A dancer on the road...

A dancer on the road...


Thibault, born in the 90's, and always moved since my feet touched the earth.
This blog is about my trips, my adventures and my dance experiences here and there.
Hope you like it.
Love, T.

ᴅᴀɴᴄᴇ ᴠs. ᴀʀᴛ ɪɴsᴛᴀʟʟᴀᴛɪᴏɴ 𝟸𝟹.𝟶𝟾.𝟷𝟾

DancePosted by Thibault Tue, October 02, 2018 19:40:39
Improvisation performance danced by myself in interaction with Pekka and Teija Isorättyä: it happened at the Galleria Rankka, in Helsinki, on the 23rd of august 2018. Did you miss it?!


The solo dance performance was a question-answer between Pekka and Teija's art installation and my movement.
It lasted exactly 20 minutes and everybody was welcome to stroll through the performance while I was using the entire space. As a matter of fact, the performance space was a beautiful industrial atelier, big enough to contain quite an impressive crowd.

The essence of the performance relied on its movement improvisation and on my capacity to adapt to the forever changing state of Pekka and Teija's art installation's soundscape. Yes, it was pure improvisation, but wait to read some more about it.

The soundscape was originally pre-set to be the same whenever somebody would approach the installation. There was a sensor installed during the daytime exhibition. It was activated whenever somebody walked by, the soundscape then ran for a short time. This sound could be mixed live through a mixing table, which we made use of during the performance, and which Pekka controlled during that occasion.
Now, the dance itself was supposed to follow that soundscape, on top of following the geometrical pattern of the installation, which looked like thousand small mechanical arms, cutting through space, very geometrical, very mathematic. So there was a lot to get visually inspired from. I believe the art installation already looked like a dance itself. I just felt like I was taking it a bit further, by making the movement three dimensional and creating a vortex, directly connected between me, and the installation.

Now I give you some details: Pekka and Tuija Isorättyä's art installation is the result of a collaboration on the creation of kinetic and electromechanical sculptures, often constructed from organic materials and discarded or outmoded objects.
Therefore, he mixed, I adapted, simple, doesn't it sound? Well, not that acurate. You see, we had defined a set of rules before, otherwise it would have been for the pure love of movement, and well, in that case, why even bother to invite an audience...

First came the movement frame...

The dance improvisation I performed was inspired by neo-classical and ballet technics. A summary of all I have ever learnt, now part of my body, as a dancer and a creator. Of course, I worked a lot with improvisation in my career, and the fact that I also happen to be a choreographer helped me feel comfortable creating on the spot for people watching right up in my face. I took it as a simple study of cognitive and intuitive movement, adapted in time and space to the visual and aural art happening near by. It was almost like a conference, I was speaking with my movement.

Now the coulisse part: I had recorded some of the possible soundscapes which could come up during the performance about 2 weeks prior to it. I then rehearsed in studio, giving myself some movement tasks to the soundscaped. With that I mean I was exploring all possiblities, always trying to re-invent the movement.
So in a way, the performance was rehearsed, but still, the movement I performed was completely genuine. I had no choreographic structure, nor any kind of short sections I could slip-in real quick in case I would run out of ideas.

And about running out of ideas, wasn't I scared about hitting the spot? Not at all, because like I said, I have quite some experience, but also because one has to go through a performance like this with confidence. You see, it often happens that dancers freeze when they run out of ideas, which means they go BLANK. It even happens with choreographies that have been rehearsed for months and months. However, dancers are also human beings (apart from being god like creatures with magical powers) and do happen to forget everything in some situations, mostly under a big amount of stress. So that occasion was just perfect fit, stress: yes, forever changing: yes!
Yet, if you are able to just breathe, be aware of the space around you, the people in it, its structure, the thousand sounds that come to your ears... You are just fine. It is all about being in the present, breathing, staying calm and so on.

And it brings me to say that there was no dramatic performance. With this, I mean that I did not try to put on a mask, or act in a specific way. The drama remained within the movement only. The theme, if I may say so, was really scientific, and it would just have looked weird if I had tried to put on a second skin and become an actor.
Hopefully it translated into my movement, which of course was made of momentums, attacks and so on... But overall stayed really floating, out of the muscular approach dancers are often used to choose.

