Dramaturgy’s “what and how”, its relations to choreography and how they are to be invented anew with each creative process, was the starting point of the workshop. Informed by their longstanding collaboration,
choreographer Martin Nachbar and dramaturge Jeroen Peeters led the workshop around “physical dramaturgy”. Swedish-born dancer and choreographer Louise Ahl alias Ultimate Dancer, was selected by Southbank, London (UK) to participate in this workshop, organised by Workspace Brussels (BE). 

The workshop took place during the Working Title Platform#2, a festival organised by Workspace Brussels.

The participants learned to explore and exhaust the realm of meaning triggered by moving bodies, as well by as the various materials and ideas that populate a creation process. In order to facilitate this artistic research within a creative process, participants were stimulated to analyse their own practice and develop an awareness of the underpinnings and contexts of their work. They discovered physical dramaturgy as a process that embraces an ethics of collaboration and regards practice and theory, research and making, movement
and reflection as intertwined activities: as an oscillating in-between space that may become a discursive site, a place that enables a critical understanding of time, space, perception, and the production of meaning.

feedback report by Louise Ahl

I was invited to take part in a workshop in physical dramaturgy at the Kaaistudios, Brussels. My expectations of the workshop were somewhat oddly high and low; low because I had no previous knowledge about dramaturgy for dance and was eager to delve into this subject. Expectations were also high because I knew the work of Martin Nachbar and Jeroen Peeters but never had the chance to find out their specific relationship and working methods. I work as a choreographer and performer and have not up until this last year actively considered the importance of dramaturgy for dance and therefore have a newly found curiosity about this interaction. In relation to this or maybe because of it I encountered problems in creative processes regarding dramaturgical issues, without having the knowledge of how to deal with it and this was the main reason to why I wanted to attend this workshop. I wanted to develop working methods so that I could deal with these issues constructively.

I must say I was sceptic to the idea of a dramaturge as an additional role in the creative process. Even though I came with a motivation to learn more about the production use of dramaturgy the focus of the workshop was on how dramaturgy is interviewed in the process - which was clearly more interesting. The structure of the workshop allowed a thorough and relentless reading of texts related to the topic, discussions, speculations and sometimes a new realisation. We tried to define and maybe re-define dramaturgical and choreographic responsibilities that shape these roles and as a group built a map of these attempts, trying to answer questions like; “what is choreography?” and “what is dramaturgy?” The reading was occasionally interrupted by creative writing exercises that allowed the participants to reflect individually on the received information. In the latter part of the workshop, the participants were encouraged to put theory into practice by a sort of role-play partner-work in which we would alternatively take the role of the dramaturge and the choreographer to work on a specific choreographic experiment. All the theory that we received earlier started to make sense as we begun the practical work; the texts and discussions were suddenly embodied in simple experiments that each one of us conducted. Overall, the structure and ambition of the workshop was great, and it was superbly lead and guided by Nachbar and Peeters. I have accepted the role of the dramaturge and the importance of different creative roles within a process and can see how I would guide my own work dramaturgically at stages and more as a choreographer at other. This workshop intensely challenged my pre-conceptions of artistic roles and showed how to layer knowledge within a creative process.

The week in Brussels was a luxurious experience; the quality of the workshop, accommodation, my first opportunity to visit Brussels where such an active discourse around dance is present, the chance to meet and work closely with other artists of varied background and the finale of the week which was to attend the Working Title Platform where I also participated in a fantastic workshop with Ramsay Burt and Fabian Barba. I saw performances and attended a dramaturgical salon that for me concluded the work we did in the workshop and extended it with specific examples of current artistic activity. This week in Brussels is still very present in my mind and I am extremely grateful that I got the opportunity to gain this knowledge and experience.

Louise Ahl alias Ultimate Dancer is a Swedish choreographer ánd performer. She has studied theatre in Sweden, Choreography in Berlin and earned a First Class BA Choreography at the Dartington College of Arts in 2010. She has trained with and participated in workshops with Martin Nachbar, Jeroen Peeters, Meredith Monk, Deuffert/Plischke, Kirstie Simson, Mary Fulkerson, Helge Musial, Martin Sonderkamp, Ingo Reulecke, Isabelle Schad and Marie-Gabrielle Rotie amongst others. 

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