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Dorothea Rust

I returned home full of energy from these ten days rich in impressions and experiences. I would say it’s because of the ATTENTIVENESS I experienced in many ways in Budapest – I saw it in us working together, in the places we visited, in the organizing of Workshop Foundation and the Budapest Contemporary Dance Academy. It’s still with me, I am attentive in a different way to every day life, it has a far-reaching effect on my teaching, performing, organizing, general condition and communicating.

Each aspect of the following steps we took in TTT may be responsible for my experience and could be seen as important ingredients for further TTT conferences and for dance formation:

 

Coming together and forming a body of people with a common interest

Sharing time together, moving and creating an environment of experiencing oneself in relation to a context and reflecting on it

 

Framework and Support

Responsibility for the richness/quality of this TTT event came from the well functioning framework and the support we got from Workshop Foundation and the fact that we didn’t get much in the way of guidelines from them - they told us that we were to do it mostly for ourselves – this was a far sighted permission. We could commit ourselves completely to our process.

 

Moving, improvising and verbalizing together

Moving together creates distinct spaces. It allows us to bridge verbalizing/talking with the body-mind. I experience verbal and nonverbal as not separated, movement and language intertwined. It is important to create frames to allow the two to merge. We did that on and off.

 

Experiencing distinct approaches and personalities

Our approaches are diverse, but have in common that we recognize the individual, affirming its own ways of experiencing and learning (movement) in time and space. We gave open classes to each other and to the dance community in different venues of Budapest. The teaching frame allowed contesting, recognizing and naming the qualities and subtleties of each approach. It grounded the discussion about our practice in something real. Reflecting together on our classes and approaches reinforced the experience, bringing about new aspects:

 

Peter Pleyer brings books about historical practice, history of dance and experiential anatomy and dvds into the studio. Reading and moving, releases text-material into an enliving experience, a defreezing approach to text.

Dorothea Rust Experiencing the simplicity of an approach, e.g. by recognizing every day anew that you have a foot (Tamás)*. Releasing of the feet into a state of examination (Éva)* refers to Mary Overlies „Releasing material into a state of examination.

* feedback-quote

Éva Karczag Emotional moments when dancers at the Hungarian Dance Academy – a place with a lot of history – meet and touch in the centre of a circle a hand which is a human being.

With her former conference and research experience Éva has a channelling and bridging factor for the TTT-group, which helps focusing without naming „outcomes“.

 

Gill Clarke participates from a distant place (London) in a mindful way by email and skype, scanning through our daily texts and compiling them.

Susanne Martin „allows“ us to feel like a performer and like a dancer; we pretend and embody elements of folk dance and perform it, the same procedure with contemporary dance. Big question arises „how can we pretend to be authentic“. We start to question the so called contemporary danc

Tamás Bakó talks us into different states of presence and alertness, a mellow process from sleeping into half active state evolving into contact improvising and partner work.

Viktória Varga communicates the passion for dance to teenagers, meets their desire to feel their energy, power and possibilities for creation with movement while balancing awareness demanding attention and set movement vocabulary, as well as creating ‚“on the spot“ a real performance situation with lights for set and improvised movements.

 

Exchanging personal data, interview and conferencing

We engage on the first day in „who knows who and who is who“, which sets a tone. Then we decide that we don’t need to have a specific question, that it’s enough to share our experiences. In the course of the week, as well through the interview with Annamária, questions open up about our ways of teaching, creating and non-linear approaches and how we place it in a context, how we perceive our legacy:

-                Why do we teach the way we teach?

-                Where do we take our information and our sources from?

-                What do we want to teach to students?

-                How do we prepare (for a known or unknown frame)?

-                How does our teaching approach affect our performance work and vice versa?

-                What kind of (thinking- and body-) concepts do we carry with us?

-                How do we document?

We agree on a common temporary strategy: talking, writing for an hour, discussing again, and sending report to Gill. Some of the topics of learning and teaching, of history, hierarchy and power talked about: a group is an active learning organism / passion is important / students can become apprentices / the way language is being used in teaching seems crucial  / self-organisation of groups and networking / expressions from a text by Mary Overlie: „Releasing material into a state of examination“, „Discern rather than impose“,  „Hierarchically subdued mind“, „Not knowing“ / Emphasis on people and not on institutions: To broaden recognition of dancers implies an emphasis on dancers, on the individual and not on dance!