Then came the time frame...

Because it was my first improvised solo performance, I decided that there should be a frame for the timing of it. The first reason is that I did not know what would be the audience's reaction, so the self-conscious artist that I am was affraid that people would get bored and so on... It was 20 minutes after all.
But mainly, I felt responsible for installing a rythm to the performance. The rythm was so that it was divided in 10 bits of 2 minutes. Now I won't give you the detail of each section, because magicians never give away their magic tricks, but mostly because I cooked it myself and it is part of how I work (no secrets, just intimacy).

And now I must thank the universe, because the feedback I got was so positive! I think it definitely worked, as people described the performance as an "hypnosis", or "some kind of trance". This is exactly where I was aiming at with my rythm. The art installation itself is some kind of machinery that I could have watched for ever, it is a hypnosis itself.
How did I keep track of the timing? Well I honestly did not, but we had a few cues we had agreed on before the performance, with Pekka, for which he was giving me the go. So really, it WAS a conversation, and not only a dance performance.

Was it physically hard? HELL YES! But who does not like a little workout? I really tried to be self-conscious throughout these 20 minutes. It gave me a little insight on staying away from using muscular and heavy power, I tried (and managed maybe) to stay as calm and positive as possible, just like a yoga workout. I also always tried to recycle my movement, and use new creative ways of approaching the experience from within. How did I do that? Well, I am an experienced dancer, and maybe in the future I will talk again about improvising...

Overall, the experience was really inspiring, I truly believe that I learnt a lot from it, as a performer, but also as a creator and as a person. Pekka and Teija are lovely human beings and it was my pleasure to be able to connect with artists working in different disciplines. Go and check out their website: Isorättyä !
I would like to thank Galleria Rankka for welcoming me in their amazing space and time. Thank you Aarno Rankka ja Jyrki Riekki! Thank you also to Jessica Leino, you are all lovely!

More improv' performance to come in the future, stay tuned.
My next blog will talk about sexual genres and male dance artists.
Love you all, T.

  • Comments(0)//dancerontheroad.thibaultmonnier.com/#post4

ᴄᴏɴᴄᴇᴘᴛᴜᴀʟ ᴅᴀɴᴄᴇ

ArtPosted by Thibault Wed, September 19, 2018 14:09:08

For all of you dance lovers...

Conceptual dance exists everywhere, all around you, and is most probably the first type of dance you have ever experienced: dance with a meaning, dance that does not care about its shape, dance that's a result of your thinking process. The term "appeared" in the 90s, and I would agree on the fact that its use is rather ambiguous.

There has been, and still are very fiery discussions about what to call conceptual in the dance world, and about where the border has set itself. Unfortunately it is not resolving, as the possibilities for performing arts keep on growing and offer new kind of performances.

But I decided to write about that subject because of the comments I have heard in the past few months, within my social circle, and on online platforms. I believe that every artistic work has its role to play. Of course, I also have my very own opinion on whether I like or dislike some content, or performance. But I think that kindness and respect are keywords for watching conceptual dance, in the performing arts. Obviously, people are entitled to their own opinion. But we live in the world where destroying the work of others has become way too easy, so let's rewing backwards, and look at the situation.

If you ever find yourself disliking a conceptual dance performance, or even performing in it, then find a reason for you to either give it a second or third trial with another artist, you might get good surprises.

Working at the Biennale di Venezia.

For whom?

Unlike what the general opinion tends to think, conceptual dance is for everybody. It sure isn't open to all kind of audiences, depending on its content (such as nudity, which is so very taboo although TV and social media bombard us with that), but it does target all kind people. However, it is not senseless and easy-access, it is not the result of our western capitalism: it rejects the mass consumption effect.

As a matter of fact, conceptual dance is research from which an artist, or a group of artists, agreed to develop a meaning, a thinking process, a philosophy, and present it to an audience. In most cases, its basis is found dealing with a sociopolitical inspirations. The range of this theme is of course very wide, and will go from gender equality, to the importance of our species on this planet, only to quote a few examples. Even some people would like to think that it includes some other metaphysical/ scientific ideas, such as nature, and the universe in general for example, but even then, one will always find a link with the way human societies resume, and how humans interact, communicate and strive.

