The Problem of Choreography


 Etymologically speaking problem comes from Greek problema, literally thing put forward: proballein: pro= forward + ballein = to throw. If we continue searching, ballein comes from ballistics, the art of throwing projectiles, which gives to the quality of ballein the intentionality of throwing in order to hit a target. Belonging to the same family of words there is the word ballizein= to dance, which following previous definition would mean to throw one´s body.

 This etymological considerations regarding the meaning of dance, stimulate the potential interpretations of the practice of choreography. After having linked the body, any kind of body, with the art of ballistics, we can understand the mission of choreography as the art of problematizing, namely, throwing out there projectiles, bullets, on space and time, or, in another words, the set of practices that articulate problems on space and time. The question for choreography would be this one: How to turn any situation into a problematic situation?

 To make a dance project is to project problems. The mission of articulating problems belongs intrinsically to the practice of choreography. To articulate problems implies to throw out there question marks, bodies become question marks, to throw in the distance a question, a difficulty that transform the scenario into a controversial scenario, into a more difficult scenario. Problems turn the situation into a turbulent event. To practice dance is now seen as the art of generating dilemmas, a turbulence that transform the space into a puzzle and generates perplexity and occasionally vertigo because the situation turns int a trouble, a turbid agitated confused disordered event. The choreographer brings tempestuous weather.

 This is specially important since we started talking about expanded choreography: how to expand a practice implies to think in terms of strategies and tactics of occupation. In which sense choreography is different from the practice of war? I will leave the answer open for personal statements. What is clear is that to problematize implies necessarily to be ready to operate within a frame of tensions, controversy, discord and uncertainty. To be the pain in the ass is not an easy mission specially if the rest of the participants on this fight are not flexible enough to operate with tempestuous weather conditions. Sometimes because a matter of conformism, not really willing to spend energies on resolving problems; we all know how much patience a puzzle demands in order to be solved. In other occasions this lack of will on participation in situations of discord comes from a matter of education: we have not been educated to understand conflictuality as a situation of normality. Discord is not accepted a the standard frame of interaction.

 How much do we need the stormy weather to blow up our habitual practices and provoke us to throw our bodies out there in the turbulence of an uncertain event? Welcome the storm and let the projectiles dance. Become tsunami.


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