 

Contesting the context of a place and legacy

We map places and spaces we visited this week in Budapest and the manifold connections amongst them through history, people, functions and self-organisation, creating the Budapest „dance-net“. We are impressed by the energy and initiative of people and by the dimensions of the spaces. Éva, Tamás and Vicky are bilingual Hungarian-English and a link to Budapest with its Contemporary Dance Academy, our host-school, and dance community.

We create separate maps of the legacy of our dance history sources and our teaching approaches.

 

Representation as multidimensional installation

For the final representation we lay out and hang up all our maps and text-material (daily reports and compilations by Gill). Eszter Gál the moderator proposes an improvisational walking and talking through by ttt-group-members, linking the material in unexpected ways.

 

Performing together

Thanks to Eszter Gál’s initiative, together with local movers and guests we sit for an hour and exchange ideas, wishes, necessities, states of body-mind, thereafter agreeing on a loose performance structure together with musicians. Later an amazing experience, dancing/performing with strangers. Is this some kind of new folk dancing, where forms and images merge, transform, but where nationalities, beliefs, anxieties and such things dissolve for a time?

 

CONCLUSION AND VISION

This TTT-format, which was perhaps found by chance, is very valuable: „Outsiders“  meeting „insiders“, who are agents in a place of interest e.g. for dance. Mapping the net, the situations of this place, with the help of these agents (Éva, Tamás, Viktória and Eszter Gál). A new view onto a set of venues and their connections with the help of the „outsiders“ might bring about new options and possibilities, new ways of perceiving the everyday place we live in and our relationship to it, „releasing it into a state of examination“. E.g. Could Viktória Varga get a chance to teach „difficult“ teenagers at the Hungarian Ballet Academy?

This TTT-format should be applied to other places, because throwing an outside eye onto the context you are working and living in is an opportunity.

 

I hope that we meet again, that we work from our performance practice more consciously into teaching in order to understand why we are teaching the way we are teaching. Teaching should not be separate from (real issues of) creation, like talking not from moving.

******

 

Gill Clarke

 

A View from the Balcony.*

A possible topic to ponder is a question heard recently on the BBC World Service:

‘How much permission does an artist get?

and

How much permission does an artist give themselves?’

(From the briefing document for ttt)

 

I felt privileged to be ‘given permission’ to join ttt Budapest vicariously, exchanging reflections remotely, absorbing the individual written responses of participating artists to their shared experiences, via e mail and skype.

 

I noticed with interest that, as the intensity of their embodied experiences accumulated through the week and was filtered through the writings I received, the separation of my abstract words from these lived experiences seemed to gradually expand. I had the feeling that my words became inadequate to the immersive flow of their shared moments, I became aware of my responses as too immobile, too stuck in an analysing, questioning brain that was not filtering thought through the dynamic flow of direct communication that comes from moving together.

 

At another level however, even at a distance, I felt an empathy with what was taking place, in part through imagining myself in the moving, but also through my memory of two particular previous experiences of artists’ exchange. I appreciated ways in which the opportunities offered by the ttt Budapest, built on, and resembled, two gatherings of international artists that I had participated in, together with Éva Karczag, (and that we have reflected upon in Contact Quarterly Summer/Fall 2007). To summarise briefly, these were mode05 in Potsdam, which focused on re-envisioning dance education, and a residency of 6 artist/teachers hosted by TQW in Vienna in which shared teaching of professional classes was followed by open-ended exchange over ten days.

Open Structures

Both these events shared with ttt Budapest a central concern with dance education and with dance artists’ perspectives on the teaching/learning experience. Yet they also shared an important, underlying assumption: a trust in processes of exchange and communication between artists to generate valuable traces, energies, ripples, and consequently a confidence to leave the structure open, and free from a particular outcome by which to measure their benefit.

The success of such an approach relies, of course, upon the rigour and committed engagement of all those involved. Yet this would not seem such a high risk! Why would any non-interested artist wish to participate in such an event? Which, in turn, raises the question of why this openness is risked so rarely in gatherings organised within and beyond the arts? Perhaps it is the ubiquitous demand for tangible outcomes and the difficulty of justifying processes whose outcomes are less quantifiable?

It is also true, however, that these dance artists were particularly suited to the permission offered by such an open structure, since the kinds of practices and processes in which they engage, aim at developing and practising the qualities of perception and relationship that render such freedom both familiar and generative. For these are practices that emphasise readiness, adaptability, decision-making in the moment, non-hierarchical relationships, non-linearity of learning experiences, easy flow between leading and following, investment in immersive experiences, leaving space to notice and modulate what arises, ...an improvisational mind in other words.