So far so good, quite simple. But, this field within the performing arts, claims to be more intellectual itself, not in the way it is presented but with the thinking state the artists create and invite you in their universes. And on that note, one shall understand that a conceptual performance will not necessarily involve dance in its traditional representation. Quite the opposite actually. IT will most probably be an attempt to separate itself from the already living repertoire, and create a gap with what has already been done. Of course, movement remains in some cases, but I think it is very important to understand that one is not invited to go and watch a performance for the sake of sitting and being visually pleased.

This however, does not mean that conceptual dance gets rid of movement as time goes. There are actually various alternatives to its development, and one might have the choice between very physical (technicality, heavy, muscular performances for example) and very abstract (minimal, lack of movement, almost can't be seen), among many other possibilities.

Why? What for?

The reasons are very different from artist to artist of course, but most would agree on the fact that the main grounds for creating such content/art, is to keep the question mark hover above it, whether it is dance or theatre, or both. This can be explained with the way conceptual art was 'branded' in the 60s and 70s, defined as art being presented as a thinking process, not anymore as a craving for aesthetics, an urge for materialistic representations.

It is a way to constantly renew, or refresh, the already existing part of the performing arts, asking new questions, raising new debates/ keeping them alive... Conceptual dance actually has a very important place in society.
I hear my peers screaming in horror already, but dance was conceptual at its beginning (if we can even talk about a beginning): it had no rules, no predefined sets of movement, and was performed for its audience/ its performers to resolve social/ religious/ political arguments. Most of the time, that was performed by 'artists' considered then as shamans, wise... His/Her ideal was to transmit a succession of ideas, thoughts and actions. Note that the importance of the performers remained very strong throughout history, up until recently.

Therefore, already thousands of years ago, conceptual dance existed in order to question daily situations, or problems related to us, social animals. How did the status of the performer change? This is a question that our present society will most probably argue for a very long time still.

But here is something to ask yourself : why is there such a strong need to make this art form so inferior and lower it at the moment ? Is it for us a way to deny our origins? Say that we are better than this 'easy' and 'shallow' art form? Or even for ballet/contemporary performers to establish a hierarchy within the dance sphere, and feel more important, more valuable...?

What to expect from conceptual dance?

The answer is also here a bit tricky. I would say it depends on what one decides to go and watch. Most of all, I would say that one shall expect a thinking process from conceptual dance (hopefully). One should go and watch a performance with a need to let this art trigger ideas within his/her head, and resolve daily/ personal challenges.

And if you are scared to end up watching a performance where nothing happens, well you never know before watching a show for the first time, a conceptual piece might actually be made of movement only, in which case it has a meaning as well of course. And yes, you might also find yourself sitting for a really long time, hoping you would be somewhere else. But hey, why not make the best of your time, and still try to figure what is offered to you as the performance goes?

Galleria Rankka, Helsinki.

The artists behind it?

The dancers/ performers behind conceptual come from very various backgrounds. When you actually go watch a happening, a performance, an event and so on, you might actually go watch people who have done everything and nothing at the same time.

The professional range is rather diverse. Some artists will be beginners, without even a dance background, some others will be retired artists from ballet, modern, and contemporary dance. Yet, I have met so called beginners who were born to do dance, and they were going at it in conceptual pieces.

One of my examples, for my fellow dancers, is William Forsythe, who created a series of conceptual works, right at the apotheosis of his career, involving movement far from his usual aesthetics, a lot of theater, a lot of speech and so on. I quote here one out of many "You made me a monster" for example. And I quote his work just for you to understand that artists sometimes feel the need to take other roads, and separate for simply creating movement that will satisfy you visually, in order to go deeper in processing artistic ideas, and let these grow.

So no, conceptual dance creators are not simple hillbillies who felt the need to go crazy by making a dance piece. Well, in some cases maybe, but still, they are actually voices to be heard, with a content, a statement, or even perhaps a singular idea.

Working at the Biennale di Venezia.

How to look at conceptual dance?

Stay open-minded, it is the first key to appreciate the work of others. It did happen for me, to be sitting in an audience where I was literally thinking of something not even related to the performance I was supposed to watch, yet at some point in the performance, I was able to find the trigger and let my brain enter the key-hole, allowing me to finally understand that performance.

