Background: Rescripting dance – New translocal initiatives                                                 

In fall of 2018 we, Artistic Director Holly Bright and Curator Rickard Borgström, met in Nanaimo, Vancouver Island. We found common ground through curiosities in recent artistic developments and experiences in working with performing arts festivals on the edge, in the province, where one engages in one’s local community as much as connecting to the rest of the world, where one finds affinities as shared interests.

In the last two decades within our regional performing arts fields, we have seen the rise of artistic practices that thematisize social-political matters within the work itself, in what it does (relational strategies, social engagement), more so than being about a certain political point of view. As we discussed these developments we wondered if these artistic practices were implicit reactions to the process of weaken the state, or in Nordic terms the Welfare State.[1]

We also recognize an urgent shift in these art practices in our recent decade, where the relational strategies have expanded into a register of the senses and affect, leading toward a more porous, entangled, environment beyond the human-to-human logic, thus expanding dance to a more complex web of human and non-human actors, or in other words a more-than-human ecology, of coexistence and interdependence. The latter questions intersect with social, cultural, political, economic, scientific, ecological concerns of our time that call for expansive visions on how to organize life on a global, even planetary scale, as well on an everyday, social, sphere.

Meanwhile the pandemic has paralyzed the global performing arts system. And it has brought unjust structures to the fore proving the current model to be unsustainable, be it ecologically or socially. ‘Business as usual’ is no longer an alternative.

The pandemic reinforces our dire need to reimagine our artistic and curatorial practices from a vantage point that acknowledges its deep entanglement with ecological systems and the social fabric, both local as global, without losing sight of the asymmetrical relations of resources. That is, how do we, in our communities, despite the current state of geopolitical tensions, environmental injustice (and pandemic), explore new forms of collaborations, working models and dance, and rethink our infrastructure, within these conditions? 

This has led us to initiate a research project into these new formats between 2021- 2023 in the Nordic region and Canada. In the process we let our desires and imagination move us to reshape the relations between dance, stages, audience, artists, curators, contexts and discourses. 

As part of our research, we are interested in reaching out to peers who work in disparate contexts, with specific discourses, to discuss these emergent forms with us in a public forum. 

Our first short pilot (April- July 2021) is an artistic exchange between two artists from Vancouver Island and two artists from Sweden, as well as a series of public conversations.

[1] Additionally these practices can be viewed as an increasing historical and contemporary criticism of the ongoing state’s failures and misconducts in relation to its diverse communities.

Thank you Giron Sámi Teáhter

With support from Suomen Kulttuurirahasto, Vancouver Foundation, Made in B.C. dance on tour, City of Nanaimo, The British Columbia Arts Council , British Columbia

⟶ PART I 15. June 2021
Working Alone Together – New modes of translocal artistic collaboration
In what ways might we persist in artistic exchange and presentation despite current limitations and considerations? What new modes of collaboration might be invented? What dance formats can transmit embodied live experiences for a live audience, while taking distance into account?

Marit Shirin Carolasdotter [Sápmi/SE] Genevieve Johnson [CA] Samantha Letourneau [CA] Mårten Spångberg [SE]

PART II 8. July 2021
The lure of the translocal and its discontent
– New curatorial initiatives

The pandemic is a tale of the accelerated transformation of our ecological system and it foregrounds the unjust structures as the asymmetrical relations of resources within our global performing arts field. The need to reformulate international collaboration is inevitable, so how do we reshape our curatorial practice in response to that need? Would exploring trans-local collaborations, where international aspirations are embedded in one’s locality, be a way forward? A translocality that on one hand engages in the diversity of one’s own locality and on the other operates as a cultural node in a connected network of affinities that transgress national borders. What would such curatorial work look like? What are the critical implications of such trans-local collaboration?

Martine Dennewald, Co-Artistic Director, FTA- Festival TransAmériques [LU]
Thorbjørn Gabrielsen, Artistic Director, Stamsund Teaterfestival [NO]
Emily Johnson, Choreographer and Curator First Nations Dialogues [US]
Elle Sofe Sara, Choreographer and Founder of Dáiddadállu- Sámi artist collective [Sápmi/NO]

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