FOR AN OPEN DANCE WORLD Dr Dragan Klaic (Amsterdam) www.draganklaic.eu © D.Klaic 2010 KEDJAUmeo, 6 May 2010
www.draganklaic.eu BEN HUR live ! • The legendary charriot race, with stunst and effects, fire and water, love and revenge, falcons and eagles. A symphonic soundtrack. • Music by S.Copeland (The Police)Book by S.McKenna (“Lord of the Rings” at London Westend)Direction by P. Wm. McKinley (“Wizard of OZ” and “Hair” at Broadway)Design by M. Fisher (“The Wall” / Pink Floyd, Ceremonies at Olympic Games in Bejing)Lighting Design by P.Woodroffe (Design for Floating Stage Bregenz and Rolling Stones)
www.draganklaic.eu Public theater under pressure • By the commercial theater and industry of entertainment • Caught in despair, public theater tends to imitate the commercial theater. • Loses credibility and legitimacy instead of affirming its own values and virtues
www.draganklaic.eu Markers of public theater • Non-commercial, subsidized • driven by artistic vision • eager to find its own public, also by differentiated price policy • serves debate and criticism • emancipated from the hit/flop polarity • open for complexity, ambiguity and uncertainty • surviving on the loyalty of the audience and not on the turn on / turn off hype of anxious consumers
www.draganklaic.eu The paradox of the contemporary dance • marginal art form in a society obsessed with body, speed, movement • engaged in the critical probing of the human body, not in its glamorization and commodization • uses human body to address pain, sadness, failure, decay – not just beauty, love and elegance • explores erotic twists rather than to engage in erotic titillation that marks the advertising • hasn't capitalized much on tango and salsa craze nor on hip hop and breakdance popularity Why not?
www.draganklaic.eu Contemporary dance is a small scale form • a small scale form, small casts • small budgets, small venues, small audiences • [smallness is neither a virtue nor a bad thing per se] • small venues are comfortable, flexible, safe and cozy • yet sustainable only with subsidies (that will be reduced in the coming decade as public authorities fight their accumulated deficits by cutting all expenditure in public services) • small venues need to expand and renew their loyal audience by recruiting refugees from the tsunami of triviality, produced by the cultural industry • Need to alter producing and presenting practices and patterns
www.draganklaic.eu How dance work is being made • Choreographers are lonely creators. What prompts their creation? What shapes their worldview, if they have one? • Creation in a dance company context is a rarity • Even there, various choreographers at work do not deliver coherence and a common framework • Most creation occurs in the ad hoc circuit • 5-60 min pieces, packaged by producers and presenters. A marketing nightmare. • If shown together in the same evening program, what do they have in common?
www.draganklaic.eu Initiate production partnerships • choreographers and/or directors share a conceptual framework • working together or in parallel • work on the same premises, question, topics, issues, each in own way • use the same initial material • share the same dramaturg • or share visual or sound elements • their work is presented together, in the same program or in a clearly profiled series
www.draganklaic.eu Make larger programming templates • venues should program in clear cut coherent series, thematic or otherwise defined • rather than in a hodgepodge of constantly changing names and titles that confuse and disoriente the average potential theatergoer • concentration and serialization do not have to affect creative freedoms but enhance distinction and recognition in a clogged cultural market • add various additional components to a program, from other artistic domains or of discursive nature. • An example: Sascha Waltz Medea in Radial, Berlin: a temporary community of concern • rather than to fish for a not yet existing audience for a single isolated artistic work or an arbitrary combination of pieces by different, unallied choreographers, to be shown 3 or 5 times
www.draganklaic.eu Series could be more thematically profiled • framed by the same question • or by a well known artist who inspired the work shown • or a well known artistic work to which the program refers • anything that gives some meaning to the whole • not a marketing issue but a cognitive question and an intellectual stimulus, • ultimately, a political question: affirm public space against corporate encroachment and profit oriented entertainment
www.draganklaic.eu Creative platform, discursive platform • the more a venue dares to function as a discursive platform, the more it frames productions featured with debates, dialogues, discussions, linking the work shown to some of the burning questions of the day, • the more the venue becomes a facility of the local civil society, a resource of deliberative democracy • rather than a place of entertainment – such as the commercial venues are • in the creative process, a self-referential work of art can emerge • but in presenting strategies, referentiality will strengthen the appeal of the work and recruit a public for it • seek an audience of shared interest, concerns, values, life styles
www.draganklaic.eu Don't forget Ben Hur • Vibrancy, complexity, polemic intonation wont compete with the Ben Hur • but will strengthen theater as a public good and as a public space, in a democracy distorted by the overwhelming mediatization of politics • Encourage contemporary dance creativity, but not in a self-built ghetto