Respect, it is also an important word, to consider the work of others, which are offering it to you as a gift. As much as a ballerina who worked for hours, conceptual performers thought and discussed, rehearsed and practiced for hours.

There is no bad conceptual performance. Actually most of them have either been funded by cultural organisms or by sponsors, which already proves that there is a necessity for whatever you will watch. Also, I must add that many events you will participate in are presented by people, like you and me (who have normal lives) who have worked for a various amount of time, most probably getting very little money. And I think that presenting something that has been studied, and thought through, with the risk of not being financially comfortable, and with the knowledge that what you presented will be highly debated, is very brave. Not because it falls in the social myth of the artist (poor people who think they are doing some good to society), but because it is the manifestation of human beings still wanting to question the world we live in, by presenting art as life itself. Artists involved in conceptual dance do not attempt to please their audiences, and I would hope they strive for the opposite.

At last, yes, you might attend performances that have been improvised, also under a large spectrum of professionalism and work, but I will talk about this with my next blog, offering a summary of my improvisation performance at Galleria Rankka, in Helsinki, Finland.

Feel free to comment and share, whether you just liked this blog, or even if you disagree with me, I would be more than happy to hear your voice as well...

  • Comments(0)//dancerontheroad.thibaultmonnier.com/#post3

ғʀᴇᴇʟᴀɴᴄᴇʀs, ʀᴇsᴇᴀʀᴄʜᴇʀs ᴏғ ᴇᴍᴘᴛɪɴᴇss.

DancePosted by Thibault Mon, September 03, 2018 18:10:31

Being a freelance artist.

Why such a subject?? Because lately many people asked me why I chose not to be part of any other company than the Finnish National Ballet, and my decision was welcomed by rather various statements, from family and friends. Therefore, here are a few aspects of being a freelance dance artist.

To start with, before I took the leap, I had been working for many years on small projects, including dance and photography, yet I did not realize what it took until I jumped in the wild of freelancing by investing all my time into it.
As it seems to happen, I also worked quite a while with small and big dance companies, and I honestly must admit that I would never have imagined that it would be more difficult than being a dance company member.
Actually, we often talk about the difficulties of being part of a dance company from within : the competition, the lack of social life, the financial struggle, the amount of work... Well, here are a few points that will help you understand the difference between being a « professional » dancer and a freelance dance artist.

What does it take to be freelance ?

It actually takes much more than it seems to be freelance.
First and foremost, once you are at it, you are directly exposed with the cost of every single services which are free if you are part of a dance company. For example : morning classes, whether it is ballet, pilates, contemporary... Well guess what ? There is no one wiling to make you train for free, because most probably these coaches and teachers are also freelancers, and also have bills to pay.
But it doesn't stop here. As stupid as it will sound, professional dancers often take for granted the smallest things in their daily work : where you train, where you rehearse (renting a space also costs), buying training clothes (or buying ballet shoes), purchasing a costume and taking care of it... So it does take a lot of effort in order to financially manage that situation.

On top of that comes time management. Yes, silly indeed, but you do have to make up your own schedules, including every bits of training, changing locations, rehearsing and so on. I will not even talk about the amount of time you spend writing emails or funding applications, or even making phone calls. To all the producers I ever worked in the past : I love you and I admire all you ever did for me from the bottom of my heart.
Talking about time management... Space management is also another point, and unless you live in those cities where you can always find work (Paris, London, Berlin, New-York...), being a european freelancer will require from you to travel, A LOT. One might have a homebase somewhere, but one will have to move a lot. So be mentally and physically ready, because that means you will go to places where you can't even train properly, or perform in spaces that do not fit your usual conditions, but hey, positive thinking is the way out, and always remember that you do what you love.

At last, being a freelancer requires a lot of versatility: to be at the best of what you want to offer or do you have to get involved with what makes you better. I myself work with ballet and modern dance, they are in my opinion, the best combinations. It does not make me the best at neither, but it does allow me to land much more projects than others can.

How much time do you spend working ?

As you might have already understood, it requires a lot more than just showing up where you are required to be. Actually, your producer or your director has planned that out for you a while ago already.

