Workshop: The Journey of Theory. Dancing the problem


The role of conceptualization in the artistic practice

During these 3 weeks we will focus on understanding which problems we are dancing to and what are the fundamental problematics that our artistic practices are built upon. This attempt will lead us to reflect together on the relation between theory and practice, philosophy and art, and the role of conceptualization in dance and choreography. How to practice theory? In which way is art a form of theory?

Process of WOrkshop_lowres

Defining theory as the journey abroad and returning

Our starting point will be to stop understanding theory only as a production of discourse and rather to consider it as an oscillatory movement or, in other words, a journey of traveling abroad and returning. We will translate this journey into the framework of our practices and research in order to trace a trajectory, step by step, distinguishing its different moments and identifying what are the risks that we undertake with our work, what is the level of exposure to danger that we tolerate and to which extent do we allow ourselves to experience uncertainty and ultimately how much are we able to translate this journey into an intelligible form to be shared within the community. This understanding of theory will help to confront the following topics: how to set up the conditions for collaboration between dance and philosophy? What is the need of conceptualizing any choreographic practice? Why is it important for an artist to be able to formulate via concepts what he/she is doing? Why should an artist be busy conceptualizing his/her work?



Dancing the problem

A dance and a concept are both “outcomes” or translations from a common element: a problem. To be able to identify what is your problem as an artist or a researcher is a vital task. To look at how we dance a problem implies to identify the main driving forces motivating our journey, and to observe how our obsessions or needs become the detonator of our artistic research. To define and become aware of these personal obsessions will be one of our challenges: first we will determine what makes us move, what impulses force us to dance a problem. Then we will translate each others´ problems into a series of exercises, which will allow us to experience each others´ practices from tangible physical/performative situations.



Understanding the affinity between our practices and the process of conceptualizing

An art practice shouldn’t be subordinated to the process of conceptualization to avoid the mistake of art serving only to illustrate a concept. Art is a cognitive process of its own right, which does not need validation by any peripheral discourse. At the same time, any art form triggers a discourse and potential further interpretations. With the term conceptualization we will refer to the process of formulating a problem using conceptual maps and flow charts. These cartographies will constitute our tools to better understand the principles of our choreographic practice while training the ability to navigate within the frame of artistic research. This will enable us to articulate linguistically our research, and to formulate our body of work through concepts, making it communicable and intelligible to others. We will become familiar to the etymological approach to concepts using the etymological dictionary as a tool to shake the conventional meanings of a word and to trace the genealogical lineage of a concept.

FLOW_CHART_8_Diego Agulló

To explore the intimate affinity between dance and problems

When does dance become a problem? When does a body that is thrown across a space become a difficulty, a puzzle, an astonishing event? The problematic body – the dance that becomes a problem – is the body whose movement generates a problem in space, a movement that implies a difficulty that hits you and puzzles you. How can a dance hit? And hit what? Another body? Or the audience’s perception? A difficult dance is not the dance that is difficult to perform, but the dance that generates difficulties, that becomes an obstacle, that paralyzes you. We will practice dance as the art of generating dilemmas, a turbulence that transforms the space into a puzzle and generates perplexity and occasionally vertigo, turning the situation into a troublesome, turbid, agitated, disordered event. We will practice choreography as the art of throwing invitations to dance, as the activity of transforming situations into dangerous domains of influence. The choreographer brings tempestuous weather on a sunny day.

We will explore if the mission of articulating problems belongs intrinsically to the practice of choreography. To articulate problems implies to throw out difficulties; bodies become puzzles thrown into the distance, a difficulty transforms the scenario into a problematic dance floor. Problems turn the situation into a turbulent event, into a domain of dangerous influences.

Diego Agulló

Diego Agulló






danger8 danger6 danger4 danger3


DAY 1: what is the common problem? = to not be in the habit of exercising = sitting for too long talking. CHAIR GAME + telling the story of what you have seen


Reformulation of the chair game in groups of 4 people = every group proposes a 20 minutes variation of the chair game. Reformulating the rules but still using chairs.

Translation into a non speaking solo 2 minutes max


Diego has 4 diagrams to introduce. Each group prepares an exercise for Diego to deliver the diagram and still dealing with the problem of sitting (sedentarism)

Translating the problem with bouncer (policy of the building) in to a text (article)


Body identities = + which one is the most problematic identity and make a solo based on it


Ballein + tennis balls

Time throwing + time embodying


Make a solo based on the physicality that emerges from the tennis balls exercise.


Reformulate exposure to danger = 4 groups


Torpedo Fish: what is your problem


Dancing the problem: what is your problem? Present/throw a problematic body on the space

1 hour: Invent an exercise based on a problem + showing 3 minutes

1 hour working on a Practice that brings a problematic body in the space.

DAY 10

Choreography as IMPERATIVE: vocal commands + corporeal interiorization

Practice – Routine = write down the routines of a day = identify what is a routine and what is a practice. Which ones are IMPERATIVEs based on ideology. Somebody else reformulates the choreography = how to start a day in a different way?

DAY 11

Public space = what can a body do in the public space? = what can the public space be? Body practices generate the public space.

In couples go to public space and: make a typology of actions (which ones are the most common ones and the most rare ones that you have seen) render visible th eideology behind them. + Install a new action on the space that you have not found and contribute with your action creating public space = turning in into a playground

DAY 12

Publicity instead of public.

Torpedo Fish: profesionalism, profit oriented 2 hours with music and dancing in the dark for 10 minutes in between, beginning and end


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s