 

Immersion and reflection

It is significant that the artists chose to allow these qualities to permeate all the varied encounters and contexts of the week –from their own daily work practice, to the teaching of new groups of students in each context, to the exchange with the staff of these various organisations, and the public forum near the end of the project.

Indeed perhaps much of the potency of the week’s exchanges, and the imprints that will last well beyond them, lies in the delicate weave between immersion in the flow of shared dancing, and the stepping back to reflect; in the fact that discussions about dancing were grounded in the experience of moving together.

Henri Bergson speaks of two ways of knowing a thing: ‘The first implies that we move round the object; the second, that we enter into it.’ This ‘entering in’ seemed a vital aspect of the communication processes of ttt, a direct and effortless way of building bridges of understanding, of realising commonalities and overcoming language barriers.

Susanne observed on Day 3: ‘It seems vital to actually do, feel, experience, try out, update to my body, sense and cooperate with the others, before (or after or between) we talk, write, discuss, make statements or questions about dance, about education, about what is needed, about schedules, facilities, money, schools, dance companies…’

And Éva wrote also on day 3 ‘a dive into a reality that makes me most alive, sensitive, responsive, joyful and driven by present-ness and play.’

So the artists appreciated how moving helped them to a receptive and animated state of mind and body, to a readiness for the verbal exchange of ideas. Tamás wrote:  ‘Talking makes a network of thoughts, connects our minds and for moments gives such a clarity of the shared subject’, as if the talking became just an extension of the dancing dialogue

Perhaps also, such a state expands mental attention in a similar way to peripheral vision: opening out the mind to a less narrowly focused lens, one that more easily perceives possibility and relationship. Finnish architect Juhani Pallasmaa writes of how ‘peripheral vision integrates us with space, while focused vision pushes us out of the space, making us mere spectators’ (Pallasmaa 2005 p13). In this sense the tuned awareness of improvisational practices can draw one into a greater sense of connection between internal and external environment – a state conducive to communication and cooperation. Dorothea observed that somatic processes can sometimes be misunderstood, when viewed from the outside, as processes in which ‘we flounder about only internally’, whereas she writes: ‘in this state of awareness in fact we are just as much in space (because our nervous systems links us to space, to environment).’

 

Learning

This focus on shared experiences also created an environment conducive to the flow of learning throughout the ttt, for much learning goes on below the level of consciousness and without words. Hungarian/British scientist and philosopher Michael (Mihály) Polányi wrote that ‘we can know more than we can tell’, developing a concept of ‘tacit knowledge’ and reminding us of the important learning that takes place in the absence of language. As dancers and teachers we intuit this, we can feel for ourselves, and see over time in our students, the changes that take place through immersion in experience. Yet we can sometimes feel pressured by the demand for short-term visible and measurable indicators of ‘progress’, or marginalised by the dominance of language as the means for conveying information, that it becomes difficult to justify our investment in exploratory processes that might require time and a more facilitatory, than didactic, role for the teacher.

So it is re-assuring to know that we have notable advocates from other disciplines to back us up! Einstein wrote that ‘learning is experience. Everything else is just information’, and Arthur Reber, a psychologist researching implicit learning writes from his personal perspective:

‘I found that what seemed for me to be the most satisfactory ‘learnings’ were those that took place through what we used to call ‘osmosis’, that is, one simply steeped oneself in the material, often in an uncontrolled fashion, and allowed understanding to emerge magically over time. The kind of knowledge that seemed to result was often not easily articulated, and most interesting,  the process itself seemed to occur in the absence of the effort to learn, what was in fact learned……’ (Reber 1993 p22)

 

Language

This leads me to remember the conversations that happened through the week, about the teacher’s use of language in guiding student experiences, the need to be aware of its power, of how it could be a ‘weapon’, and manipulate the student, of the tensions between offering or ‘imposing’ information. Or the writings of Mary Overlie that Peter brought into the studio which advocated ‘discerning’ rather than ‘imposing’.

What the group identified as an important factor also in the teaching communication was the involvement of the artist with their material, the sharing of their own passion, and that this would be conveyed, in part, through language, but that much of its impact would be below the semantic level.

