Re-thinking dance

Cooperation between AREAL Buchares and European Dancehouse Network

We are living unprecedented and difficult times in which the body is obliged to take distance, the touch is forbidden, the mobility of artists is limited and most of dance projects are happening online. How do artists and independent professionals work in these times of change without obscuring, colonizing and further marginalizing the people and territories that were already confined in the margins? How do we embrace and understand alternative modes of working when the spaces where marginalized cultural professional have been working are at risk of being overwhelmed and uncredited? How do we decolonize our own minds and our work, free of our own problematic practices and move towards collaboration, cooperation and generative, generous practices?

The international conference “Re-thinking dance – New ways of working together internationally in dance” aimed to create a space for reflection regarding the above questions and more as well to look into the future of dance during this pandemic time. The conference was the result of cooperation between AREAL Bucharest and European Dancehouse Network. Initially it was planned to take place live in Bucharest during a showcase initiated by AREAL | space for choreographic development, a collective initiative launched in 2020 in Bucharest by 4 dance structures, in connection with the opening of a new dance space. Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus crisis, the opening of the space was postponed for 2021.

Organizers opened the conference to everyone interested to join their efforts to re-think the future of dance. The discussion kicked-off with a short introduction of the Romanian dance scene by Alexandra Balășoiu (Indie Box, co-founder AREAL), Simona Deaconescu (director Tangaj Dance and Bucharest International Dance Film Festival) and Vava Ștefănescu (manager National Dance Centre in Bucharest). Subsequently Pia Kramer, then EDN Network Manager, briefly introduced the European Dancehouse Nework and an initiative – Perform Europe – a Consortium of Performing Arts Networks (IETM, EDN, EFA, Cirostrada and IDAS -Consulting), who won the tender for a Platform for the cross-border distribution of European Performing Art Works.

Furthermore guest panelists from Austria, Germany, Serbia and Czech Republic Marijana Cvetković (Station/Belgrade), Gisela Muller (Tanzfabrik Berlin), Karin Pauer (choreographer, Vienna), Yvona Kreuzmanova (Tanec Praha/Prague) were invited to share their thoughts on the proposed topic as well to give a short update on their own current situation and projects. Organizers opened floor to all participants to contribute with their thoughts on how to re-think dance of the future, but also on what kind of measures and initiatives the contemporary dance field needs urgently today. The conference and discussions was moderated by Cosmin Manolescu, an artist and manager who played an important role in the development of contemporary dance in Romania.

Exp: Provident molestiae et iusto.

The Re-thinking dance | new ways of working internationally in dance conference was organised by Gabriela Tudor Foundation on the behalf of AREAL, in collaboration with European Dancehouse Network, Goethe Institut Bukarest and the Austrian Cultural Forum in Bucharest and is part of the “4 Bodies | Collective for dance” cultural programme and of the “Body Season” cultural project cofunded by the the Administration of the National Cultural Fund.

AREAL | space for choreographic development is a collective initiative launched in 2020 by Gabriela Tudor Foundation, Indie Box, Delazero Association, Association for Theatre and Books and choreographer Andreea Belu, aiming to support collaboration, artistic creation, professional development and the dialogue between artists, public and the contemporary dance scene. The values of AREAL are research, creative processes in studio, mobility, interdisciplinarity, alternative education, awareness, well-being, time for reflection, meeting and dialogue space between dance makers, presenters and the public. More information on Romanian contemporary dance scene is available in the study The Contemporary Dance Scene in Romania – a research made by from the ecology of culture perspective by Ștefania Ferchedău & Raluca Iacob, produced by GT Foundation.