In December 2020, ADT – through its International Centre for Choreography – presented a series of dramaturgy seminars designed for independent choreographers, to answer the pressing questions: What kinds of perspective can dramaturgy offer choreographers and dance makers? How can dramaturgy enhance the creative potential of the dance artist?
What Matters Most: Dance and Dramaturgy in Turbulent Times brought together local and international dance dramaturgs to explore the many ways in which an outside perspective can empower and inform the work of the artist.
The primary role of a dance dramaturg has traditionally been to support choreographers and their creative teams by assisting with research, oftentimes tracking down historic material or visual references, as well as documenting the creative development and / or rehearsal process, and weighing in on creative decisions.
For the What Matters Most program, ADT invited experienced dramaturgs Lou Cope (UK), Guy Cools (Belgium), Bojana Cvejić (Belgium), Lim How Ngean (Malaysia/Australia), Nanako Nakajima (Japan), Dalisa Pigram (Aus), Rachael Swain (Aus) and Linda Sastradipradja (Aus) to explore, compare, and dissect the many faces of dance dramaturgy. They discussed the differing contexts within which people work, and how that informs the dramaturg-choreographer relationship. The program also explored the diversity of aesthetic concerns and how dramaturgs invite different kinds of intervention.
Facilitated by Philipa Rothfield, What Matters Most encouraged dialogue between practicing dramaturgs, and facilitated important conversations with participating artists.
The What Matters Most program was held in two parts:
Part 1: A two-hour online seminar held on Wednesday 2 December 2020
Part 2: Two-hour, one-on-one sessions facilitated online between renowned dramaturgs and selected participating choreographers
Part 1 – Online Discussion:
A free, online, two-hour event was held on Wednesday 2 December 2020; the event was open to all and presented all participants with an exciting opportunity to hear from some of the leading dramaturgs working in dance, as well as giving them space for feedback, comment and conversation.
Part 2 – Dramaturgs and Choreographers One-On-One Sessions:
A series of one-on-one, online, work in progress sessions for 7 practising choreographers, selected through an open Expression Of Interest process, were facilitated with each of our featured dramaturgs. This sessions presented an incredibly valuable opportunity for choreographers to have a 2-hour brainstorming session with a highly experienced dance dramaturg, offering insight, advice and perspective on prospective new projects. The aim of these sessions was to give Australian choreographers the opportunity to work with experienced dramaturgs in order to explore the creative potentials that might lie within new or early-stage projects. Participating artists were selected with a view to matching up their thematic / choreographic interests and ways of working.