So the working shifts can be quite exhausting, going from place to place, trying to make each minute productive and meaningful. And as I already said, every service you buy, becomes a service in which you have to be the best of yourself. Why ? Because you can not let yourself down after making it to this point, and rely on the work you have done so far.
Becoming a workaholic is often what happens for many independent artists. But not only to be stable on a financial level. It is actually due to the liberty that such a status gives you : you have to be focussed to aim in the right directions, plan your projects in the best way, and whenever it happens, make the best out of your collaborations.

Being a freelance dance artist does not happen by just showing up. There are no repetitors, ballet masters or coaches to tell you exactly what to do. Therefore every single bit of time spent in front of a mirror, or on a dance mat by yourself, is a research and a moment for you to become better : nobody will do the work for you, or teach you through how to do it.

Finally, for some of us, being a freelance means working a second/third/fourth job... And on top of all the physical work might come working shifts in order to simply pay your bills. With that comes also working on partnerships and toher artistic projects. You might also have "to work" for free, just so that people get to know you. Be ready to face the challenges of not getting paid, or getting the recognition you deserve, but never agree to anything if you feel that your capicities are being looked down at.

Photography by RaKai Photography.

What makes me strive to keep on going ?

There is beauty in every single moment of freelancing. Being your own boss condemns me as much as it frees me. I am a perfectionist, and I'm not ashamed of it, yet it does come in the way of my work sometimes.

You want to keep pushing to make the best out of your work, and apart from knowing that you might not make it at the end of the month, it is also for you to become the best of what you have to offer as an artist and a person.

People often talk about the discipline you acquire by being part of a corps de ballet/dance group member (which I never had), yet going freelance gave me a whole new lot of responsibilities and helped me mature.
Do not listen to those who forget about those artists who make it and only work by themselves, often say it just happened because they were talented or so. No, hard work is also the key to make it. I do not go to bed before I know I have completed my daily tasks list and have done every thing I could to make my road a little bit longer.

Being a freelance artist teaches me gratitude, and it also teaches diplomacy. We live in a world where all of that if being forgotten, and just for that reason, it makes me strive to keep on going further.

The pros and cons ?

One would like to think before taking such a path. I must admit that I chose to jump in this emptiness a bit hastily and was not really prepared for it, just like many artists I meet. But never become a freelance dance artist by default, whether you decide to be a performer, a teacher, a coach... It will just lead you to being unhappy and frustrated. The world out there is full of beautiful opportunities, do not waste your time with something that clearly doesn't stick to your skin.

If you want it, plan it. Write down all the financial aspects that come to your mind, study the cost of being out there, and the possibility of getting any income according to a time frame you have set for yourself.
Get educated and open your mind. This is the only way you will survive. It means that you might want to study a bit on producing, marketing financing, designing (lights, costumes, sounds...).
Have a plan B to pay your bills, whether it is waitering, or petsitting, there are no little jobs, and the most important is for you to feel calm and relaxed so that you can work in a healthy environment, at the best of your capacities.

Let's face it, it is and it will be hard, especially financially. But being a freelance artist is so gratifying and humbling.

Photography by Marko Rantanen.

The clicheys ?

Nowadays there is this myth about being an artist in general. I often read in social media or magazines that artists are the low ranks of those who didn't make it at school. Freelance dance artists are the ones we like to put even lower, just so that we can establish a hierarchy among the art circles, and within the dance spheres. Directly linked to that, these artists are perceived as lazy, or marginals : they did not invest there time at studying something that would eventually pay, therefore they are lazy (and a bit outcast).

Guess what?! It took me as much time and effort, if not more, to become a professional dancer/choreographer than it might take you to become a doctor.

Well, I speak for myself, but I know that most of my peers can relate... I was a grade A student, and graduated with better scores than those who went on with their academic studies. Few people know, but I actually also studied philosophy and I am now studying other fields. Yet, I do not do something else only because I can't. I remain a dance artist because it makes me happy to give all my time to me and myself only, as well as those who cherish what I have to offer, on top of those smiles and sparkly eyes I can awake when my work is performed.

One clichey is also that freelance artists are weak and technically limited. Well, I assure you that I met so much more talented people in the freelance circles than in dance companies. Dance companies often limit themselves to meeting standards, such as beautiful lines, heights, weights... Yet entering the freelance sphere is overwhelming once you witness all what others have to offer, and compare it with your ex-company-dancer fresh tool box.