The promoting of dialogue became part of another important thread through the week –that of eroding hierarchies within the studio (to borrow again from Mary Overlie). This was manifested in the ways in which the artists all shared in moving together with staff and students in the various contexts in which they taught, and in how Eszter Gál used a score structure for the public forum that encouraged participants to become actively and spatially involved in the dialogue.

 

Politics

This eroding of hierarchies, was not only abut promoting learning and open dialogue, but had a political aspect that re-surfaced in different guises during the week – in how to empower students to explore beyond what they already know, how to give them permission, much as workshop foundation had given the artists permission to self-organise, and how, moving on to the professional arena, to advocate for dance practices that seem under-acknowledged or of lower status.

I was struck by the similarity between the tensions that arise for artists wishing to facilitate learning and not impose, and for arts development organisations, such as workshop foundation, wishing to produce an event through which artists might learn, without wanting to impose the ‘what’ or the ‘how’. Both are contexts of wishing to give permission, or better still to encourage the taking of permission.

In this I think we also have surprising allies in another field – in organisations that are involved in international development. They talk of ‘developing capacity’ in the countries/localities within which they work, and yet the very language risks sounding patronising, as if it was them doing the ‘developing’. Rather they are realising,(as workshop foundation in choosing to work through a small planning group of artists to organise the ttt),  that it is productive to work in partnership, and focus on the learning of all involved within a process, if a project is to be effective in the long term.

Neither researcher, administrator, nor villager is likely to achieve his or her potential for contribution to development until they join as partners in a mutual learning process, committed not to the search for magical blueprints, but to the building of new capacities for action.’ Korten, 1980, p 502)

In the realm of acknowledging, and articulating, the intangibility of outcomes, however, those working in international development already seem more confident than us in asserting the validity of the non-measurable, and perhaps offer some inspiration that we could take permission to follow:

Networks of social relations form, centre around certain values or ideas and unleash capacity in their participants. From this perspective capacity is as much about energy as it is about skills and resources’ (Morgan 2005, p13)

This to me would very nicely describe what was going on in the ttt-Budapest, and the potential impact both for members of the Budapest dance community and for the core group of artists. What I sensed, even viewed from the distance of the balcony was ‘Unleashing capacity’ and generation of ‘energy’. These would also be fitting aspirations for the education of future dance professionals.

*Lefebvre: writing on rhythm: ‘A certain exteriority enables the analytical intellect to function. However, to grasp a rhythm it is necessary to have been grasped by it; …it is therefore necessary to situate oneself simultaneously inside and outside. A balcony does the job admirably… (Lefebvre 2004, p27)

 

References

 

 

Bergson, H., (1912, 1999) An Introduction to Metaphysics, Indianapolis, Hackett Publishing Co

Korten, D. C., (1980) ‘Community Organisation and Rural Development: A learning process Approach,’ Public Administration review 40, 5

Lefebvre, H., (2004) Rhythmanalysis, London, Continuum

Morgan, P., (2005), The idea and Practice of Systems Thinking and their RelÉvance for Capacity Development, Maastricht, European centre for development Policy management

Pallasmaa, J., (2005), The Eyes of the Skin, Chichester, John Wiley and Sons

Polanyi, M, (1966) The Tacit Dimension, Garden City, NU, Doubleday

Reber, A. S., (1993), Implicit Learning and Tacit Knowledge, Oxford, Oxford University Press

 ******

 

Peter Pleyer

threefold: before/during/after

 

1. before:

Why am I invited to teach the teachers in Budapest? My history with the dance-community in Budapest dates back to 1993 when I was travelling with my fellow student at the “European dance development centre” in Arnhem/Netherlands, Eszter Gál, to Budapest to perform a duet that we choreographed. It was performed at “Szkéné” a small, almost improvised theatre-space at the university. The light-grid was on ropes, so the whole light-design was constantly moving. After this we came back frequently, every year to teach or perform in this city. Performing at mu-theatre, Artus Theatre and Merlin Theatre and improvising at hero-square and galleries with the growing number of musicians that got interested in our way of working. As a duet we won a choreography prize in Lübek/Germany, and travelled to perform in festivals in Paris, New York, St. Petersburg, Jaroslavl/Russia, Lublin/Poland and other places in Europe. When we both left Arnhem and the Netherlands in 2000 to go back “home”, me to Berlin, Eszter to Budapest, we met yearly at the improvisation-performance-festival she was curating and organizing: “Kontakt Budapest”, bringing her international colleagues from that scene to Budapest and to Hungary, bringing new information about working with a different body/mind in training a dancer, making material for improvisation/performance and about composing/choreographing. Our interest was to grow further together, building on our foundations but also to educate other dancers, artists and audiences in Budapest and Hungary. In the last ten years this festival took place at l1-studio, Artus Studio and theatre, MU Theater and SIN Art Centre. Teaching the Teachers 2010 in Budapest brings different threads of this past together, weaving a new net for the city and for the participating teachers, students, programmers and organizers.

