Departures and Arrivals



Documenting the P.A.R.T.S. Research Cycle
P.A.R.T.S. - Johanna Cockx


‘Choreography, performance, sound, music’ is the name of the second pilot project of the P.A.R.T.S. Research Studios that started in August 2015 and will run until November 2016. In three clusters, starting from research questions concerning the broad field of choreography and music, ten young dramaturges and choreographers are examining and developing their choreographic language. They do this through a series of workshops, seminars, master classes and lectures, combined with studio time to develop their own artistic work. Today, when I am writing this, we are May 2016: the end of cluster #2. A lot of personal and collective work is growing. The question of documentation arises. In the context of my internship at P.A.R.T.S. I was able to organize a series of short interviews with the research students, that found its sediment in a paragraph and chosen image for each of them. The interviews focused on the participant’s backgrounds and how their personal work at P.A.R.T.S. arises from it. Due to time and logistic restrictions I was not able to interview all the students and to map fully the collaborative strands evolving between them. It might be the goal of future documentation to elaborate this work and to shed more light on the arising collective network. For now, we keep it on a short, but not less warm and inspiring acquaintance…


William Ruiz-Morales

The first student I interviewed was William. He originally comes from Cuba and has a background as dramaturge. At the P.A.R.T.S. Research Studios, he is questioning the meaning of this background: ‘What is the practice that I do?’. He has been trying to develop a practice of expanded dramaturgy, beyond the established forms of the practice, specifically in Europe. An important source of inspiration was the work of the Cuban poet/writer/art critic Severo Sarduy, who in the sixties abided in Paris in the company of several poststructuralists. Built around Sarduy’s idea of a ‘Galaxy of voices’, William’s work takes the form of two main research lines, each with a different formal outcome. In Lecture on the idiot he is developing an idiosyncratic language for thinking, based on the dislocation of the speaking person. A self-written text will be read out loud by a distribution of different voices. The second line of research is evolving into a performance. The production of material is structured game-like, by a list of restrictive elements that the performers have to start from to produce their own interpretation. This can be a rhythm, a text, a pattern, a medium, a trajectory, an equation, … From this very abstract, codified input the performers will create very personal, but also very simple answers that will be used as basis for the future piece.


Naïma Mazic

Naïma is trained as a contemporary dancer and educator at the conservatory in Vienna. Since her childhood she has been immersed in a musical environment. That is probably how the curiosity for her research project slipped in, for which she is drawn to the crossovers, the interplay, the frictions, between contemporary jazz music and dance. In her view, the two disciplines have characteristics in common, yet, she noticed, very seldom happen to be used together. Departing from this observation, Naïma designed a score in the form of a lead sheet of a jazz tune consisting of nine fundamental questions.

Form: A B C A

Mode: A Position Of Doubt

Tempo: ♩ = Let Yourself Be Surprised By The Results

‘What is jazz-apprehension of time? How can the heartbeat of jazz function in contemporary dance?’, was especially a question that she wanted to investigate. She started to experiment with the different parameters of jazz music, eager to discover how they can feed into dance and choreography in an artistically and aesthetically interesting manner. A considerable part of her research was therefore devoted to a study of the structures and tools of (jazz) music, specifically rhythm.  She trained herself to incorporate different ‘off beat-’ and polyrhythms, trying to find a movement quality that embodies a ‘groove’ deriving from different specific methods. Collaborations with the dancer Akiyoshi Nita and the percussionist Ruben Martinez Orio were an important part of the process. From where she is now, Naïma would like to develop her movement material into a piece.


Susanna Hood

Active already for a considerable time as a vocalist and dancer at her home base in Canada, Susanna has been developing her own artistic work since the mid-90s, with a strong focus on voice and movement. The P.A.R.T.S. Research Cycle is for her an opportunity to question her artistic practice and have it grow into different directions. As a starting point, she invited a lot of different people (artists and non-artists) to provide her with ‘scores’. These scores (37 in total) function as an incentive for her to formulate artistic answers to each of them. These answers can take the form of language, poetry, music, movement, video registrations… At the same time Susanna uses the scores as a lens to observe her own working process. A chart filled in for each score serves as a tracking instrument. Awakening a lot of associations, the processing of the scores now apparently takes more time than originally thought (only 6 from the 37 are currently processed). One score in particular (the picture below) is taking a central position. Susanna would like to develop the artistic answers on this score into a public showing. A second aspect of this presentation would be a ‘gesture’ going through all the scores that communicates a thread running through them all. This hasn’t yet found its actual form, but could become a lecture, a performance, a stand-up comedy show, … or still something completely different.