That is another struggle once you are out there : staying relevant and competitive. Because you do want your work to sell, and even if I never compared myself to other with hostility, one does have to have very wide eyes open in order to cling onto artistic projects and remain on top of what you can do. So that's one of the other stereotypes: freelance artists just go with the flow : NO, they go at it teeth and claws out because they want it more than anyone else.

Will I do that all my life ?

Probably not. Like I already said to those who asked me. But it doesn't mean that I will quit just because it is hard. It is because it's hard that I keep on going. Yet my road might change at some point because alike many other freelance artists, I have other interests, in different fields than the one I work. For example I love social sciences, I love psychology, I love nature... So, the spectrum of possibility is huge and maybe I'll choose to redirect at some point, which we all have to do as dancers anyway (at some point), and I encourage all my readers to do the same : open your mind and your heart to new experiences and further horizons.

I hope you liked that blog. I want to hear what you thought about it, how it made you feel, and get back to me here : info@thibaultmonnier.com .

Soon I will talk about conceptual dance. So stay tuned for more, because it is just dance, and we just love it.

  • Comments(0)//dancerontheroad.thibaultmonnier.com/#post2

ʟᴀ ʙɪᴇɴɴᴀʟᴇ ᴅɪ ᴀʀᴄʜɪᴛᴇᴛᴛᴜʀᴀ 𝟸𝟶𝟷𝟾

ArtPosted by Thibault Tue, July 31, 2018 19:34:57
Us dancers, always tend to think that we must stick to training in dance and watching dance in order to increase a pseudo 'dance culture' based on what we see and what we do. It is not a lack of interest, nor a lack of education, it is simply because the system we are raised by, (the dance education), is the direct institution responsible for narrowing the way we look at the world surrounding us.

However, I have come to believe that any artist must remain open minded and ready to welcome any new experience, in order to strive in his (or her) own field. This open mindedness is the root to creating new artistic experiences, to open new roads, to invite new audiences, and most important, to stay relevant and re-invent oneself constantly.
(On top of the British pavilion: Island)

For those who have not read my previous article, I summed up my experience at the Biennale di Danza di Venezia 2018 (article just below). I was lucky enough that the dance department is just a tiny part of the bigger festival, which presents an architecture department, putting on display creations from a selection of countries invited: The Biennale di Architettura (of Architecture). It is a huge exhibition, open air and indoors, happening in Venezia's gardens (giardini) and at the Venezia's Arsenale (old military fortress).
Each country invited displays a pavilion, result of a creation depending on a yearly theme. This year the theme was FREESPACE.

FREESPACE was incredible to witness for several reasons. First, because it was interesting to see how each country dealt with the same theme in its own ways. You could clearly read cultural, social and political opinions with each pavilion; that added up to each country's own vision of creativity in architecture. But also because you could read the intention put in each project, sometimes in symbiosis with reality, sometimes in negation with it.
(At the Swiss pavilion)
The pavilion I admired the most was the Swiss exhibition: Svizzera 240: House Tour.
The exhibition space presented a simple empty house, where dimensions and proportions varied as I went from to room. I thought it was simple, but honest, genuine, smart and creative.
I also thought the pavilion was in total rupture with what was expected from the theme, while being the evident description of it: a space where everything is possible and which is yet a social prison from our western societies. In fact, while we live in a time where performance, progress, innovation and competitiveness are key words to succeess; the House Tour simply put on display the reality of our lives, stressing the gaps between our hopes and what we must content ourselves with.
One could really feel the analysis of our modern indoors, which are the direct result of a copy and paste culture, of a middle class eager for urban lives in cities where landscapes are expended following similar patterns, in order to house as many people as possible.
Switzerland really deserved its golden lion (highest recognition from the architecture exhibition). I also appreciate that the indoor was so raw and nude; visitors could just come and go while letting their imagination refurnish and re-imagine each square of the space, which in my opinion was accessible to 100% of the audience, and was the key to the success of the installation.