 

2. during:

So here we are in a dance studio in the Budapest Dance School. Although the many dance studios we worked in during our ttt-meeting are all slightly different, they have a similar feel and I stated often in the process, how much at home I do feel in a dance studio. The openness to move in any direction, filling the empty space with ideas and movements, clean enough floors to sit and roll and  slide on. In the group is one of my major teachers, Éva Karczag, much of what I know about my body, about sensing and dancing with that body i know through her guidance. Susanne Martin, a friend and colleague from Berlin with whom i shared dancing in jams around Europe, and in a company in Sweden. Tamás Bakó, a gentle, versatile and clear mover and dancer that I met in classes and jams during “Kontakt Budapest”. And two to me unknown participants, Viktória Varga and Dorothea Rust, both I met with growing curiosity. Slightly disappointed, at first, that Gill Clarke is only with us from a distance via mail and skype, I did appreciate her input and considerations very much during the process.

The disappointment lay more in my expected meeting with her after missing her in previous meetings that dealt with the development of dance/education and during her research period at the “HZT” (Hochschulübergreifende Zentrum Tanz / Inter-University Center for Dance) in Berlin. most helpful was her commenting on some scientific readings on education and art as well as some political doorways, that we in dance-education are no longer “producing” dancers for a specific market, but in the best case artists with diverse and individual knowledge, that are  flexible and strong in developing jobs and opportunities for further professional work.

Already from the first circle the method of articulating thoughts, ideas and proposals followed a non-hierarchical, horizontal pattern which continued to inspire us to change fluidly between talking, moving and writing, even performing together.

As I was the first one to propose my “class” to the group and the invited students I chose to design it in such a way that I could not only share my way of teaching but also my latest interest and research into the history and practice of dance in the last 30-40 years. Especially with the help of bringing printed matter, magazines and books, but also new media and dvds into the dance-studio to be warmed up with and being incorporated into moving.

I was very happy that the article of Mary Overlie on her viewpoint theory in the book “training the American actor” became a source for more inspiration and clarifying quotes during the process.

The idea that the most effective teaching is through passion for the subject, the love for the people in the lineage, the history, and through a personal involvement of the individual, most recent artistic research was articulated after most of the classes.

The maps we generated towards the conclusion of the ttt-meeting, the harvest of the process, were important manifestations of the net, the fabric we manufactured during our days in Budapest.

for an understanding of the structures, infrastructures and the persons involved in the Budapest contemporary dance scene Susanne’s and Dorothea’s map of all the  places we visited and all the people we met stays with the workshop foundation as a visible reminder of richness and diversity in the city. The personalized history map of Éva and me will stay as an important skeleton of our knowledge and experience of the development of contemporary dance in the last century that needs and asks for commentary, additional routes, people and places, but is a valuable visualization of yet another important thread work, network and tissue.

The individual maps of the classes we taught were a helpful tool in sharing with each other in a nonjudgmental way our thoughts, and played a key-role in the representation of the research during the conference, helping to guide the audience through the process of the ttt-meeting.


3. after:

As the ttt-Budapest meeting fits perfectly into a string of teaching opportunities I had and will have in 2010, like pearls on a necklace. The impact of these days of intensive articulation and sharing of personal ways of navigating through the developments in the education of dance-artists in Europe will show itself in the near future. For “Kontakt Budapest” 2010 I will return to Budapest to co-teach with Eszter Gál at SIN Art Centre in July.

Developing a class, a course, a curriculum that deals with the recent history of practices in dance-making is a goal that I want to continue to follow, and all participants of the ttt-meeting in Budapest gave me personally the strength, permission and trust to do so. To be able to get honest feedback of colleagues that I much respect and from different students and organizers is of great importance. It gave me a sense of belonging, so necessary to keep investing in that track.

