumptions.

Another reason I’m excited is because we have a thriving theater community in the Twin Cities that is consistently producing funny, human, challenging, outlandish work: The Bedlam, Jon Ferguson Theater, Sandbox, Four Humors, Three Stix, Walking Shadow, Red Eye Collaborations, and even my own Live Action Set. Seeing a new play in the same tradition tour the world is inspiring and gives international context for our work. A particularly successful play like this might also help audiences bridge the gap between the Guthrie and the Bedlam.

So what will The Walworth Farce be? It has more institutional backing than any of its British predecessors (Druid Theatre is an established institution in Galway, Farce was presented by the National Theatre in London and by Traverse Theatre – one of the best venues in Edinburgh), and from this youtube clip it looks more like British TV than the others:[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2huVAv_LayY&feature=channel[/youtube]

As we roll unstoppably towards the impending winter, I’m ready to see something funny and human, maybe a little ridiculous. Are you? If not, check out the Druid website. They make a pretty good case for why The Walworth Farce is special:

http://www.druid.ie/productions/the-walworth-farce-2009

Or if you’re wanting a review, try the NY Times:

http://theater2.nytimes.com/2008/04/19/theater/reviews/19walw.html

Raimund Hoghe – one more performance

Last night I saw Bolero Variations by Raimund Hoghe.  It was surprising and personal and grateful.  I entered the performance not knowing what to expect but with hopes for something unique and special.  What unraveled in the next two hours was unexpectedly stunning – extremely detailed simple often slow repeated movements would suddenly subvert my […]

Last night I saw Bolero Variations by Raimund Hoghe.  It was surprising and personal and grateful.  I entered the performance not knowing what to expect but with hopes for something unique and special.  What unraveled in the next two hours was unexpectedly stunning – extremely detailed simple often slow repeated movements would suddenly subvert my expectations and make me gasp.  It was like Hoghe and his dancers drew out a continuous line that started before I came into the theater, periodically splintered off into me, then followed them off stage.  This line probably has something to do with Hoghe’s artistic integrity – the piece was artistically “unified, unimpaired, and sound in construction” to quote the dictionary definition of integrity.

This morning, I can’t pin down the meaning of the piece but I know that in a year when I think back on it will mean something very important.  Important to me as an artist, more importantly to meas a person.  It’s not a performance to forget.

Leading up to the show a number of people have asked me what a dramaturge is.  It is a flexible term generally referring to the individual in the theatrical creative process who does research into the history and context of a piece, often with an eye on interconnected themes and overarching quality of the production.  It’s clear to me now that Raimund Hoghe is a choreographer who privileges overarching quality and interconnected meaning in his dance.   He values the ritual of the moving body, “Dance is not to be wasted for it is a rare and precious gift.”

When you see it (and if you can please do) enjoy the themes.  I couple of things I watched throughout the piece:

  • Black on Black and White on Black and Colors in Black
  • Folds in fabric and bodies
  • Isolated personal journeys
  • Circles and cycles
  • Appearing and disappearing

The piece was also unexpectedly political.  You’ll understand why if you see it.

Raimund Hoghe – ‘Bolero Variations’

On September 18th and 19th  the Walker kicks off its performing arts season with something special: the opportunity to experience a direct line to the origins of Tanztheater (Dance Theater) in choreographer Raimund Hoghe. A few things that peak my interest in Bolero Variations: Hoghe was Pina Bausch‘s dramaturge in the 1980′s when she became […]

On September 18th and 19th  the Walker kicks off its performing arts season with something special: the opportunity to experience a direct line to the origins of Tanztheater (Dance Theater) in choreographer Raimund Hoghe.

A few things that peak my interest in Bolero Variations:

  • Hoghe was Pina Bausch‘s dramaturge in the 1980′s when she became arguably the most influencial choreographer in Europe, maybe the world.
  • Dramaturgy is at the heart of his choreography.  He says he finishes dramaturgy then rehearses once or twice before performing. (The closest local comparison might be MadKingThomas).  What is dance dramaturgy?
  • Hoghe’s irregular dance body (hump and rickets) AND this quote “His intelligence is more disturbing than his ugliness.” - Tiago Costa.
  • Hoghe’s work is entertaining for a three year old.
  • His dancers are also: a jock, not at all a jock, a martial artist, and a doctor.
  • Finally, in everything I have read Hoghe appears appreciative, inquisitive, and humble.

