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Try to describe dance and choreography in words or text and you are bound for a challenge. To catch the essence of bodily movement and the artistic process and thought behind a dance performance is difficult. What you see is what you get, so to speak. Dance is best felt and experienced when it happens, it’s a direct contact between performer and audience. It’s therefore often difficult to try to describe dance experiences in project plans and evaluation documents.
In the newly published book 100 Exercises for a Choreographer and Other Survivors, a way around this difficulty is somehow found. You not only get practical exercises to try on your own, but each of these exercises quite informally also catches the artistic thought and process in choreography. Reading them, each ending with the sincere request ”Do it.”, exposes the experiments of action that can be translated into movements and dance. Quite shrewd, actually.
Perhaps something for policy- and decisionmakers? Trying these small experiments might raise your awareness and understanding of the artistic process. And it’s not complicated. Just do it.
Efva Lilja, choreographer, Professor of Choreography, and Vice-Chancellor at DOCH, the University of Dance and Circus in Stockholm, and author behind this, has just published two books with the aim to in a practical and poetic way offer strategies for active presence and bodily knowledge in your daily life.
The two books: ”100 Exercises for a Choreographer and Other Survivors” (both in Swedish and English) and ”Förstår du vad jag inte säger? Om dans som samhällsomstörtande kärleksförklaring” (”Do you understand what I am not saying? Dance as a subversive declaration of love” – in my translation) can be found here. Read also a related post on an editor’s view on quality and creativity here.