Azahara Ubera Biedma

Azahara studied Spanish folklore, classical and contemporary dance at the conservatory of Madrid. After her graduation, she traveled a lot, moving to London, New York, San Francisco,… accumulating experiences as a performer but also studying on a more theoretical level, at Goldsmith University. Again in Madrid, she organized a laboratory on social choreography called Corales, and became a member of the research group Somateca on creep-queer practices at the Museo Reina Sofia. In her research at P.A.R.T.S. Azahara also tries to conceive political impact with her artistic work, particularly with respect to feminine voices and the different silent voices in history that stay otherwise unheard. In the project Zinneke she tries to recollect, to archive these silent voices and give them a platform by re-enacting them with her own voice in a musical creation with a loop station. Copla (a form of Spanish popular song), pop music, electronic music, poems, slogans and expressions of her own mother are woven together into a dense sound landscape. Next to this personal creation, Azahara also organizes a more collective kind of research that she calls Manada. Manada is a series of group workshops with a rich diversity of people from outside P.A.R.T.S.. The participants exchange ideas about the question ‘what is feminism?’ and engage in movement exercises with respect to the ‘action of care’. This is growing into a collective group performance.


Kevin Skelton

When I went interviewing Azahara, I found her practicing her Zinneke voices together with Kevin. He was giving her exercises and advice to use her voice in a more voluminous way. Kevin is originally from Canada, but lives now for approximately a decade in Belgium. He has a background in music, mainly as a professional singer. In recent years he got interested in exploring the possibilities of combining classical singing with contemporary dance. He deployed this unique combination already in performances of different international artists and companies, but also produces his own artistic work under the auspices of his company ātmā. In the last years Kevin is developing his own teaching practices, combining voice and movement. It is on these pedagogical practices he wants to elaborate in the P.A.R.T.S. Research program. A source that guides him in his work is Ilse Middendorf’s breath work. As in the case of Azahara, he is working one-on-one with students from the program who encounter the combination voice-body in their work. In these encounters he not only grows in his own teaching practices, but also learns a lot from the dialogue with others artistic work. In the future Kevin would like to gain experience in working with groups. His public presentation probably will take the form of a collective class.


Talia de Vries

Originally from Israel, Talia graduated her B.A studies in Performing Arts in the University of Paris 8 and CNDC d’Angers. She started making her own work and developing her own creative frames since 2011. In her work, themes as time, past and memory emerged as a common thread, whichseemed to fit very well with the content of the Research Cycle at P.A.R.T.S., that focuses on conceptions of time and rhythm. In the artistic process, Talia engages with three different materials: movement research, text work and creation of digital images. In her movement research, she works on what is between stillness and movement and has been collaborating with William Ruiz Morales and the dancer Johann Nöhles. In the text work she has been collaborating with two of her classmates, Susanna Hood and Bryana Fritz. Together with them, Talia has been manipulating the text, deforming and restructuring it, into a composition for three voices. In the creation of digital images, Talia works with old family photos from the late 1920s and early 1930s. By erasing and distorting the main topics or people in the pictures digitally, a certain ‘void’ of memory comes to the surface. The pictures thematize the impossibility of representation, in particular representation of the past. Taken altogether, time experience, slowness, delay and silence are the most important choreographic principles that allow her to interact with memory.


Klaas Freek Devos

Another research student that is engaged with time as a choreographic principle is Klaas. ‘How to be in two places at the same time?’ and ‘how to be in one space at different moments?’ are two main questions in his artistic research at P.A.R.T.S. Trained as a dancer at the conservatory of Antwerp, as well as more theoretically in a master in theatre and film studies, Klaas traces the foundations of his current work largely back to his artistic research at A.PASS in accompaniment of continental philosophy. At A.PASS he examined the effects of sensorial deprivation as the departure point for a performance. The project nourished his interest in the ‘becoming of movement’, when input pulverizes and duration and temporality becomes relative. His current work starts from the acceptance that a body is always implicitly expressiveness. Together with three other students he is developing Almost Everything Happens, a choreographed movement research into an intensified temporal and spatial awareness of the self, as we also find in situations as ‘waiting’ or ‘flirting’. A very subtle performance emerges from it, in which instantaneousness, disjunction and the workings of time are acquiring an important role. The body as sensomotoric and psychomotoric social facilitator takes a central position in Klaas’ work.


Vincente Colomar

Vincente was originally trained as an actor, in the National School of Drama in Madrid. Mainly performing in work of other artists, he felt more and more the need to create his own work. A master in visual arts and performative practices nourished his interest for interdisciplinary work. Especially the discourses of contemporary dance proved very fruitful for him. After a successful graduation tour and some further collective research in Spain, he sought to amplify his network outside his home country and found the Research Studios to be a good place for this. The departure point for his personal work at P.A.R.T.S. is ‘the gaze’, which he is examining as an active, embodied viewing, not only as a visual activity, but also in relation to touch and hearing. His main methodology is the development of movement material, but as a departing point for this, he uses the dissolution of cinema into performing arts. By working with concepts as ‘extreme close-up’ versus ‘long shot’, or using cinematic sound as a kind of circular listening, Vincente is deepening his research into the gaze and its meaning as a choreographic element. Although he is not trained as a dancer, he is developing his own ‘dance’, based on gestures and actions.