On choreography, writing, reading and research
The following collection of articles sums up the choreographic activity at Kelim Choreography Center throughout 2013. The program I had been invited to facilitate that year was devoted to researching choreographic creative processes. It was the brainchild of Anat Danieli, who wished to gather the knowledge and experience accumulated through creative processes, training and various workshops in order to formulate and publish choreographic models.
The following collection of articles sums up the choreographic activity at Kelim Choreography Center throughout 2013. The program I had been invited to facilitate that year was devoted to researching choreographic creative processes. It was the brainchild of Anat Danieli, who wished to gather the knowledge and experience accumulated through creative processes, training and various workshops in order to formulate and publish choreographic models. Two assumptions that command special attention underly her objective: choreographic processes can produce knowledge; these processes can be formulated as a generic creative model. I will later elaborate on these basic assumptions and on the manner we approached them. With hindsight, Danieli’s initiative can be formulated as the intention to address the poetics of the choreographic process and its genesis–an act related also to subjectification, as I will illustrate in the collection’s summary.
Since Danieli suggested to base the research on the annual activities at Kelim, we set up a program that integrated hands-on contemporary choreographic practices and theoretical approaches to contemporary writing and thinking about dance. We defined three types of activity: a reading group for artists, which I led, a methodology course on choreographic models led by Lior Avizoor, and, at the program’s very core, master workshops led by Rotem Tashach, Iris Erez and Nava Frenkel. The reading group and the model group explicitly addressed the knowledge and thought intrinsic to choreographic practice, while the master workshops invited the three choreographers to articulate that knowledge. These three activities took place between October 2012 and June 2013, along the regular group Anat Danieli leads at Kelim.1 The articles in this collection sum up the various processes guided by the workshops’ leaders. Iris Lana and Dr. Yael (Yali) Nativ were invited to accompany and observe the participants as they worked through and wrote about the materials from October 2012 to December 2013. Their comments helped unravel and shed light on aspects hidden “between the lines,” which the authors were then able to reflect on and address in writing.
Our compilation thus wishes to raise questions on the essence of contemporary choreographic practice, though without defining it in any dogmatic, restricted, authoritative manner. In his essay What is Literature and Does it Matter? literary scholar Jonathan Culler raises a similar question about literature. He argues that the question “What is literature?” is raised because “critics and theorists hope, by saying what literature is, to promote what they take to be the most pertinent critical methods and to dismiss methods that neglect the most basic and distinctive aspects of literature. ” (2000: 41) Unlike these critics and theorists, all the authors in this book mean to steer clear of the coerciveness Culler described and, as a whole, of regulating the creative process with rules, tables and flowcharts. As a result, this collection does not include rules or laws of choreographic composition, but, rather, offers new ways of looking that shed fresh light on the familiar choreographic practice, revealing to both practitioners and scholars its ample possibilities.