Also, this work in the McGuire seems perfect: a very formal space where the audience can get close to the performers.  Personally I’ll be in the front row trying to get on top of a work described as minimalist, ritualized, expressive, precise, intelligent, fascinating, repulsive, boring, inspiring and always extraordinarily dramaturged.

Check out these Hoghe links:

An Interview

Some Background

His Site

Choreographers’ Evening – Dances You Might Remember

Choreographers’ Evening, a showcase of local choreography that began in 1971, is happening this year on November 29th.  Two shows at 7:00 and 9:30 pm on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, it’s regular slot for the past few years.  That’s not where it started, and it’s only this years incarnation of a forum that’s served the […]

Choreographers’ Evening, a showcase of local choreography that began in 1971, is happening this year on November 29th.  Two shows at 7:00 and 9:30 pm on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, it’s regular slot for the past few years.  That’s not where it started, and it’s only this years incarnation of a forum that’s served the Minnesota dance community for over 35 years.

Every Choreographers’ Evening is curated, and this year Sally Rousse chose 13 choreographers from over 60 that applied.  I’m one of those 13, feeling lucky to get to present my work at the Walker next Saturday.   Actually I’m presenting the work of 10 other choreographers from past evenings.  “Dances You Might Remember” is a piece of archival recovery and community based contemporary art.  That is a complicated way of saying that I have collected and watched videos of past choreographer’s evenings and taken 30 seconds of dance material from 10 different dances.  My dancers have each learned one 30 second sequence and will be looping that sequence for 15 minutes in the lobbies and public spaces of the Walker before the stage show begins in the McGuire.

You want to see this work, so make sure you show up 20 minutes early and don’t immediately grab your seat.  Also, four of the Walker’s amazing tour guides will be taking audience members through the piece describing details and discussing the development of the Walker’s architecture and programing. Did you know that the Walker created the performing arts program in 1970 just one year before choreographer’s evening was started?  True!

It’s been a trip doing the research for this piece.  Besides watching videos I’ve had conversations with Judith Brin Ingber (the impetuous behind the first CE and it’s first curator), Wendy Morris, Tom Kanthak, Tom Carlson, Laurie Van Wieren (who will be performing an excerpt of a piece by one of the original 1971 choreographers on Saturday), and more.  Every conversation brings me closer into this community.   It’s fantastic.

Final Thoughts and Tangents - Last night I was talking with one of the choreographers about their piece.  They told me they were surprised I had seen video of their piece before getting their permission to use it.  This reminded me of an issue I was very interested in digging at when I began Dances You Might Remember.  Since dance is fundamentally ephemeral, the documentation of it is incomplete and filled with informational holes.  I think there is also a sense of time in dance that the present is the only real incarnation.  Because of this watching video of my own past work is a little shocking and a little invasive.  Similarly video raises issues of ownership and control.  I have gotten the permission from the choreographers whose movement I’ve stolen/appropriated/assumed, but in many instances I didn’t have to do that.  Their material is out in the world.  I could steal it.  But what is the point in that?  Is it really even valuable?  If I reacreate it off of the video is it really theirs?  How much do I have to recreate before I begin to impinge on their ownership rights?  Western choreographers have been directly lifting/using/taking inspiration from other people’s movement as a standard technique for a long long time.

Question: What is the function of copyright in an ownership society?  Is it to allow creators to take risk and make money?  Is it a protection for personal expression?  I’m not sure but there is certainly a better system than the one set out by Congress and the US court system.  Take a look at: creativecommons.org

Thanks for reading.  See the show and talk to me afterwards.  If you want to document my piece feel free.  Cameras are everywhere so let’s get used to using them.  I claim ownership of my art and my concepts.

Look at Claude, Look at Tino

Interestingly I find myself agreeing with Claude’s strangle hold on information about this performance. The enigma of the experience was essential for me. The clarity and the music were also essential. It felt like a simple show. Not simple to execute but simply stated. If you really need to know what happens, there are spoiler […]

Interestingly I find myself agreeing with Claude’s strangle hold on information about this performance. The enigma of the experience was essential for me. The clarity and the music were also essential. It felt like a simple show. Not simple to execute but simply stated.

If you really need to know what happens, there are spoiler reviews out there:

www.brooklynrail.org/2006/12/dance/claude-wamplers-strike

I don’t recommend reading it. Maybe afterwards. Maybe not. I bet you’ll get it on the night and like it or not.

What you should read is this blog entry. For me, it is related to Claude’s piece last night (plus I’ve really been enjoying Tino Sehgal’s pieces):

blogs.walkerart.org/visualarts/2007/12/20/tino-sehgal-doesnt-sense/

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