Of course one of my favorite was also Finland's pavilion, named Mind-building, inspired from Alvar Aalto's work. The exhibition had public libraries at the center of their study, it was a way for them to connect free space with education and architecture; two finnish assets, admired all over the world.
Finland played then its strong cards, even though the building hosting the exhibition was very simple, there was no high ceiling, no extravagant structures and the space was small but not confined. It was very much close to nature, built with simple basic material and surrounded by trees and vegetation. Another way to invite the Biennale's audience into the finnish atmosphere, by bringing a bit of Finland into this beautiful italian garden.
I felt back at home for about 15 minutes, and at the same time I thought the content of the exhibition was really interesting. It also examined the structure of public libraries in terms of urban spatial organisation, the way it affected its visitors in several finnish cities.
At last, I would have hoped for a simpler content. The content put on display offered too much information, and there was a lot of reading material, which I assume was the reason for not awakening as much interest as the other pavilions.
(Finland's pavilion)
Many other pavilions stuck out in my opinion, such as Germany: Unbuilding Walls; which as its tittle evocates, dealt with the destruction of the wall, the transformation of the german space, but first and foremost with the pyschological effect of its people, and the healing process necessary to the german nation.
The Indonesian pavilion: Sunyata: The Poetics of Emptiness, also awoke my curiosity. Once again, it was a space where our modern mathematical way of thinking had been tared down, and where our brain could just go back to analysing a basic spatial organisation, while appreciating a visual and aural symbiosis.

I hate to make negative comments, because I always feel like artist's works always come from genuine places, but I do have to say that I did not appreciate a few pavilions, such as Israel (In Statu Quo: Structures of Negotiation) and the USA (Dimensions of Citizenship).
I felt like their exhibitions were a bit hypocrite, they dealt with welcoming others and accepting cultural differences within their own borders. I will not comment on that, but the actual international politico-social context is enough to discredit the arguments they advanced regarding their open mindedness and acceptance towards one another (as in their respective countries).
Of course, the artists who put up the exhibitions might have done so on purpose, to keep hopes up and show the road towards other directions, but I do wish it would have been done in a different way. That being said, it is just my opinion, and it might be as narrow minded as I experienced it in the moment it happened. smiley

Of course there were many other locations, outside of the exhibiting spaces, such as at the Catholic Church Santa Maria delle Presentazione, where the Vatican was exhibiting Holy See: the Vatican Chapels. There were also outdoors exhibtion throughout the city.
(In the last picture, Egypt pavilion: Robabecciah the Informal City)
Finally, I am sure there was more to see and understand than my brain was able to, and I completely ackowledge that these architectural projects are art pieces in devenire, and that they all propose brighter visions and solutions while reflecting on present situations.

I am forever grateful I was invited to visit the Architecture Exhibtion, thank you to la Biennale di Venezia. Being there definitely triggered my brain into thinking about the definitions of free space, as well as placing it in diferent polical and geographical contexts. It opened new paths for my mind to explore, and gave me artistic ideas for future projects.

I recommend to go and visit it when in Venezia, which affirms its important place as a city of creativity and freedom in the world.
I hope I can come back some day,

  • Comments(0)//dancerontheroad.thibaultmonnier.com/#post1

ʟᴀ ʙɪᴇɴɴᴀʟᴇ ᴅɪ ᴠᴇɴᴇᴢɪᴀ 𝟸𝟶𝟷𝟾

DancePosted by Thibault Sun, July 22, 2018 01:50:42
La Biennale di Venezia is an art festival happening every year (unlike its tittle suggests), in Venezia, Italy.
The festival welcomes a variety of art fields, such as cinema, theatre, dance, music and architecture. Although the event is better known for its cinema and architecture sides, it actually is an amazing connecting platform within the dance world.

As a matter of fact, La Biennale di Danza (which is how the dance department is called), offers every year a week of performances and happenings, such as interviews and open discussions. But it also is a place of research and creativity, as a choreography college is held there yearly. This college is divided in two parts: the students, who get to participate in workshops with international choreographers; the professional dancers, who get to be choreographed on by new choreographers chosen by the artistic director of the dance department.

In 2018, Marie Chouinard (photo with me above) was the artistic director of the Biennale di Danza.
She chose 3 choreographers and 7 professional dancers (which I was selected for), to work together for 6 weeks, in order to put up a full triple bill program to be performed at the end of the creative process.

