Afternoon Dust

Ideal, and remote: Interview with Daniel Abreu

Perro

“You had leaned over the still pool of some Greek woodland and seen in the water’s silent silver the marvel of your own face. And it had all been what art should be–unconscious, ideal, and remote.”

Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, quoted in the programme notes for Cie. Daniel Abreu’s Equilibrio

I'd rather dance with you than talk with you

Recently I was very privileged to attend the inaugural Aerowaves Spring Forward dance platform, ‘Plesna Vesna’, in Ljubljana. As well as watching a marathon 20 performances in two-and-a-half days, I was fortunate to be able to talk with many wise and experienced dance producers, presenters and makers, and to listen and learn from them.

To listen is to shudder

headphones

For a while I was beginning to wonder if I’d already grown too old for new music. Over the past few months, however, I’ve had my ears opened to a whole world of beguiling, engaging music I never knew existed. This music is often categorised under labels such as ‘microsound’, ‘modern classical’, or ‘post-ambient’, though I must admit I have no idea what any of those terms actually mean; typically it is open in its form (as opposed to the rigid verse-chorus structure of most pop music) and tends to use natural acoustic sounds that are then heavily processed, often beyond recognition.

Look me in the mirror and tell me you're happy

Resolution! 2011: De Preter & Svensson, Inverted Dance, Hagit Yakira
The Place, London
Friday 18th February 2011

Ulrika Kinn Svensson and Koen De Preter

Joss Arnott and Maaikor Dance at Resolution! 2011

Review: Joss Arnott, Maaikor Dance, Côte à Côte
Resolution!, The Place
Saturday 8th January 2011

Anastasia Kostner in Maaikor Dance, 'Heart of Ice'

Judith Butler goes to the ballet

Judith Butler is a name that crops up a lot in recent writing on performance, so I thought I’d better get myself acquainted with her work. Her first book Gender Trouble was published in 1989, and succeeded in stirring up a storm of controversy, establishing the terms of debate for much of her later writing. In the book, Butler contests the widespread notion that gender is a cultural expression of a pre-existing, biologically-determined sex. Instead, she argues that both gender and sex are produced by a cultural discourse that, in the very act of producing them, sets limits on what the two terms can mean. Butler understands ‘discourse’ as a set of acts that come to establish cultural norms and values through incessant repetition, to the point where they take on the illusion of being ‘natural’ (that is, originating in some biological or psychological essence that precedes culture).