FAQ

What is the relationship between your choreographic work and your research?

In my performances I just do whatever I feel like. I don't work according to some methodology. Obviously, my work is informed by my research, just as my research is informed by my experience as a choreographer, I am not entirely schizophrenic, but it is not an illustration of my research. Ultimately, like every other artist, I want to create something that I myself am pleased with. Since I'm very critical and hardly ever satisfied with my own work I keep on trying and experimenting.

Is it all improvised?

Yes and no. The individual movements are based upon a set of everyday movements, choreographed phrases and a number of improvisation techniques. The spatial and temporal organisation and the interaction between the dancers are similarly based upon a set of rules. The dramaturgy as well as the lighting, the music and the set design for each piece are set. Thus, the beginning and the end may be set, even though dancer A may emerge from the left in one performance and from the right in the next. There are also different scenes or sections. The order of the scenes may again be set or interdependent (e.g. if certain phrases are performed in the third scene, this determines what happens in the fifth or sixth scene). Since the "input" as well as the rules and techniques differ from piece to piece, every piece has a distinct signature. Since the individual movements are improvised, or at least up to a point, each performance is singular.

What is it about?

It is not "about" something, it "is". I try to bring something into being that would not otherwise grow or exist. Apart from my more formal interest in language and the emergence and dissolution of structures and patterns, some recurring themes in my work are the frictions caused by modernization and globalisation and the fact that much of life is governed by chance. The above notwithstanding some of my pieces do have a theme. Thus, for instance Dog Shelter is about death, while Morning Light is about the hope that emerges after a period of mourning.

How would you describe your work?

Between baroque modernism and dirty realism. I once coined the term pro-formalism to describe my approach to dance and choreography, because everything is done by the book and according to the rules, but that was a joke.

Didn't (..) already do that?

I don't claim that my work or every aspect of my work is original. Of course, the whole notion of originality is one of the most contentious concepts in contemporary aesthetics. In everything I do, whether I'm creating a dance performance or taking photographs, I follow my own fascinations. There are, however, likely to be people who share the same fascinations. If you think that some of my photos look like those of some famous photographer, most likely I will know and admire his or her work.

My way of working is constantly evolving. And yes, I know that William Forsythe has developed many improvisation techniques, that John Zorn also used games in some of his work, that Pina Bausch also presented the dancers with all kinds of questions to work with and that countless artists in various fields have used cut and paste techniques of some kind.

Why dance?

Why indeed? Why not write an essay, pursue a career in finance or fight world poverty? Through my work in different disciplines I am well aware of the limits and possibilities of each medium. I grew up with experimental theatre, but it wasn't until I was at university that I became interested in dance. One day I saw a performance by William Forsythe and it was as if I saw my own thoughts materialized on stage. From that moment on I was hooked and began to explore every corner of the dance world. At some point a friend of mine told me to not just write about dance, but to explore my own ideas. At first I dismissed it, but deep down inside I DID want to create dance myself. So one day I organized a workshop, showed my work to some people, did some shows and the rest as they say is history. I still only work in dance because I enjoy it, because I feel I have something to say and not because a contract requires me to create a new piece as in the institutionalized dance world.