Now I must express my gratitude.
First, because Madame Chouinard holds a very dear place in my relation with modern dance: the first show I ever went to watch was a mixed program with her 'Prelude to the afternoon of a faun' and 'The rite of spring', back when I was still a student.
But also, I know that so many people around the world applied to actually be part of the program, which is very generous in all aspects, and only 7 of us were invited to come.

There, I had the chance to work alongside Antonella Albanese, Sara Angius, Mario Gaglione, Marie Schruoffeneger, Giulia Spinelli and Luigi Villotta. All together, me included, we represented 4 diferent countries.
And the three choreographers we had the chance to work with were Maria Chiara De’ Nobili (Italy), Ezgi Gungor (Turkey) and Rebecca Jensen (New-Zealand).

(The seven dancers and producer Silvia Polacco)

Now to be honest, the process was both exhausting, and freshening. I would assume people already expect me to talk about the long rehearsals, the never ending days, the physical work required... But what was exhausting was actually the need of brain work required.
You see, these three choreographers came from complete other backgrounds, diferent horizons, diferent cultures even. We also, as dancers, were selected for our diferences, and all together we more or less represented all dance types, from ballet to hip-hop, and dance theatre to neo-classical. We had never worked together, nor did we know each other. We had diferent expectations on the experience, and very diferent needs physically and mentally speaking.
Therefore, the most tiring part was forever adapting to someone creating on me/us with a certain vocabulary, while adapting to each other, and adapting to the context/situation.
Of course, there was also the fact that each choreographer was to create a 20 minutes piece including all 7 dancers. That required from us learning 20 minutes of movement and/or brain work, 3 times. That brings me to talk to what happened from there.

We rehearsed all day, 2 hours per rehearsal, 3 times a day, 2hours break in total.
The morning schedule was also built so that each choreographer would have the chance to explore a way to give out workshops, in order to later generate material, create, and impose their own style. Choreographers took then turns, every day giving their own warmups, one by one, following straight away with their seperate rehearsal times.
This warm up idea was both a good and a bad idea. Obviously it was a great idea as it became then a platform to experiment on how does one create a basis to its language, but it wasn't that great either considering that the amount of time to do so was very short, and that we, as 7 diferent people had our own needs in order to get our machines going and be ressourceful during the day, especially when that day was filled with so many different genres.

I loved every single minute of that time. Of course, some days were really hard to deal with, because of the fatigue, because of life taking over, and for other reasons too. But I must say that I found my share of interest in every of these 3 beautiful choreographing ladies. All of them came in with ideas about what they wanted to do, even when it was unclear, they knew where they wanted to head to. Each choreography was to have personality and soul from the very first day.
The choreographing process took a lot of improvisation, as well as movement analysis. We worked a lot with video, filming ourselves, watching clips... And it was a new way for me to work, as I was mostly used to be told what to do, or create but consciously directing my patterns and my qualities.

For those who read this article in order to find out what and how the choreographers were like, the telling is not my business. I had as much fun performing and creating every piece and if it was to do again, I would do it without even questioning myself (though I would need a very long holiday before re-doing it).
All I feel like I can say is that I felt transformed in every single parts of the final evening, and that as a performer is a true gift from a choreographer.
The audience watching might have not seen the difference, at least I would hope they did, but I felt new and fresh at every curtain going up, as much as I was dying and disappearing at every curtain closing. And here the saying is both a metaphore and a way to give clues on how I physically felt too.

The final pieces can be found here:

(Pictures by Andrea Avezzu, copyrights La Biennale di Venezia)

Otherwise the program at the Biennale di Danza was very nice. Marie Chouinard's Company performed 'RADICAL VITALITY' and 'SOLOS AND DUETS'.
I keep in mind MARLENE MONTEIRO FREITAS's piece called 'BACCHAE-PRELUDE TO A PURGE' as well as MEG STUART with her company DAMAGED GOODS in 'BUILT TO LAST'. Each of these piece were of course very different from one another, but they both had the capacity to bring me to another universe, a place making me think and feel on my/our condition, and I found the beauty of dancing again: the combination of movement and idea(l)s.

  • Comments(0)//dancerontheroad.thibaultmonnier.com/#post0