Departures and Arrivals




First came the idea of a piece for which João only had a title: Self-titled. This was both enigmatic and somewhat referential in an obscure way. This title triggered two things. One: the image of a snake and the literary image this snake creates at its turn. Two: the memory of a practice a friend abandoned. The idea was to record series of dance improvisations in order to analyze recurring patterns and eventually track them. This is where the Self-titled found its first place.

To come back to the process of recording series of dance improvisations, it is perhaps necessary to link it to the word repetition. The latter can be heard as a rehearsal - the necessity to repeat a movement - but it can also evoke the idea of re-occurrence or resurgence. These insisting patterns take the forms of images, flashing ones. This means that one is able to tell: " (...) yes, when you do this move like (...)". This image that retains the attention might do so because it is a common place of contemporary dance (why? from when? who? Example: who is guilty for being the first person to coin the term non-dance, and why did one do such a thing?) or associated to the improviser (example : this dancer is known for enjoying spinning around), or unknown and for this reason, striking.

Instead of seeing the improvisation as a whole undifferentiated succession of events, the point would be to look at it by fragments, stills. Images would be extracted from the improvisation in order to be looked at and analyzed, and later to be augmented or developed according to what they recall. This would allow for a closer look to what could be called dance cliché as well as trying to identify what escape to it and how imagination can be relaunched where it could have ceased. If the image of a woman stuffed in a nineteenth century outfit pops up for a second, perhaps a digression needs to be done. This digression would include a time out of the studio, looking for and at images, and a time back in the studio where this intuitive invention would be invested in new improvisations, according to the found images, before being set. The result could be a three minutes improvisation extended to half an hour, the time being taken to invest into those digressions.

There is in this process of improvising a feeling of infinity both because of the fact that there might be no need to stop it, but also because the re-occurrence would impose the idea of beginning again. The two meanings of repetition found here a way to be put in dialog: what is repeated during repetitions? How the habits of filming oneself with a Mac computer camera (pure 2000's phenomena) is linked to the dance studio world, the aquarium? Is there another way to use this tool? How these images can be looked at? Does the necessity to rehearse find its place in order to see what is repeated?

The last project João and Cyriaque did together was the writing of a catalog for an exhibition they never saw. Like any catalog, this one included an interview. Being the only protagonists of the absence, they asked eachother questions. The conclusion was to continue with this type of discussion (for it was very emulating) out of the catalog. A year has passed. It seems to be about time to carry on with this idea. Let us postulate that the kind of process we described here above would only make sense if being shared by two persons and that it would therefore constitutes an ideal continuation of our past collaboration. The discussion launched a year ago had to do with the question of working together and artistic practice. It would seem logical to find in the present project an attempt to put at test these two questions. What in improvisation can refer to the common in that it is repeated?

The form this work would take isn't decided yet but a dance solo shared by two persons is to be expected. A picture book.



A project by and with: João dos Santos Martins & Cyriaque Villemaux
Light: Rui Monteiro
Production and diffusion: Circular Associação Cultural
Co-production: Circular Festival de Artes Performativas, Alkantara Festival
Residencies: Alkantara, Forum Dança, Graner, O Espaço do Tempo, A22

This project is made possible with support from [DNA] Departures and Arrivals/European commission Culture Program