Feedback for 1.  „Critical Endeavour“     21.7.-11.8.08

Nathalie Nad-Abonji

I feel very honoured to be part of the first generation of “Critical Endeavour”.

A marvelous opportunity to explore new paths for myself and for the festival. It was a huge challenge (and still is in this moment)  to write and dispute in English. This challenge helped me to search new approaches to the art of performance and dance.At the same time the constant struggle with vocabulary left me sometimes very unsatisfied.

In this sense the cooperation with “der Standard” was a relief to me, although I had never written a preview before and never had heard of ”United Sorry”. When we discussed the task “der Standard” had given to us, I shared the objections of my colleagues regarding the strict frame of the commission. What a surprise to discover joy in fulfilling the task! For me it was helpful to experience writing a preview based on press material, doing a skype interview and having seen only a dvd of their work. I didn’t manage to make a balancing act out of this commission. In terms of  serving the purpose on the one hand and  questioning the given circumstances on the other one.

I’m very grateful for the chance of meeting all these fabulous coaches with their very different access to the art form. All of them are incredibly passionate about their profession. Each one transmitted a huge amount of knowledge to us. I would have loved to spend more time with Gia Kourlas, as she has much more to give than she was able to in the short time. At the end of the first week I didn’t have enough concentration left over for the high energy level of Pieter T’Jonck. Which I regret very much.

I think that the order of the coaches (which of course depends on their personal schedule) was too thight. There wasn’t enough space between them to apply the knowledge that they had shared with us. My proposal for the following C.E. would be to link the units of the different coaches better to each other, in order to give the three weeks a more coherent structure.

As I mentioned on  Monday the 11th of August , when you had your meeting, I would have liked to know more about Franz Anton Cramers approach to writing and performance. He was the most important reference person of this project and did a fantastic job. As he was the only coach who was attending the entire three weeks  with us and therefore could see the development of C.E. in a broader context, I would have liked him to have more space to expose his thoughts to us.

Last but not least, I missed the emphasis on analysing movement language, which for me can be a specific signature of a choreographer or performer. I can see that in the context of the curated pieces movement wasn’t always a determining element. Still, I would like to have the appropriate tools (one of them would be to find proper and understandable terms to describe movements of a human body) to be able to write and dispute about it. Especially because we, the participants, were coming from such different professional backgrounds. I see a necessity to insist not only on a dramaturgical and structural knowledge for dance writers but to focus on movement analysis in order to make a valuable criteria out of it.

The public appereances of C.E., as well as the other public talks, were very succsseful in my opinion. Concerning our project it was essential to face artists, local dance writers and all the other people that attended the talks. It completed my view on our assignement during this festival. A well used chance for dialog with the art makers. I think the talks could be a source for smaller projects that might happen hand in hand with C.E.

I wasn’t aware of the questions that could arise out of the responsibility of being a jury member. All of us realized pretty fast that our different backgrounds (cultural, social, approach to the life, art and so on) could be crucial for some of the decisions taken.

I wish we would have had the time to enlarge about this fact and to analyse it’s forces on our way of thinking.

Jury work has something very performative to me, similar to what is happening on stage. It is partly about self presentation, to master a foreign language, to be quick at repartee and a lot about finding a common denominator.

This is something I will keep in mind.

I’m truly grateful to have had the fortune to learn all of that and much more in such a protected, well organized and serious environment.

I would like to thank all of you that made this important time in Vienna possible.

Thank you very much for everything!

Best wishes,


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