A future continuation in any possible way with the same or similar group would be important and greatly appreciated. Especially in the direction of inhabiting the diverse venues that we visited in a performative setting.

******


Susanne Martin

Building nets and bridges

This text hopes to bridge the gap of time and space between our Budapest ttt project and past and future ttt’s as well as to contribute to connectivity and discussion with anybody engaged in questions of dance and education.

The multidimensional net of information, knowledge, experience, questions and friendship that we built from day to day will not be adequately represented by the production of this text.

So what from this overfull, exciting, multidimensional week do I want to share here?

So much material we produced: pages and pages of individual writing, of combined writing, big mappings on rough paper, classes that are documented on video, the public performance in which we danced together with local artists, the installation we created for the public presentation of our ttt week.

So many questions were raised and keep coming up for me afterwards:

·          About aims of teaching

·          About ways of learning

·          About the role of institutions, personalities, critique, affirmation, support, control, perspective in education

·          About curricula, hierarchies, the role of somatic approaches in dance education

·          About history and legacy and genealogy

·          About empowerment and humbleness, recognition and the perspective from the margin

·          About the role of words / wordings in reflecting, experiencing, communicating, building knowledge, transmitting information

·           About different subjectivities as in being - feeling like - or pretending to be - a dancer / performer / artist / teacher

·           About our role and function for the Budapest contemporary dance scene

 

A positive model of collaboration to be considered in the context of dance education

All our activities and questions could become an inspiring experience by HOW we shaped our meeting into a constructive collaboration.

-> The group constellation

The nucleus of three local/half local participants nominated 4 participants from the outside. So the choice was probably based on a mix of professional interest and personal trust x3.

We were different but not too far from each other in background. We started in the first hour from what we share by simply naming who knows whom from where. In that way professional, personal, and geographical connections between us and also towards our hosting city were initially traced, revealed and therefore reinforced.

Thought and consideration went into the constellation of the work group in relation to an aspired supportive team spirit and possible content of this meeting.

= The complex consideration of “what supports what?” and weighing difference and commonality in a group constellation reaches right into core questions of collaborative strategies. They have a strong artistic and political impact and should be raised and further examined in universities and any educational situation.

 

-> The moving body

We shared our dancing and teaching practices very matter of factly, everybody attended each of our open classes. We moved with each other every day. The sensorial level present in each of these physical meetings, the experience of our different bodies, ages, limits, and energies brought a vulnerability and intimacy into our relationship that went far beyond an exchange of teaching models and opinions. It grounded us or unsettled us as people. It bound our questions and opinions to present tense experiencing and strengthened our abilities to trust each other.

= Present tense bodily involvement in movement practice generates things other than a purely reflective involvement. Different body practices generate different things.

If the moving body is a central motive in the discourses of dance education, it should be given a physical presence. The body moves (changes) the discourse.

-> The group’s aim / the research subject

The main schedule of the week developed from Éva Karczag’s idea to move through different venues of and for contemporary dance in Budapest. This plan was inspired by a sentence from Jennifer Lacey’s text about the Bucharest ttt: “the basis of dance, of any performance form really, is someone showing up somewhere. The art and the thinking is in the choices of the how showing up in relation to the where.” How we showed up also shaped itself by wishes and invitations from the Budapest scene (open classes, the performance we did, the performances we saw). Goals and meaning stayed open to be found out, considered and reconsidered in the group but mainly individually.

= The subject of our meeting was never clearly defined but approached, recognized, examined on the way and in retrospect. It developed and keeps developing itself in the spaces created by practice, reflection and dissemination of knowledge. In this sense our collaboration draws on as well as develops supportive methods in the realm of ‘practice based research’ in dance.

 

-> Performing dance

Everybody in the group is an active performing artist.

We agreed on the need to have our role as facilitators, teachers, curators, mentors be grounded in our current artistic questions and interests. On day 5 it was my turn to facilitate the class and I focussed on performance. The introduction of two of my current artistic interests “pretence” and “folk dancing” stirred very new questions and emotions. Disintegration, distance, dis-identification plus the practice of watching and being watched offered new exciting thoughts about our individual artistic values and subjectivities. New possible frictions between educational and artistic values appeared when practically trying out my performance propositions.

Also on day 5 we went on to throwing even more of ourselves into the work. Eszter Gál invited us to publicly improvise together with eight Budapest and international dancers, a musician and a lighting designer. That we all did it and nobody’s egos, artistic values, or other representations of self got hurt is special, and was a result of our collaboration up till then as well as a big further step in our process.

