16 Kasım 2017 Perşembe

Dreams… Objections… Alternatives… Dance Utopias? (*)

Berna Kurt
November, 2017

If utopia is a kind of “better world” conception, first thing to do by people who think that “another world is possible” is dreaming of ideal places/situations /states, imagining a kind of dreamland... It’s both possible to just imagine or try to realize the dream; just oppose the existing situation or try to put something else in its place...

When I was asked to do something about utopia and dance, I immediately began dreaming... Of course, those dreams were related to “me” or my personal experiences: my experiences of making choreographies, performing/dancing on stage, dance writing/criticism, making research on dance, translating dance writings, watching dance pieces… so on and so forth…

The first image in my mind was a more “local” one: related to my experiences of both performing “local” dances and participating in/seeing of revolts: multiple bodies… all together hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder... very different ones ... male or female, beautiful or ugly, old or young, healthy or unhealthy… doesn’t matter... people “embodying” their resistance, people building a kind of “collectivity”? ... no dance leader/“command”er and his/her followers… everyone is aware of their differences, still equal ... horon, halay, hora ... place-region etc. of the dance does not matter at all…

Another image is a flow of visual images: photographs and videos of the “revolutionary?” people of dance history ... those that I have seen/read or shown in my courses... very similar with the situation in visual arts, whoever has the “power” write “their” dances... the dancers of the ruling world are flowing in my mind because the dance history is the history of Western theatrical dances like ballet, modern dance and  contemporary dance ... neither the street dances of blacks nor the rituals of the indigenous people
are included in those narratives ... The ones in my mind are the “dissidents” ... Yvonne Rainer’s “No Manifesto” for example ... No to spectacleno to virtuosity ... no to the star image… no to the heroic… no to… so on and so forth…

When contemplating about the issues “manifested” in No Manifesto, I’m asking to myself: what about my issues/concerns? What do I oppose and what do I want? Well, my dreamland is of course related to my real life issues: But I don’t say “no to…”, I just keep dreaming ... even if not writing a manifesto, I put in line or “manifest” my first thoughts/dreams coming into my mind… as a stream of consciousness…   I dream:

-All bodies being free...
-All kind of bodies performing (much more) on the dance scene...
-No one being ashamed of dancing ... For example, no one thinking that the dance or the leotards may “break up” the manhood…

-Having no meaningless distinctions like male/female dance/movement ...
-Women being dance leaders... no, it’s better to have no dance leader at all… or s/he can always change during the collective dance… or nobody takes the role of another one to be more “visible” on stage ...

-Having no focus point on stage, as everyone can be watched ... Actually, having more “participating in” than “watching” the dance…

-Dancers being able to earn their living and not having to do all the work -other than performing or making choreographies….
-The quantity and quality of dance studios and independent dance artists constantly increasing... all acting in solidarity...

-Having no hierarchy between dance genres ...
-Having research/writing/historiography on everyone’s dances / all dance genres...
-Having no attribution of ethnicity, national…etc. identity to the dances…

-Dance departments being no sub-units of music or theater departments at universities, but independent ones…
-Dance researchers being able to work and be appreciated in my country... dance departments being no more closed ...
-Dance teachers not focusing on getting personal victories or fighting against each other but on contributing to develop this limited space…

-Dance writing being as appreciated as dancing itself...
-Nobody asking me again: “But what’s the relation between dance, history and politics?”... Getting rid of telling myself again and again ...
-My “real” job being performing, reading about, writing on dance… having enough time for each of them…

Yes…some nice dreams… waiting to come true and make our world a better one… some nice dreams that we may make true... 😊

(*) Artist 2017 / 27. İstanbul Sanat Fuarı kapsamında, 4-12 Kasım 2017 tarihleri arasında gerçekleşen ve küratörlüğünü Fırat Arapoğlu'nun yaptığı "Düşleyebileceğin Tek Yer" sergisinin kataloğunda yayımlanan yazı. Sergi blog'u ve kataloğu için bkz. https://tuyaputopya.wordpress.com/

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