CLOSE ENCOUNTERS conference -The Dancer as Agent

23-24 November 2013 the CLOSE ENCOUNTERS conference: The Dancer as Agent, took place at the University of Dance and Circus in Stockholm. This time the focus was on the performing dance artist with discussions about the dancer's role in the working process of creations and repertory work.

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS is DOCH's research forum; an opportunity to meet, talk, share and show our work and the processes we live. This is a dynamic and creative environment where we bring art, pedagogy, science and established theories together to help develop new bodies of knowledge.

This time the focus was on the performing dance artist with discussions about the dancers' role in the working process of creations and repertory work. We addressed performing dance artists from different contexts with experience of different working processes. The number of participants was around 60.


The Dancer as Agent was a conference inviting the expansion of our understanding of the roles and methodologies performing dance artists are currently producing.  Although the role of the dancer has evolved tremendously in the last 20 years many of the experiential practices dancers employ remain out of view --  embedded in modes of production that emphasize authorship as an externalized procedure. 

It's not uncommon for a creation process to demand that dancers develop methodologies, movement vocabularies and conceptual frames. Whereas these were once seen as the exclusive domain of choreographers, dramaturges and directors, procedural boundaries are shifting now and eroding creative hierarchies.  Roles in the work place are no longer permanent professional identities -- a performing artist may find herself in a completely different role depending on the needs of the creative process.  This change of relationship within work processes has produced new, mostly undocumented relationships to work and bodies of knowledge. 

The Dancer as Agent conference wanted to shed light on performing dance artists' approaches and the impact of experiential authorship on artistic production and research.  Starting points included both established theories on performative practices in the work place and emerging thought on these topics. We looked at how participants move through different creative processes, i.e.:  how technical tools are transformed by context, how artistic identity morphs into a by-product,  how subjectivity can generate performative objects and at how the definition of “material” has  evolved in live performance.

Choreographic procedures was considered for how they contextualize, catalyze and disseminate knowledge in the workplace. Performative practices was looked at for their ability to move dynamically between different artistic productions, for the by-products they create, for their pedagogical application and for their contribution to social awareness. 

A book with written material and videos from The Dancer as Agent conference will be published during spring 2015.

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