= Issues like aims of teaching, strategies of supporting and affirming, openness to diversity, non-hierarchical collaboration, subjectivity, somatic approaches to dance grow in complexity and get to an extreme personal intensity under the burning glass of performance.

 

-> Writing during the process

Next to all these activities and formats of ‘being together’ we had daily sessions of individual writing for documentation and reflection (inside our daily structure not at night at home). In writing and sending our daily writings to each other, to share and inspire, to learn from each other, we started to build a language as a group and moved into the realm of collaborative writing.

= Individual writing / wording supports individual reflection and integration of the experiences made and the discourses opened. In the overwhelming course of events of intensive gatherings, the writing also keeps track of questions to be followed up after the meeting has ended.

Sharing writing supports an understanding inside a group; it can give voice to themes as well as to individuals in the group that didn’t come forward in the other forms of exchange. It’s also a way to build common terms/ a common language, clarify vague thoughts and finally develop concepts. This is a specific quality of writing.

Present tense reflective writing in dance education generates things other than a purely physical involvement. Different reflective practices generate different things.

If the reflective artist is a central motive in the discourses of dance education, it should be given a presence. The discourse moves (changes) the body.

 

Éva Karczag

Seven individuals, united by a common language. No translation needed. Discussion can proceed quickly into areas of subtlety and precision, where questions are welcomed, thoughts are shared with generosity, and parameters are nudged wider open. Curious, because we are speakers of Hungarian, English and German, but although we do use the spoken and written word, the common language we speak is a particular form of movement, a philosophy of teaching and learning, thinking and creating.

We are teachers and performers, and we are here to learn from each other.

Our discussions and play are grounded in our practice.

This was the set-up of the Budapest ttt: two Hungarians, two Germans, one Swiss, one British, and one Hungarian/Australian - a further demonstration of the extent of the reach of this ‘alternative’ work we do.

We began with history. At our first meeting, on the first day, each of us introduced him/herself, and named connections -- some of us knew almost everyone, some of us knew almost no one. But connections began to be drawn as invisible threads that started to crisscross the space around and between us.

 

History

I speak Hungarian, and have my own history in Budapest. From my two periods of study at the State Ballet Academy in the 60s and early 70s; to my meeting with Gyula Berger in the 80s, whose abstract movement choreographies and small scale productions were a breath of fresh air in an otherwise bogged down and out of date dance scene; to teaching at Angelus Iván’s school at Csanády utca in the early 90s; to teaching and mentoring the many Hungarians, Eszter Gál and Gyula Berger among them, who studied at EDDC in Arnhem, The Netherlands; to taking part in the first, and in numerous successive, Budapest Contact Festivals, organized by Eszter Gál; to performing in a number of the city’s alternative performance spaces – always observing, and noticing how over the decades, the nature of dance in Budapest has changed... is changing.

The Budapest dance scene has grown into the present, and is looking eagerly into the future. This was made clear by the many various situations the ttt group visited and experienced in our tightly packed, very intense eight days, as we moved around Budapest dance schools and performance spaces. We were given an introduction to each place by someone who works there, and is intimately involved in the running of the place – a taste of what happens, and how – day-to-day functioning, aims, challenges.

 

Spaces and the work happening in them

We were all impressed by the old factories and disused buildings we were shown, that had been taken over by groups and individual artists, as well as by the wholehearted enthusiasm of the people who work in each place. Iván Angelus at the Budapest Contemporary Dance Academy, Gyula Berger at L1, Katalin Lőrinc at the Hungarian Dance Academy, Zoltán Nagy at SIN Cultural Center, Gábor Goda at Artus, Gabi Máthé at Gödör, and others, all spoke with passion about the spaces and work they have helped bring into existence and are keeping alive. Also impressive is the way impresario figures who own some of the locations, are supporting the arts, not only by providing spaces where work can be made and performed, but also through the thoughtfulness they place in preserving original architectural elements, thus ensuring that future artists and audiences continue to remain aware of the history of these newly renovated buildings.

 

Performances

Even missing two of the planned performances, we had a full schedule, including taking part in the improvised evening performance at SIN. We saw, and experienced, a willingness to experiment, to involve the audience in process (e.g. the post-performance discussion at Artus, the pre-performance task at MU Theatre). It seems that Hungarian danc

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