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As second award winner of the Prix Jardin d’Europe festival 2010 in Istanbul, Fabian Barba (EC) was invited for a two week residency in the Budapest Contemporary Dance Academy, Budapest (HU) for his new creation: A
personal, yet collective history.

During the residency in Budapest, Fabian Barba had the opportunity to follow classes with the students of the Budapest Contemporary Dance Academy and work with them individually, to test the perception of some of the notions and ideas he was working on, such as authentic movement, genealogy in dance
and corporeality. He developed tools for an aesthetical approach to the historical and geographical axes of dance history. Fabian Barba concluded his residency with a small presentation for the personal of Working Foundation, Budapest (HU). A solid base for the further development of “A personal, yet collective
history” was set during this residency.

 

*****
feedback report Fabian Barba

A familiar style report written by Fabián Barba to Marianne Van Kerkhoven on his residency in Budapest at Budapest Contemporary Dance Academy organised by Workshop Foundation between 4-15 May
 
Dear Marianne,
Budapest was very nice, the work that is. The first week I got super lost and I convinced myself that the very fundaments of the work were crap. But the second week things started going better. I was working with the students there. I was following classes with them (ballet and Graham) and then meeting them individually. We actually did the authentic movement exercise I only explained you when you came to the studio last time. It was nice to see them dancing. It's funny that in that exercise, by allowing you to do anything you'd like, you (the dancer that is) end up doing more or less what you know how to do, and what you understand you're supposed to do. That became evident with these students that do have a different training than mine and for whom this exercise was up to a great extent unknown. After that I showed them the same dances you saw last time. It was nice getting to talk to them. I had been watching their rehearsals as well, and the kind of dancing I saw them engaged with was somehow unfamiliar to me, but when we were talking we seemed to share similar concerns and questions about our training as dancers. This experience happily surprised me.
 
Ok, that's kind of anecdotic, I guess. There's something more important from those 10 days in Budapest. I notice that I was putting a lot of stress in this idea of two axes, a historical and a geographical that play a role in setting some sort of hierarchy among different dance traditions. I guess this is the core of my questions, but it wasn't helping me in the direction of creating a dance performance. Then I came to think that approaching this question would be a good topic for a phd proposal, which obviously I'm not in the position of undertaking right now and that therefore I should better focus on something else. That something else would be an aesthetic approach to that question. I think I can define at least three tools to do so; tools that, by the way, I think I was already using with the Wigman performance:
 
1. A disruption of spatial and temporal coordinates: a breaking of the 'here and now' of the theatre to index to a 'here at some other time', or a 'now, elsewhere'. In the case of Wigman: here in the 30's, in the case of the solo from Ecudador, now in Quito.
2. The turning of the affirmation of 'The Real Me' into the question 'The Real Me?' I guess that this in Wigman was blurred in that I presented myself onstage as Wigman and not as Fabian, and maybe this question appeared over and over again when in the after talk people would ask me things like but do you really enjoy it? or how much of You is present in these dances? In this project something very curious happened. The last day there I made a little presentation for the people of The Workshop Foundation (they were responsible of my residency there). For this showing I explained what this project was about, how it was related to Wigman and which questions I was facing. I combined this presentation with the performance of some of the dances i've shown you, explaining before each dance where that dance was coming from. I showed five dances, four of them had not been created nor originally danced by me. An important question appeared after the showing, and it was: where are You? How do You dance? We would like to see what You would do Now. Of course, this question seemed to index a weak point in the project and I do understand that. But I also noticed that that's one of my interests, to try and blur my personal history with the history of others  - my dancing with the dancing of others. Of course, what has to be done now is to flip the situation so that this question doesn't seem to be a negative attribute of the work, but its main argument.
A nice thing is that some people felt that the solo of the polish guy was the one of which I was the most distanced, and therefore the dance for which they had more questions in relation to having me perform it. However, two dancers told me that they could recognize in that solo a sort of dance with which they identified themselves at the beginning of their careers, pretty much as I had identified myself with the solo from Ecuador. I guess that the solo from the polish guy might be somewhat foreign to myself, but it was not so for these two dancers. i really liked that.
3. While making this presentation in Budapest I was telling the story of each solo in a straight way, giving all the actual information of which I disposed, placing the dances in their actual contextual reality. In spanish I could say I was speaking in an Indicative Mood (I wouldn't know how this work in english grammar). Speaking in this way stresses my distance from the solos, because it makes clear that I had not created them. Then it occurred to me that in the performance I could fictionalize the story of these solos, maybe only by always talking in the first person: I dance dthis solo when I was in Ecuador in 2002…. I performed this solo for the first time in school in September 2010… etc) or even better by introducing the Subjunctive Mood… I wouldn't know yet how to do this, but in Wigman it was clear, my intention was to create a performance AS IT COULD HAVE TAKEN PLACE IN THE 30'S. Even though I don't know yet how to introduce this Subjunctive Mood in the performance, I notice it's already present in the work, for I'm imagining how I would be dancing if i had gone to study in Poland instead of Brussels.
 
So this is more or less what happened in Budapest. With the pass of time I'm more inclined to propose a dance recital with a collection of different solos coming from different places. I can even imagine giving little presentations of every solo in a fictional way (while the right credits would be clearly presented in the program). Another idea I'm flirting with is to reproduce the hand program of The Mind is a muscle from Rainer: there are dances, and interludes and even an INTERMISSION in the middle. I hope I had a scanner to send you a copy of it. But well, these are things I still have to think carefully about.
 
I did also add a dance to my collection: it's called fabian baila. It was choreographed in 2009 in Illinois USA by Esteban Donoso after he finished his master in the university there, in Illinois. Esteban is a good friend of mine from Ecuador.
 
 
Fabián Barba
 
 

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